5 Tips for Hiring Top Shelf Inside Sales Talent in 2017

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By Max Altschuler

Hiring the right person is a complex challenge for any department, but competition is especially fierce for hiring inside sales talent. The data is in and the return on investment from a well-oiled inside sales team compared to more traditional outside sales teams is impossible to ignore. The challenge becomes even greater for fast-growing startups that don’t have an excess of time or money to make mistakes by bringing in the wrong person for the job. What we’re trying to achieve are two key objectives that don’t necessarily go hand-in-hand.

First and foremost, this person has to fit the job description with the right skills and the right amount of experience. That’s the obvious part, but there’s also the matter of being able to assimilate into your company culture—a lot harder to gauge just through interviewing and reading resumes. Here’s 5 things to keep in mind with regard to hiring the best and brightest inside sales talent:

1. Take calculated risks

You’ve heard the old adage, “Hire for attitude and train for aptitude.” While you can go with the “safe bet” candidates who fit exactly what your inside sales talent needs in terms of skill and experience, you have to be willing to take calculated risks on potential hires who show huge potential. At minimum though, make sure you’re hiring world class listeners. If a potential hire listens and asks great questions during an interview, they have part of the foundation to become a top-notch inside sales rep. Bottom line, make your organization a place where serious talent blossoms. Not everyone will be where they should be when you hire; the key is to find those who are on the verge of greatness.

2. Mental promotions

See team members as being one role ahead of where they are today and treat them as such. Give people some of the responsibilities you know they want to have but that are technically designated for someone in a higher position. See how they perform and put your belief in them; you’ll be surprised how many people rise to the occasion to meet your standards for inside sales talent.

3. Referral incentives

Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. If that’s true, we need to make sure our best employees are bringing in likeminded people. Chances are, if you’ve got someone who is great at what they do, they are also surrounded by lots of other people who are great at what they do. Make sure to incentivize them to invite other high achievers to the company.

4. Define your brand online

When someone becomes interested in working for your company, the first thing they’re going to do is Google your company and see if there’s any information about what it’s like to work there. Do you have a vibrant company culture? Have employees at your company gone on to do great things elsewhere? Write about it on your company blog or on another platform. When people start looking for evidence that your company is a great place to work, make sure it shows up.

5. Hire in groups (if possible)

While it might not always be possible given the size of your company, hiring in groups has some great advantages. Having a group of new hires coming on at the same time can create a great environment for peer-to-peer learning. The ability for new hires to share tips and even commiserate to a degree with fellow new hires can increase their success rate and help lay an early foundation for trust and teamwork.

There’s more to hiring than just these 5 quick points, so keep an open mind and always be having conversations with other organizations who might be doing something innovative with their hiring process that could work for your company too.

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About the Author

Max Altschuler is the founder, organizer, and editor for Saleshacker.com and the Sales Hacker Conferences. Previously he led BD at Attorneyfee (acquired by Legalzoom) and built the supply side of Udemy as their first sales hire.