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Sales Management – Hiring Talented Sales Pros

August 19, 2007

One of my most frequently asked questions is “What should we look for when hiring a sales pro”? I always recommend that one make sure that the sales people they hire have an outstanding personality, good organizational skills, good communications skills and maturity. You will need to identify what your looking for in a person based on what you are selling and the length of the sales cycle. Decide on what you want the person to accomplish and what level person your looking for in advance.

Here is a list of things that you need to look for during the interview process:

– Prior experience (number of years)

– Outside or inside sales experience (hunter or farmer)

– Team selling or individual selling experience?

– Analytical Skills?

– Computer Skills?

– Competitive Selling Skills

– Strategic Thinking?

– Can they cold call and qualify (how)? Even if you have someone else do this, you should make sure that the sales pro can do it. In bad times many companies let go of the internal or external lead generator and expect the salesperson to do the job.

– Type of territory?

– What type of customer base?

– What did they sell before?

– Outside interest

-Why do they like sales and do they see it as a profession? Are they proud of being a sales person?

– Presentation skills (what and how) Ask them to present your product or one from their prior experience. Make sure they don’t rely too much on PowerPoint.

– Technical Skills (if technology sales)

– Type of company they worked for and it’s culture

– How were they managed? Are they good at working on their own

– Compensation (base and commission structure)

Remember that whoever you hire will have to fit into your corporate culture and must have the ability to understand and sell your products. There’s more but we will discuss in a later post.

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