The most critical component in creating a high performance sales team is attracting and selecting the right level of talent. However, hiring correctly is still the number ONE problem in most organizations. While the jury is still out on the on college national signing day and their recruitment of high school seniors, and if you follow college football, you saw Alabama again win the talent contest for football players. As a Sales Manager, wouldn’t you like to be in the positon of Nick Saban, coach at Alabama? As they refilled their talent pool, Alabama actually turned down players that were highly rated.
What we saw at the Super Bowl on Sunday was something similar. What we saw at the Super Bowl for those of you who are not aware of the Sunday’s event; with very little time Tom Brady led his team back from a 21 point deficit to win his 5th Super Bowl ring. The record shows that he has accomplished similar come-from-behind victories every year. On ESPN he was quoted: “I kept telling myself and my teammates that we can still win this game.” While sports analogies are cliché, the odds of winning were with the Patriots. However the amazing story: Howie Long, FOX Analyst, comments that with Tom Brady, the Patriots have won 5 Super Bowls with a large number of new receivers– something like 50 different offensive linemen, 20+ new running backs and many new positon coaches–yet excellence has continued. How have they continued to create a successful organization?
While being interviewed, Bob Kraft, the Patriots owner, kept talking about not only culture, but organization process, attention to details and a focus on quality. They know that each year players/coaches will retire, move to new organizations (they are losing their Offensive Coordinator today) and others will be let go. They have to be ready and continue to keep their talent levels and training programs at a constant peak.
Recruiting must be a constant focus of sales management. At this time of year many top performers are assessing their current employer and are asking themselves if they are positioned with a winner, or if the frustrations of the past year or two have been worthwhile and if they have progressed professionally. If you are not constantly seeking new and better talent, you will find that the top sales talent, may not be looking when you are. We always tell our clients that they need to develop a marketing campaign to recruit talent as well as to find prospects-both pipelines are critical.
Recruiting is not hiring. In my book I mention recruiting is 20% of the Sales Managers job. It is that important to add quality to your sales organization. Honestly evaluating your current talent is important. In our SLAMMED! Sales Management Boot Camp we start the entire program with this exercise. With an honest evaluation you will be in position to recruit and hire more effectively. Build an interviewing process, stick to it, have at least 3 people interview each candidate, be skeptical–and you will see the results of your efforts, just like Bob Kraft or Tom Brady.
Also in our book Recruiting and Hiring a High Performance Sales Team I suggest that for every one salesperson you hire, you need to interview five, and that a minimum of three people interview each person. While I can’t get into a complete recruiting, interviewing and hiring process in this blog, building a recruiting machine with a defined interviewing process will help you take the emotion out of hiring and help you select the winners required to make your organization a “super team”.
Our website has a free video on Hiring Smart and our On Line Sales Manager’s Tool Kit includes a complete interviewing kit as well as a 3 week New-Hire On boarding training schedule.
Check out those resources then focus on execution. I hope your new year is off and running-in the right direction!