6 Steps to Winning the Sales Game
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I want to share a personal observation that I’ve made as a leader in an outstanding sales organization. Ready? My observation is this: the key to being a great sales organization is having great salespeople. I know. I’m a genius, right? This is why we spend a significant amount capital and time making sure that this group is properly trained and armed with the tools and strategies to be successful.
At Assurance, we train salespeople to prospect, to qualify, to sell our value proposition and ultimately to bring new clients in the door. We support and motivate the team through monthly, if not weekly, pipeline meetings, sales trainings, as well as team and company sales meetings. We invest in sales leadership to perform this training, run the meetings and monitor the performance metrics that point to the ultimate success or failure of our sales professionals. I’d call that a huge investment!
This investment begins the day the salesperson joins Assurance, through the entire time they’re employed with us. I wouldn’t recommend anything less if you want to have a successful team. We know that even with all this expenditure of time and money, a certain percentage isn’t going to make it. While the development of this group is critical, your ultimate success and superiority with sales hires will be decided by your ability to outperform your competition when selecting great salespeople. More often than not, a failed salesperson could’ve been identified and avoided during the interview process. For this reason, I recommend spending equal amount of energy building the best recruitment and hiring process.
I believe there are strategies you can incorporate during the hiring process that will produce significant returns on investment for your company. Here are a few that work for us:
Identify the key success factors of your best salespeople. Take the time to study your best salespeople and the traits that make them great. Once you’ve identified what those are, create interview guides that focus on determining if your candidates possess those specific attributes.
Employ an individual whose full-time role is talent acquisition. This individual owns the creation and cultivation of a candidate pipeline. The pipeline should be continually managed just like you would a salesperson’s prospect pipeline. Focus on this group constantly, not just when you need to fill a position. This is, and will continue to be, your most important long-term pipeline.
Create a candidate referral culture. All employees should know that getting the best salespeople referred in is critical to the company’s success.
Practice true consensus interviewing. We use three or four interviewers for each candidate and aggregate the feedback to make a decision. If one person isn’t convinced, we’re not moving forward.
Utilize behavior-based interviewing. You’re looking for what and how the candidate accomplished specific goals or sales wins. This can make for an uncomfortable interview but the candidate will not be able to “BS” their way through.
Treat the reference check as a key piece of the process. Go deeper than just “would you rehire this individual.”
Outwork your competition at recruitment and hiring and you will win the sales game.
- Human Resources E-Book
- Attributes of Successful Salespeople
- Are Your Salespeople Smart?
- Strategic Partner or Lunch Buddy?
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