Hiring Sales Reps: The Definitive Guide In 2022

If successful companies were sports cars, sales reps would be the mighty engine at the heart of it all. Adding even a single high-performing sales rep to your ranks can send your revenue sailing past projections. An entire team of top-notch talent could lead to exponential growth and profitability. 

Top sales reps generate 10 to 20x more than average performers on the same team. But one of the most difficult challenges organizations face is hiring motivated and high-performing sales reps.

Instead, many companies are locked in a cycle of rapid turnover and subpar performance, only occasionally discovering strong performers.

Precision hiring is essential for companies seeking quota-crushing sales reps. But how can hiring managers finally crack the code to onboarding only the best sales reps? How can companies be confident their hiring decisions will have a positive return on investment, improve team morale, and reduce turnover? How can they end the cyclic, resource-draining need to hire new sales reps because of turnover?

Discover how to hire good sales reps and more in our definitive guide.

What to Look For When Hiring Sales Reps

There are a few distinguishing factors savvy hiring managers use to separate top performers from average sales reps. While products, markets, and sales cycles vary, sales reps across industries share these five characteristics, and recognizing them during interviews is a must for hiring sales reps that succeed. 

1. Critical Thinker and Problem Solver

Sales reps must flexibly work through complex objections and issues to drive sales consistently. Therefore, candidates with critical thinking skills and a natural ‘can-do’ attitude deserve additional consideration. They may be crucial to your next phase of growth.

2. Personable

Soft skills are just as important as a thorough understanding of technical sales strategies. Soft skills like active listening, strong communication, and responsiveness fuel conversions and strengthen client relationships. 

During your next round of interviews, initiate small talk with each candidate to assess how they perform. You may discover a candidate lacking extensive sales or industry experience who possesses the ideal personality and soft skills for your target audience. 

3. Goal and Action Oriented

The best sales reps understand the importance of setting goals and taking action. Action-oriented sales reps are self-driven, with higher levels of motivation and productivity.

Setting goals is an essential skill for consistent performance. Goal-setting enhances focus, sustains positive momentum, and triggers productive activity.

4. Confident

Confidence is key, and high-performing sales reps know it. Out of 1,000 successful sales reps, less than 5% reported being or feeling self-conscious. This is because a lack of confidence leads to bashfulness and inhibition during sales meetings. 

Potential customers pick up on a sales rep’s confidence from the moment they enter the room. Self-conscious behavior in sales reps looks like inexperience or nervousness stemming from a shoddy offer, raising customer defenses.

Conversely, a sales rep that exudes confidence builds trust and excitement during conversations with leads, boosting conversions and customer satisfaction.

5. Conscientiousness

Conscientiousness is a personality trait strongly linked to diligence. Sales reps with high levels of conscientiousness are naturally dutiful and willing to exhaust all options to overcome obstacles. This inner sense of determination and drive is invaluable in a sales rep. 

The Best Way to Hire Sales Reps

Organizations tend to have significant difficulty navigating how to reliably hire sales reps who are productive, an appropriate fit, and who stick around.  Average annual sales turnover is as high as 25-30%. Hiring and training replacements for people who leave can cost anywhere from $75,000 to $1 million or more per event, depending on the industry.

Companies typically spend more on sales hiring than they do anywhere else. Yet, figuring out how to hire good sales reps has frustrated growth and revenue gains for decades. Knowing this, why do so many companies continue to rely on antiquated, ineffective methods for determining hires’ potential?  

The standard interview process just isn’t up to the task of ascertaining whether a candidate’s personality fits the vague idea of a ‘good salesperson.’

Here's what we recommend instead of conventional recruitment techniques: 

  • Break down the market, strategy, and stage of your organization into “relevant sales tasks” to assess job behaviors among potential hires.

  • Define what you look for in someone’s ‘experience,’ for example, customer type, technology, culture, or sales context.

  • Use blind selection procedures focusing exclusively on factors that predict performance.

  • Keep your organization’s competencies up-to-date as the market changes.

That’s where predictive analytics comes in.  Predictive analytics uses historical data coupled with current trends to predict future outcomes like employee fit, skill, adaptability, productivity, and retention.  And when it comes to equipping predictive analytics to aid in hiring decisions, PerceptionPredict has developed industry-leading tools for the job.

Also, remember that selling effectiveness is not a generalized trait. Instead, it’s often a function of complex human psychographic traits and skills unique to individual businesses - which is why our predictive analytics solution is so valuable.

We take a microscope to the role-specific competencies of current and prospective salespeople to create a model of their “sales DNA.” 

In our process:

  • Our AI delves into the nitty-gritty of what has allowed people to historically perform sales tasks and corresponding job behaviors at a high level.

  • We question candidates about the most relevant factors that influence their ability to execute your strategy within the current selling environment.

  • We make hiring about sales role aptitude, first and foremost, and let you take it from there.

  • We let you feed company data into our engine for customized, interactive, and ongoing insight.

Our decision support system uses advanced mathematics to cross-reference organizations’ sales data across more than 400 stable attributes that predict individuals’ success or failure based on academic research.  All it takes is a questionnaire that participants can easily complete in twenty minutes or less.  

Our predictive intelligence quickly evaluates and quantifies what kind of results each candidate would generate at your company.  It goes into comprehensive detail to read future performance indicators like product units, total revenue, transactions per hour, appointments per month, and more. 

Performance Fingerprints bring accurate KPI predictions to your fingertips, empowering you to make the most beneficial hires for your business.  With advanced predictive analytics technology like this available, why continue letting misconceptions, biases, and outdated practices get in the way?  

How to Hire Sales Reps

Even with the best knowledge and resources at your disposal, the process of hiring sales reps can still be daunting. Here are a few strategies to sharpen your hiring process and consistently secure top-notch talent. 

  • Ask for specific skills and experience. What particular skills and kinds of experience does someone need to succeed at your company?

  • Understand their process and their why.  It’s not enough to know what candidates want if you don’t also know who they want to interact with and how.  So just ask them.

  • Write a stellar job description. Your job description needs to synthesize the information above in a way that attracts the right people to you.  Specifics are crucial here.  Remember that potential employees need to know that you are a good fit for them.  Let them know exactly what they will do and who they will sell to ensure an adequate match.

  • You get what you pay for. Work out how much you can pay sales reps and how many you can afford to hire.  

  • Networking and aiming towards highly qualified talent can help you find whom you’re looking for.

  • Consider job-specific attributes and sales data from past employment during the hiring process. The more objective data, the better.

  • Understand before you buy. PerceptionPredict's performance predictions combined with the steps above increased exponentially the likelihood you are going to succeed.  Know how they'll do before you give them a permanent role. 

Hire Top Performing Sales Reps with PerceptionPredict

Our unique predictive analysis software was developed by a high-power team of internationally leading psychologists, industrial organization consultants, and data scientists. We focused on solving one of the largest, most persistent problems companies face - building high-value sales teams. 

Our data-driven predictive software uses cutting-edge artificial intelligence and machine learning to create one-of-a-kind candidate profiles during the hiring process.

These profiles, called Performance Fingerprints, provide deep insight into every candidate’s skills, future performance, and productivity, empowering hiring managers to identify the bona fide perfect candidate.

Book a demo now if you’re ready to harness the power of artificial intelligence in your hiring process or want to speak to a predictive analytics expert to learn more.

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