One of the biggest tasks for a sales leader to get right is hiring the right team. But how do you hire people who will help drive revenue growth, what are the behavioural profiles to look for when making a hire, and who should you avoid?
Hiring is a good skill to have. Being able to spot talent and pick the good from the bad candidates is important to cutting down on mistake-hires and building a strong team. If you’re already asking the questions above, you’re probably thinking along the right lines. Those questions also apply when evaluating your current team.
In both situations, new hires and existing team, the problems are the same. If there is a behavioural mismatch, or an attitude issue, then your revenue will suffer. So, in order to build the right sales team to drive growth, here are some guidelines you can follow to determine who should stay in your existing team and who you should bring into the team.
Identifying top-class salespeople Two key traits of top-class salespeople are drive and self-awareness. If either are absent, they may not be a good fit for a high performing team. Why?
Starting with self-awareness, salespeople who have it are willing and able to look within when things aren’t going right. That’s a great skill to have, and it’s rare. On the flip side, blaming other people is a one way ticket to ineffective sales performance. When things don’t go right, they’re the people who point the blame at others, or blame different circumstances. Things outside of their control. Or ‘bad luck’. That’s the worst trait in a salesperson. Great salespeople create their own luck. When things don’t go well, they’ll ask themselves, ‘what can I do differently?’, or ‘what can I learn from this?’. Top performers have the self-awareness to ask questions within and the initiative to make positive changes.
When it comes to drive, it’s closely aligned with a positive attitude and ambition. Lots of salespeople, if not all, say they are ambitious, but the difference is those with drive make things happen. There is a massive difference between someone who talks a good game and someone who acts a good game. Go-getters and doers almost always perform better than those who wait for things to happen. Again, this goes back to building your own luck. People with drive are real goal-getters. Those with drive normally have a nice mix of professional and personal goals they are striving towards. Ask your team and new hires what they want to achieve and why. The answers you want to hear are around professional and personal goals. For example, buying a house. Or, becoming the top salesperson in the company. Or, making a certain amount of money in a year. Top tier performers know this information. Watch for those who make goals up, giving vague details or short answers. If the goal isn’t important to them, avoid them.
These two traits form a general starting criteria that should form the foundations of your high-performing sales team. If the salesperson shows both of these traits, you can assume that they are a good fit for driving revenue growth – they’ll be coachable, driven, proactive and skilled.
Technical skills can always be trained, but behavioural skills are much harder to train. Focus on behaviour and attitude and the rest will come. Bad behavioural traits and attitudes will always result in bad habits and activities creeping into the salesperson’s performance. You simply can’t train a salesperson to be driven or self-aware. To get started, write down these traits with the additional personality traits you want to see in your team. Use those to form a matrix that can be used when hiring and when evaluating your current team.