When evaluating your sales, there are just a few questions to think about before you run that first posting or ask recruiters to assist.
Before you generate questions to ask sales candidates and managers, please review some thoughts to evaluate yourself as a sales company.
Top producing sales people are drawn to companies that have a “sales mentality”. That is, they are rewarded for sales performance, not punished.
Also, when recruiting top sales pros, there are certain companies that are known for sales “training grounds” that I look for. Companies like IBM, Xerox, Cintas, all have extensive training programs and drive their business through sales hiring and training. Where they come from is a consideration. Top VP of Sales candidates are cultured from those environments. While going through a Xerox training is great, working at Xerox in an environment of inner daily competition is better.
Examples of sales rewards:
An unannounced gift, prize or just recognition in front of peers for contributions above and beyond the call of duty will demonstrate appreciation.
For example, an account executive spent extra time with a client for non-revenue producing activity on a weekend.
Send him/her and their spouse to dinner for a special effort. Get the family involved and make the rep proud of the company he/she sweats for.
Have ongoing salesperson of the month contests. Small companies can name quarterly contributors if they have a long sales cycle, but put something out there continuously. Top companies motivate weekly, monthly or quarterly. Sales trips, trophies, cash, and clothing contests all motivate someone. It is sometimes difficult to monitor the exact affect, but most growth companies are using sales incentives.
Constantly recognize managers who re-sell their troops on the company products and services. A kind word of recognition goes a long way to show appreciation. Everyone knows you didn’t have to recognize the effort… but as part of their model, great sales organizations do.
Take this basic example. The CEO of a construction company who builds commercial facilities for health care organizations is the founder. He grew up with a hammer in his hand, measuring and re-measuring, and berating vendors who don’t do it right the first time. He exudes good workmanship and is known for quality, seldom getting complaints. His customers are aware of his quality and they “find” him.
Salespeople don’t have to do much arm-twisting to make sales. If salespeople mention the wrong material used, if they miss-communicate delivery dates, or promise extras that can’t be delivered, the owner is irate. Sales people are not highly paid because the owner doesn’t recognize sales effort, as his houses“sell themselves”.
“Your growth has stalled because you’ve reached a level where prospecting daily for new business is essential. Your company needs to be sales driven to grow. Examine your culture and let’s put some new processes in place,” I stressed to the owner.
He’s convinced sales people are out to get him and bankrupt his company. “I’m not giving them higher commissions” he says, “they just take walk-in orders because our quality sells the home.”
My response was, “Then why are we talking?”