How to Hire and Produce a Top-Performing Inside Sales Team

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It’s no secret that one of the most painstaking tasks of inside sales managers is hiring and keeping top-performing sales talent. In the revolving door of inside sales, this can be challenging. Good talent is hard to find, and even harder to keep. Your company has to get inside the mind of talent to discover what makes them tick. Are candidates right for the job? How do you create a positive selling environment? What can you do to make them sale more, faster? You want to keep the top performers on your team, rather than your competitors. To make your inside sales team thrive, you will need to master:

  • Attracting the right talent
  • Hiring the right talent
  • Effectively training new hires
  • Monitoring and reviewing performance

Attracting Talent
The first step in building a high-performance inside sales team is to attract the right talent. If you don’t attract the right people, the rest is toast. So how do you make high-performing sales reps interested in working for your company? Below are some ways for attraction.

Look for Talent at the Right Time and Place
The time to attract the right talent is not just when you’re in need. If you do it then, it’s too late. You’ve already lost valuable sales time waiting for candidates to contact you and then going through the hiring process. Follow the always be recruiting (ABC) rule and you’ll always have a viable pool of possible candidates to hire. These are candidates who contacted the company previously in which you have interest. You’ve already interviewed them and let them know that you weren’t ready to hire then but wanted to meet with them for future openings. So, the next time you need new sales reps, you’ll have a pool to hire from. You can almost cut the hiring time in half if you don’t have to go through the entire recruiting and interviewing process at one time.

Get Creative and Advertise to Passive Candidates
How and where you advertise a position can make a big difference in the type of candidates you attract. Of course, all inside sales team want the most talented reps, but attracting them is an art. Many of the most successful candidates are already working and not actively looking for a job. They’re called passive candidates. A recent study by CEB (The Corporate Executive Board) stated that 44 percent of employed workers identify themselves as passive candidates. You can attract them by letting them know that the grass is greener on your side. Stay in front of these sales reps in a positive light and they will notice your company. So maybe later, when you make an offer, they won’t refuse.

You can stay in front of passive candidates by placing ads in the places they frequent. Placing an ad in industry-related groups or LinkedIn usually produces more qualified candidates than generalized job sites like Monster and SimplyHired. You can also use Facebook, Twitter and You Tube. Share information about your company and the job opening. Candidates can get to know you and your company on a personal level. And don’t forget about current employees. They can be active recruiters to spread the word about your company. The bottom line is to get creative and not just rely on standard job sites to attract the best candidates.

After you’ve found the best places to advertise, you have to ensure that your ad is enticing. How do you attract the best candidates? Write the ad as if you are speaking directly to the candidate. What would they be interested in? Besides the key requirements for the position, ensure that you address the main concerns for sales reps: opportunity, earning potential, training, professional development, business culture, etc.

Hiring the Right Talent
Evaluation is key if you want to hire candidates with a high likelihood of success. According to Hire Right, Hire Profits, 90 percent of all salespeople must be the right match for the position for high performance. This means that managers must be skilled at evaluating candidates during the hiring process.

Use evaluation techniques to determine if the candidate is right for the job. The candidate must want the job just as much as you need to hire someone. If it’s not the right match you will be back at square one looking for someone else.

Evaluating the Candidate
Determine whether the candidate wants “a” job or your job. Fifty-five percent of people  who work on inside sales teams should be doing something else, and another 20 to 25 percent should be selling something else. Many people just want the money to make a living, they may not be interested in sales per se, but just the quick fix of having a job and the monetary rewards it brings. They may use a sales job temporarily until something better comes along. You want candidates that like selling! It will create a positive environment and be easier for them to succeed.

Here are some ways to evaluate candidates:

  • Conduct a phone interview first – This will determine the candidate’s phone skills. Do they have energy? Are you intrigued to meet them in person? Can they build a relationship with you over the phone?
  • Ask how the candidate prepared for the interview. This determines research skills for clients.
  • Give the candidate a chance to interview you to determine sincere interest. If they’re really interested, they’ll ask a questions.
  • Use mock situations to see if the candidate will perform according to your expectations.­­


Training New Sales Reps
You’ve evaluated and found the perfect candidates for your sales team. The first 90 days and onboarding process is crucial. The first 30 days are about learning. After the initial training session, set up a mentoring program. Let new sales reps shadow the mentor for observation and to ask questions. This should include practicing your company’s standard presentation, observing the mentor and other salespeople, and spending time with management and in sales meetings to review accounts.

Before new reps can begin the onboarding process, they need the correc­­­t tools. Having an easy-to-use and efficient sales CRM system available after training can shorten the transition on the sales floor. It’s one less thing for the new trainee to worry about. This can make a difference in sales reps’ performance. Sales CRM software like VanillaSoft lets you save time and money on training new employees because it is easy to operate. Sales reps will feel comfortable, and­ can be up and running in as little as 15 minutes when ready to sell. So, Instead of spending time learning the software, they can concentrate on selling.

Track Progress with Monitoring and Recording
After the training session and onboarding period, it is important to monitor new sales reps’ progress to ensure that they understand what was learned in training and how they’re progressing during each stage of the sales cycle. Measuring overall performance will identify the strengths and weaknesses.

Gain New Insight with Real-time Calling Statistics and Reporting
VanillaSoft offers a call-activity dashboard so you can quickly and easily monitor a sales rep’s performance. See real-time calling statistics for each sales rep, broken down by lead source, call result, or result group. You can directly impact new customer interactions as they happen with live monitoring and eavesdrop. In addition, easily record calls for later review and to use in retraining sessions. This is a valuable tool to teach sales reps about what happened during the call. And when combined with the VanillaSoft Web reports feature, you can easily see historical data broken down by sales rep, last call information, and more.

Measure the Right Sales Success Indicators for High Performance
Once new sales reps are ready for the sales floor, give them reasonable goals and sales quotas to achieve. Measure their progress with indicators. An important part creating a high performance sales team from new trainees is to measure the right indicators of sales success and progress. It’s not just a numbers game: number of calls, time on the phone, etc., which drives sales. Though these are definitely important, it’s the of quality calls that make the sale. Things like making sure that sales reps call qualified leads, knowing how to overcome objections, and having engaging conversations are vital to the success of your team.

Coaching and measuring these key performance indicators without the right sales CRM software can be a daunting task. Managers can spend more time collecting data than analyzing and reviewing information. VanillaSoft offers a comprehensive suite of tools to streamline the evaluation process, and make creating high-performance sales teams easier. Its dynamic reporting wizard gives managers visibility to let them ­­­­­know what’s going on at each stage of the sales cycle.

So, if you want to hire and produce a high-performing sales team, start with the right candidates, train them effectively, and end with the right tools for production and evaluation to ensure they are on point. Only then can you kick-start new sales reps to the fast track of success.