Tips for Hiring The Right Inside Sales Representative

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Buyers are waiting longer and longer to interact with your company’s sales representatives. When they do finally fill out the request for a demo or contact form, you want top-notch talent on the phone and sending emails to these prospects. You probably have some great performers on your team. Did you luck into those hires, or do you have a methodology when hiring for inside sales pros?

Here’s how the world shakes out when it comes to people pursuing sales: 5% of people can sell anything to anyone at anytime. Those people are typically successful entrepreneurs. They don’t need your sales job. Then there’s the 5% who couldn’t sell a fire extinguisher to a man on fire. These people need career counseling if they continue to try to pursue a job in sales. That leaves the rest of us — people with the potential to be great sales representatives for your organization. The keyword is potential.


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Skilled Salespeople Have Four Things in Common

According to Lee Salz, Founder and CEO of Sales Architects, people with the potential to be your next inside sales rockstar have the following things in common, and they are all non-negotiables for your hires. If you want to learn more about evaluating candidates on each of the characteristics below, watch Lee Salz’s webinar.

1. Resilience

Sales is a job where the number of rejections outweighs the number of wins. However, the quality of wins makes those losses bearable. You must hire sales representatives who are resilient enough to handle every “no” and intelligent enough to understand that multiple small rejections are nothing compared to significant, quality wins.

2. An Inclination Toward Continuous Self Improvement

While we may agree that sales is a job where you hear “no” quite often, the successful sales representative doesn’t just accept every rejection and move on to the next lead. Great salespeople should occasionally examine those rejections. While they should let the obvious “no’s” go, talented sales pros will review the questionable losses and find ways to improve their pitch or approach should they face a similar situation in the future. People with a zest for learning and dedication to improvement are a sales manager’s dream candidate.

3. Goal Orientation with a Focus on the Client

When hiring your next sales rep, don’t just think about how goal-oriented the individual is. Consider how client goal-oriented he or she is. When hiring managers think of “goal-oriented” candidates, that often means the candidate is driven to achieve his or her own goals. A successful sales organization must be built with people who are fanatical about helping clients achieve their goals. This type of sales organization is a win-win-win. Customers get great counsel and service. Your company is more effective with consultative selling. Your sales representatives make more sales when they care about the client.

4. A Naturally Inquisitive Personality

What makes a salesperson really successful? His or her ability to ask questions and listen to the prospect’s answers. Curiosity is an incredible trait in salespeople. The more thoughtful and intelligent questions they ask, the more opportunities they have to uncover pain points and help solve customers’ problems.

Hiring for Inside Sales Rep Based on Potential for Greatness

Great inside sales performers have two things in common. First, top inside sales performers possess the four traits listed in the section above. Second, they have a committed sales leader focused on doing what it takes to ensure the salesperson is the right fit for the job and has the necessary support and solutions to excel. That second commonality requires that sales managers do a little more homework before hiring. Here are seven things that Lee Salz suggests to help hiring managers identify and hire the best inside sales candidates.

7 Things to Try Before You Make Your Next Hire

  1. Accurately define the performance factors for the sales role. Even when your candidates possess the four non-negotiable skills, they may need additional competence in key areas. Define what those are — phone sales skills, writing, etc.
  2. Determine what skills you are willing to help a new hire learn. The odds are that you won’t find the ideal, dream candidate, so you must be ready to compromise. Are there skills that you are willing to help the right candidate cultivate?
  3. Match incoming resumes against those must-have attributes that will help the candidate effectively address the sales role’s performance factors.
  4. Conduct a phone interview with those candidates whose resumes stand up to your scrutiny. This conversation isn’t just the typical HR interview. You, the sales manager, should perform a phone interview to get a general feel for the person’s phone presence. If they can’t deliver during a phone interview, how well will they perform in your inside sales job?
  5. Allow the candidate to interview one of your top performers in the same role. This reverse interview allows the potential employee to understand the role and know whether or not he or she really wants this job.
  6. Run through simulations to test drive a candidate’s skills.
  7. Request a one-page plan from the candidate that outlines how he or she will prepare to be successful in the role. Ask the individual to set the due date. If a candidate can’t follow instructions (a one-page plan) and deliver on his or her own timetable, then that person probably isn’t right for the job.

Want to Learn More About Hiring a World Class Inside Sales Team?
Lee Salz spent time with VanillaSoft to create two webinars to help hiring managers hire inside sales talent and onboard sales reps. If you’d like to hear terrific tips and insights on hiring, view these webinars today.

Download the Inside Sales Strategy Checklist