Why Sales Recruitment is a Science, Not a Challenge

Sales Recruitment is a Science

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In 2014, Hot Springs Spas blew their annual sales records out of the water. Until then, the highest number of units sold in a year had been 109. In 2014, three of the company’s new recruits sold 153, 126 and 103 units respectively, with very little tenure in the business.

Why the sudden and dramatic increase in sales? 2014 was the year they partnered with SalesStar and recruited their candidates based on science. 

The fact is, Hot Springs Spa’s success is not in isolation – hundreds of other businesses have also made sure that they recruit salespeople who will get results. Which is why more CEOs and sales leaders need to understand where they go wrong in the employment process, and why successful sales recruitment doesn’t need to be left up to chance.

Where does sales recruitment go wrong?

There are plenty of reasons why sales leaders make mistakes when recruiting sales staff. Maybe they’ve hired on ‘gut feel’ or had to rush the decision to fill a critical role. Perhaps they’ve not cultivated a talent pipeline or weren’t able to attract enough candidates for the position. The point is, each business has its own issues that need to be recognised in order to rectify them.

One of the single biggest oversights hiring managers make is not understanding that experience and sales numbers on a CV doesn’t necessarily mean a salesperson is good at what they do – or that they will be the right fit for their business.

Most organisations hire based on those assumptions, and sales leaders are often left thinking ‘why aren’t they achieving well’ or ‘why is it such a challenge to find star performers’?

The solution? A candidate recruitment framework that can assist organisations to accurately predict (with a 96 per cent success rate) which salespeople will perform and thrive in their business.

What has research shown?

Forty-six per cent of new sales hires will fail in the first 18 months. That is a startling statistic to many involved in sales recruitment and it’s usually met with a relative degree of scepticism at first. But the figure is based on scientific research undertaken by Dave Kurlan and his team at the Objective Management Group (OMG). The research pulls data from more than one million salespeople across 11,000 companies over 200 industries in more than 45 countries worldwide.

Further analysis of the data has also shown that 74 per cent of those in sales are actually ineffective – leaving only 26 per cent who perform well, and 6 per cent who are elite. In addition, there are also numerous other findings relating to poor performance and the inability to achieve – from hidden weaknesses to self-limiting beliefs and an unsupportive mindset.    

So it is easy to understand why so many sales recruits tend to fail miserably (there is practically a three out of four chance they will) and why those who hired them are left feeling disappointed.

What evidence is there behind the science?

The research is compelling and the evidence behind the data – used as a predictor of future performance and ability – is also indisputable, especially for those who have seen the results first-hand.

Aaron Sampson, National Sales Manager for Hot Spring Spas, says that prior to the introduction of SalesStar’s recruitment programme, only two per cent of his sales staff globally were selling 100 units, but that was before the new recruits, who rose to the top within 12 months. 

“They have opened our eyes to what truly is possible and what creating a sales force is all about. From a personal development perspective, it has allowed me to realise where I am strong in sales management and areas that need improvement. 

“With my team of sales professionals, it has allowed us to realise there are no limits, only the ones we have created in our own minds.”

On the back of the success of the data, OMG created a sales-specific candidate assessment tool that has been voted the world’s number one for six years straight, and it is a key component of SalesStar’s recruitment service framework. 

“It finds salespeople who can succeed in the specific role that they are being recruited, interviewed and selected for,” says Grant Holland, CEO of SalesStar New Zealand and Australia. 

“In fact, 92 per cent of recommended candidates go on to reach the top half of the sales force while a staggering 75 per cent of non-recommended candidates fail within six months.” 

It is the validation of the data that allows those who use it to feel confident that what they will get is a reliable, predictable outcome – something that is repeatedly missing in sales recruitment.

The power behind the recruitment framework

As well as using OMG’s candidate assessment tool, SalesStar’s recruitment programme includes customised job profiling – specific for each business’s unique selling environment. It also offers a 90-day onboarding process to ramp-up new recruits faster, a template for phone screening, interview questions, reference checks and induction, and most importantly, phone and email support with the team of experts at SalesStar.   

If top performers are so difficult to find and gut instinct can’t be relied on, what can?

The answer is simple: rely on science. Or, to be specific, on a sales-specific recruitment system developed after analysing the findings of extensive research.

Download a SAMPLE Sales Candidate Assessment and see for yourself the incredible insight that you can gain when assessing your next candidates.


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