Sorry, not really.
There’s always a lot of discussion around finding a magic sales growth formula with analysis of sales and how to improve them, new strategies to make it happen but all these are meaningless without the right staff. When you have the right staff in the right positions you can implement a sustainable sales system that will give you the growth and success you want to achieve.
Whether your sales team has two or a hundred and two people, there are the same distractions and people management difficulties to a lesser or greater extent. It’s all about personalities and the difficulty can start, even without you realizing, at the interview. Whether the interview is formal, with a panel and set questions, or just a chat over a coffee, it’s still a stressful situation, both for interviewer and candidate. The usual Q&As might not reveal what you really want to know and it’s handy to have a few tricks up your sleeve to ensure you ‘see’ the real person sitting in front of you.
- Be clear about the role you’re offering because sales roles are notoriously varied and without clarity a candidate can fudge their way into a position that might be unsuited to their training and experience.
- Have you thought about why someone would want to work for you? Remember that competition for good sales people is fierce and hiring is a two-way street, they choose you as much as you choose them and it’s to your benefit to make sure they’re right for the job not just right for the company. If you don’t, the management headache will be yours, as you cope with trying to squash a round peg into a square hole.
- Do your background check. Chase up their referees, google them, ask around, check their work history. If you want a candidate to help you achieve your sales targets and growth strategy then a little due diligence before the interview will save you a lot of time and frustration if they turn about to be less than they led you to believe.
Smaller companies have the flexibility to think outside the box. The current trend towards agile and flexible working methods might give you the opportunity to try something different. Could your role be filled by part time people or candidates looking for a more flexible arrangement? Don’t forget, when you have clear business objectives and a good sales strategy aligned to your vision and mission, you’re not really looking to fill a position, you’re looking for a great member of staff to help your business exceed its targets.
Understanding the distinction between a sales person’s personality and their skills, will allow you to recruit the person who is most likely to flourish. And don’t forget attitude is the vital ingredient. Always hire for attitude over skills. You cannot change a personality, nor should you try to, and you can rarely improve an attitude, but skills are learnable, teachable and measurable. Good induction and training can upskill your candidate to ensure you are putting the right person with the right skills and personality into the right role. If it suits them you can be sure it will suit you. It may not be quite the magic sales growth formula but it’s pretty damn close!