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Why do Smart People Keep Hiring Weak Salespeople?
Blog / Sales Management / May 17, 2017 / Posted by Tuck Mixon / 7308

Why do Smart People Keep Hiring Weak Salespeople?


Flaws and Costs in the Traditional Sales Hiring Process

Weak salespeople cost companies millions of dollars every year. When you have weak salespeople, they struggle, you get frustrated, and your company loses millions in revenue and profit. In contrast, when you have strong salespeople, they make your company millions every year.

With strong salespeople, you get credit, you achieve goals, and you make more money. This difference between weak and strong salespeople is not just my opinion. The data backs it up. Sales evaluations on over 16,000 salespeople from 2009 to 2017 show that 51% of salespeople are weak; they have a sales quotient between 0 and 114. (115 to 129 is serviceable; 130 to 139 is strong, and 140 to 173 is elite) A study of 50 growing sales forces tells a similar story: The top half of the sales force achieves 159% of Quota, and the bottom half achieves only 49%. The revenue gap between the top 50% and the bottom 50% ranges between $500,000 and $2,000,000. Watch this video to see the charts.

  • Despite this huge performance gap between top and bottom Salespeople, smart people continue to hire weak salespeople. Even with this gap, they keep hiring weak salespeople about half the time. The video details the hiring mistakes. Here are the common flaws in sales hiring:
  • Compensation Mismatch – it is common not to know what top salespeople are worth, and if your compensation appeals to weak but not strong salespeople, you have trouble hiring top salespeople.
  • Subjective Job Requirements – Most job requirements do not predict job success; instead they limit the candidate pool. College degrees, technical degrees, industry experience, and personality type requirements cause fewer strong salespeople to apply or pass your initial screens.
  • Standard Job Ads – Most job ads do not attract strong salespeople because they focus on the company and the role. A great job ad gets strong salespeople to read it and say “That’s Me! I want this job.”
  • Traditional Interviews – When sales interviews are similar to marketing or accounting interviews, they fail to separate the top salespeople from the rest. Sales interviews need to challenge sales candidates or the weak salespeople will fool the interviewer.
  • Imperfect Judgement – Judgement and gut instinct are important when you have three great candidates as finalists. Unfortunately, when your sales hiring process has flaws that cause weak candidates to become finalists, imperfect judgement often makes a bad situation worse. It is why weak candidates get hired 50% of the time.

Traditional sales hiring processes only have a 50% success rate (often even lower!) because their flaws result in small candidate pools filled with bottom performers. Reviewing or mining resumes does not get you a large candidate pool with top performers. In 2014, Harvard Business Review carried an article entitled In Hiring, Algorithms Beat Instinct. It makes two key points:

  • Simple algorithms beat human judgement by at least 25%
  • Even experienced people do not identify the most qualified candidates consistently.

The Secrets of Hiring Top Salespeople

You don’t have to settle for a 50% sales hiring success rate because there is a better way to hire salespeople. Your success rate can be 90% plus, and you can do it with or without recruiters in 75% less time. This proven method called STAR has been developed and refined over the past 15 years. Key to the STAR Sales Hiring Process is the expert algorithm in the Predictive Sales Assessment (you’ll get a free trial if you click that link). Over 1,000,000 salespeople have been assessed, and third-party studies have shown its predictive validity to be 95%. When you learn and use the STAR process, your sales force will go from 50% strong and 50% weak to 95% strong. Revenue will increase significantly as your sales force gets stronger.

The video above explains more.

If you really want to solve your sales hiring challenges, attend our webinar because the webinar covers even more.

Register for our webinar here:

Discover the Secrets of Hiring Top Salespeople

Thursday, May 18th at 11:00 AM Central Daylight Time

Register even if you cannot attend because you will have access to the recording.

* The Sales Quotient is the bottom line number of a salesperson’s relative strength. You can request sample assessments here.

About Author

Tuck Mixon is a sales and marketing expert who helps CEOs, owners, entrepreneurs, and sales leaders build better sales forces. Win more, grow faster, and improve profitability with a stronger sales force.


Sales Process Automation
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