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What is Sales Precruitment? – Part 1 – Rise


Posted 20 Feb 2011 by Jacky Misson, in Precruitment

What is Sales Precruitment? – Part 1

So, what is Sales Precruitment?  Good question.

Sales Precruitment is a term we have come up with for what happens prior to recruiting a sales person – hence Precruitment, pre-recruitment, simples!!  We also help companies with inducting or ‘on-boarding’ their new sales people but that’s for another post…

Why is Sales Precruitment important?  Well, there’s a story…..

Over the years we have come into contact with hundreds of companies who employ sales people.  Unfortunately, a lot of these companies don’t really understand what makes their sales people tick and have problems with things such as target setting, measuring success and ongoing motivation.  This  often contributes to a high turnover of sales people and ultimately restricts sales revenue and company growth.

We believe a lot of these problems can be reduced or even completely removed by putting in place effective processes and structures before new sales people are employed.  These relatively simple steps help towards better communication, clearer responsibilities and expectations on both sides and ultimately improved understanding between Sales People and their employers.  This will lead to happier, more motivated sales people, happier employers, better staff retention, increased sales revenue, higher profitability and a healthy company.

Yes – I know other things affect profitability and company growth but you have got to admit that effective, profitable sales people are a pretty good foundation!!

There is quite a lot more to our Sales Precruitment service at Rise, but ultimately I hope this gives you a good start….

I’d be interested to hear your comments and own experiences of recruiting and retaining sales people – what’s worked well and what hasn’t?  Don’t be shy, drop me a line!

8 Responses

  • Leo Hardy says:

    Owning a telemarketing firm, I speak to a lot of directors who possess slightly negative views of sales people. This often seems to be attributed to a bad experience when an employee / employer relationship hasn’t gone as they’d expected.

    Sometimes I feel as though this is due to a mismatch between simple things like their own expectations and understanding of what a sales professional’s role really entails and that this is, ultimately, reflected in their choice of employee.

    It’s a bit of a minefield and I’m sure that I would and (if I’m lucky) will experience the same thing trying to employ for an area of expertise that I’m not necessarily that familiar with. Despite this, there still seems to be something about good sales people which makes them particularly tricky to recruit for, even to the trained individual.

    Jacky, I’d actually be keen to hear a bit more about how you tend to address areas such as client expectations and working to set realistic targets. I’ll look out for further posts!

    • Jacky Misson says:

      Thank you for your comment Leo. You raise several points here so I will pick one if that’s ok? Let’s take setting realistic targets. We often see new Sales people (or telemarketing companies) being recruited to bring in new business from previously unexplored markets / companies where there is no existing track record. However, targets are often set with existing conversion rates and lead times in mind where the company is already known . This is probably one of the most common examples of unrealistic targets being set in the first place and unrealistic expectations. I hope this is useful – and good luck!

  • Paul says:

    We discussed the knarly issue of recruiting sales personnel at our recent Senior Management Network meeting. The key upshot was the need to spend time carefully planning the spec of the person you need, then carefully design tests to rigorously check whether each candidate can do the job you require. For example, a case study where they actually come to you (as a role play) with a product for a sales pitch or even go to a client and get feedback from the latter!

    Far better to find out whether they can sell before you offer them the job. Our group felt that sales people were competent at answering hypothetical interview questions, but they don’t teach you anything (as we know).

    • Jacky Misson says:

      Thanks for this Paul – very good point. It always surprises me that more companies don’t include some sort of test or role play scenario for their Sales people. After all – good Sales people are by definition going to be good at selling themselves at interview so how else can you start to check they will actually practice what they preach?!

  • Steven Stark says:

    We’ve hit this problem repeatedly in our radio businesses. Maybe 1 in 5 appointments sticks, even when all the credentials stack up. There is a common factor here: perhaps it is us?

    Maybe we should chat about this?

    • Jacky Misson says:

      Hi Steve – 1 in 5 appointments sticking must be a real drain in a lot of ways. That does seem a high turnover rate. As a first step – take a look at the previous 2 comments and see if any points raised there are familiar.

      I would be happy to chat it through with you.

  • Hi Jacky,

    Great comments already made. Roleplay is a great idea as it is not just selling ability employees are looking for – they also need to see the style fits with the culture/ethics of the company.

    Competition/reward always feature highly in a sales team (or person) so visibility and targets are key.

    To share a great Inspector Clouseau story – a sales person was told to call his boss at a time of his choice and sell to him (roleplay). The call came in just as the boss was arriving at our SMN meeting. ‘Bad timing’ he thought but took the call.

    15 mins later – after roleplaying very well – he finished by informing the sales person he was ‘only the secretary’ At that point the roleplay stopped and the guy called the boss a few expletives :-)))))

    • Jacky Misson says:

      Thanks for this Sarah. I agree – employers do need to see a fit with their company culture / ethics as well as sales ability.

      Personally, I am not sure about role play at the interview process as it’s often the person interviewing who does the role play and it’s difficult to get a true, realistic response. However, we work with a Professional Actor who does role play for our sales training so if this was an option I would consider it.
      We tend to recommend our Precruitment clients put together scenarios that are given to the candidate to present back at 2nd or 3rd interview stage and usually include a bit of research into target markets and suggestions on how they would approach them – whatever is relevant to the position.

      Ultimately, at least more companies are ‘testing’ their Sales people before they hire them, however they do it 🙂