Why Performance-Based Recruiting Produces Top Sales Performers

Many recruiting ads and job descriptions include "knockout factors" that can actually screen out qualified sales candidates. One example is a requirement that candidates have an undergraduate degree, a graduate degree, or a degree in a specialized field of study such as Engineering. Another example is a requirement that candidates have a minimum number of years of sales experience.

When my customers' recruiting ads and job descriptions include these types of knockout factors, I like to have a little fun with them. I say something like: "(Name), imagine that I have two candidates for your sales job opening. One of them has both the college degree and the five years of sales experience that are listed as minimum requirements in your recruiting ad. The other candidate doesn't have a college degree, and she only has two years of sales experience. But, she has relationships with dozens of C-level executives that are good prospects for your company's products and services. She could easily book fifteen appointments during her first week on the job. Which candidate would you prefer?" As you might expect, my customers always choose the candidate with the relationships. That is when I have to deliver the bad news: "(Name), unfortunately you will never see this candidate, because she is being screened out by your knockout factors!" If you want to improve the overall quality of your sales candidate pool, shift your focus away from education and experience and toward performance-based measures. How will you measure your new salespeople's performance during their first thirty, sixty, ninety, and 180 days? What activities will you expect them to perform? What results will you expect these activities to produce, and in what time frame?

Here is an outline for a recruiting process that focuses on performance-based factors:

  • Write a Performance-Based Recruiting Ad: As you construct your ad, consider the following questions:
    • What kinds of companies or organizations are good prospects for your company's products and services? Your ad should state a preference for job candidates that have existing relationships with these kinds of companies and organizations.
    • Who are the most productive people (job titles) for your salespeople to call on? Your ad should state a preference for candidates that have existing relationships with people that have these titles, and/or a proven ability to prospect successfully to people at similar levels.
    • What specific sales production (such as pipeline dollar volume, sales dollar volume, etc.) do you expect your new salespeople to produce during their first 90 days? Make this expectation crystal clear in your recruiting ad!

  • Scrutinize Resumes for Accomplishments: Smart salespeople know that results sell. When these salespeople prospect, they talk to potential prospects about the results their companies have produced for customers. When they write resumes, they write about the results they have produced and their other accomplishments (awards, recognition, etc.).
  • Conduct Telephone Screening Calls: For candidates that have interesting resumes, schedule a 20-30 minute telephone screening call. This will give you an opportunity to ask performance-based questions related to two critical performance factors: the candidate's relationships and their prospecting activities. Here are sample screening call questions:
    • Who do you know that might be a prospect for our company's products and services?
    • What relationships do you have that could be leveraged for appointments during your first few weeks on the job?
    • What activities do you typically include in your prospecting plan?
    • What percentage of your time do you spend on each activity?
    • What results have these activities produced for you in the past?
    • How long did it take before you started making quota consistently in your current job?

  • Assess Qualified Candidates: For candidates that pass the telephone screen, gather objective information about their talents via specialized sales assessment tests. The most effective sales assessment tests go beyond personality and behavioral traits and examine attributes such as Learning Rate and Reasoning Ability.
  • Conduct In-Person Interviews: Now you are prepared to conduct thorough, performance-based interviews. Why? Look at the information you have collected! For each candidate that you are going to interview, you should have in your hands:
    • A resume that lists key accomplishments
    • Performance-based information collected during a telephone screening call
    • Objective information about talents critical to sales success

    If you ask performance-based questions and clearly outline your expectations for new hire sales performance, you will attract fewer poor candidates, as some will de-select themselves. You will also attract more strong candidates, as they will no longer be screened out by invalid "knockout factors". The end result will be a steady improvement in the overall quality of your sales organization.

    Copyright 2005 -- Alan Rigg

    Sales performance expert Alan Rigg is the author of How to Beat the 80/20 Rule in Selling: Why Most Salespeople Don't Perform and What to Do About It. To learn more about his book and sign up for more FREE sales and sales management tips, visit http://www.8020performance.com.

    In The News:

    This RSS feed URL is deprecated, please update. New URLs can be found in the footers at https://news.google.com/news

    Facility Executive Magazine

    WeSuite 5.0 Sales Management Software
    Facility Executive Magazine
    WeSuite, a sales management software solution, is purpose built for technology product and service providers. Designed for sales teams of two to two thousand, it streamlines workflow; simplifies the creation of estimates, proposals, and contracts ...

    The Hindu BusinessLine

    TAPMI plans Marketing & Sales Management course
    The Hindu BusinessLine
    The Manipal-based TA Pai Institute of Management (TAPMI) has proposed to launch a two-year full-time post-graduate diploma in management programme in 'Marketing and Sales Management'. The announcement was made during the inauguration of the ...

    Advertising Specialty Institute

    IMAGEN Brands Hires Liza Sachs to Sales Management Team
    Advertising Specialty Institute
    “We are delighted to welcome Liza to the IMAGEN Brands sales management team,” said Lisa LeMond, vice president of sales at IMAGEN Brands. “Her previous experience on both the supplier and distributor side provides a powerful perspective that will ...

    Saint Rose launches concentration in sales management
    Hudson Valley 360
    ALBANY – Recognizing the need for highly trained sales managers and sales representatives in the business world, The College of Saint Rose has become the only college or university in New York state to offer a program in sales. Beginning in January ...

    Ancillary Insurance Carrier Renaissance Expands Sales Management Team
    PRNewswire (press release)
    15, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Ancillary insurance carrier Renaissance Life & Health Insurance Company of America is expanding its sales management team with the addition of group insurance industry veteran John Feeney. With more than 30 years of sales ...

    and more »

    The Real Deal Magazine

    Here's what the $10M-$20M NYC investment sales market looked like last week
    The Real Deal Magazine
    The building is part of the Surf Vets Place complex, which is being developed by nonprofits Georgica Green Ventures, Concern for Independent Living and an affiliate of Glenwood Management. The 20-story rental building is expected to feature 216 ...

    The Sun Daily

    Second batch of grads from VW academy
    The Sun Daily
    Twenty sales and 26 aftersales representatives completed their courses, making the group the second batch of graduates to be certified since the academy was launched in August last year. Sales managers from the dealer network received the Sales ...

    Centra Hub Launches CRM Express
    The CRM Express solution is aimed to automate sales management processes to boost productivity and business growth. Centra Hub today announced the launch of CRM Express, a robust and well-implemented CRM system that will enable organizations ...

    The Tennessean

    Former salesman: I warned the FDA before deadly 2012 meningitis outbreak
    The Tennessean
    The man who went to the FDA was Daniel Carney, a former salesman for Medical Sales Management, the sales arm of the New England Compounding Center, the now-defunct company that shipped thousands of vials of contaminated steroids.

    Director, Sales Operations
    The Director of Digital Sales Operations will lead a team of Managers and Campaign Specialists responsible for setup, trafficking and optimization of Ad sales campaigns across all NBCU properties. The Director will work closely with Sales Management, ...

    Google News

    The Nine Warning Signs that You Need a Sales Video

    Corporate videos are an important sales tool that can often... Read More

    Back-to-School List - 10 Tips for Trade Shows

    There's a new year beginning now - the school year.... Read More

    It?s Time For A Sales Management Revolution

    Are you dog tired because of the way you manage... Read More

    How To Have A Successful Retail Sales Event

    In the 30-plus years I spent working in advertising and... Read More

    5 Secrets to Managing Your Sales Manager Productively

    Many people believe that the main reason for representatives leaving... Read More

    Sales Plan? Whats a Sales Plan?

    In the past, if you said the word "plan" to... Read More

    Is Your Forecast Too Sunny? How to Improve the Accuracy of Sales Forecasts

    As spring moves to summer, the forecast should be for... Read More

    10 Things to Help Your Business When Sales Are Slow During the Holidays

    Twiddling your thumbs and waiting for some business to come... Read More

    Not Enough Fresh Sales Leads? Marketing is the New Sales

    Your sales are down and leads are rare. The phone's... Read More

    7 Tips for Testing Your Sales and Marketing

    One marketing technique may work wonders for someone, but that... Read More

    Sales Forecasting For New Businesses

    Sales forecasting is the process of organizing and analysing information... Read More

    Your Extended Shadow And Successful Sales Management

    In a small midwestern town, the local high school of... Read More

    4 Tips for the Summer Slowdown - How To Pick Up Sales

    You may have heard about the "summer slowdown". You may... Read More

    Moving a Business Relationship from Free to Fee: Turning Strangers to Friends with Power of Freebies

    In the last issue I shared with you a technique... Read More

    Sales Coaching... Fact or Fiction?

    The old adage in selling has always been, "Find out... Read More

    Increase Retail Sales With Meetups

    I recently attended the monthly Italian language Meetup here in... Read More

    Sacking Clients: Brand Power Wheel

    Remember in the last message we talked about your directional... Read More

    3 Steps To Getting A Sales Meeting

    The best way to get a new customer is to... Read More

    Never Trust a Silent Customer

    Imagine you run a pizza parlour. You have all these... Read More

    How You Can Raise Your Business Earnings By 50% With An Age-Old Magic Truth

    Imagine increasing your business earnings by 30, 40, or 50%.... Read More

    Sex, Drugs, & Rock-n-Roll: Trade Show Traps and Tips

    Sex, Drugs & Rock-n-RollHere's the Scenario...You're at a trade show.... Read More

    Change in Sales Organizations Starts with Me

    Question: What do the following have in common?- I spend... Read More


    As a group of sales trainees took a break from... Read More

    Snuff Out the Competition Without Leaving a Mark!

    Does the competition drive you crazy? Are they relentless about... Read More

    Commodity Sales Prospecting - How to Stand Out From Your Competitors

    I have received a number of requests for advice from... Read More