THE SALES MANAGER S GUIDE TO HIRING AND ONBOARDING SALES WOLVES

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1 THE SALES MANAGER S GUIDE TO HIRING AND ONBOARDING SALES WOLVES By Chris Young, The Rainmaker Group, Inc. Visit our blog for additional thought-provoking articles.

2 Are you playing to win or not to lose? Dear CEO / Sales Executive Nothing happens until something gets sold Whether you are a founder of your company, CEO, or in sales management, your most important role is to maximize sales. Where you are today is no accident. You have made the big decisions. You have gotten the sales in the past. You have the stories and scars to show for it. You have done whatever it takes along the way and made it through sheer determination and hard work. If you are like many sales executives, you are naturally protective of your current sales team and your current strategy. You have carefully shaped your strategy through trial and error to get to your current level of performance. You know that your greatest threat is not your competitor. Your greatest threat is the status quo. It is always time to up your sales talent and up your strategy. In order to make a breakthrough, a person must burn the boats to let go of strategies that have worked reasonably well in exchange for new ones that can take you to the next level. Today is your time to change your game to remake your own rules - to shape your destiny. To get to the next level of sales performance, you must improve your sales hiring, culture, and processes. About The Rainmaker Group, Inc. For over 14 years, The Rainmaker Group, Inc. helped companies who are committed to consistently winning hire, onboard, and coach sales wolves the top 20 th percentile sales performers. The Rainmaker Group, Inc. 116 North 5 th Street, Suite 102 Bismarck, ND (701) therainmakergroupinc.com Interested people do what is convenient. Committed people do whatever it takes. I recommend you print this document. Get out your highlighter and a notepad. Create an action list with timelines. We are here to help. We have been in your shoes. We are wired just like you. We know what works and what does not. 2

3 Your Future Is Determined By The Quality of Your Sales Talent A Fact Sales wolves dramatically outperform low performers. By definition a sales wolf consistently produces in the top 20 th percentile of all salespeople. How many sales wolves do you have? Ask most sales executives what the number one cost of hiring the wrong salespeople is and they will say, turnover costs. While turnover costs are typically quite high, the cost of having a low performer lose the sale again and again and again over months, quarters, and years often cost profoundly more than turnover costs. Do you know what the performance spread is between a top-performing and a lowperforming salesperson? The answer may shock you Top-performing sales wolves often out-produce low performers by 10 to 20 times. How many low performers are destroying your bottom line? You should be angry. Use it. Anger drives action. Let s be honest What do most sales executives do about their low performers? Little more than complain about them. Most do absolutely nothing more than talk about it Many sales executives love their low performers far more than they should. Average is for losers. Now is your time to take action. Abraham Lincoln once said, The best way to predict your future is to create it. If you are committed to winning sales consistently you must Accurately understand the true potential of your sales talent, Carefully hire only sales wolves, Onboard, coach, and develop your sales wolves, Carefully shape the culture of your sales team, and Implement the best sales processes. 3

4 The Five Costs of Hiring Losers There are five costs of hiring low-performing salespeople and while each are significant, one cost blows away the others. 1. Turnover Costs Undoubtedly, your turnover costs are high. It is expensive to recruit, interview, onboard, and train sales talent until they reach cruising altitude. Unfortunately, many do not make it. A typical minimum turnover cost is in the range of $25,000-50,000 per bad sales hire. We have identified instances of over $100,000 in turnover cost per bad sales hire. 2. Brand Costs Low performers fail to deliver value again and again and again. They destroy your brand and Customer good will. 3. Human Costs If you have ever had the job from hell the job you hated yet kept because the money was good, you know about the human costs. When time stands still because work is not enjoyable, that is hell. When you put someone in a sales role who is not wired to sell and then hold them accountable, dark things happen. They begin to doubt themselves. They doubt their future and if you do not have the intestinal fortitude to move them out, they infect others in their misery and lack of accountability. 4. Culture Costs Low performers create a culture of mediocrity, low personal accountability and entitlement thinking. After all if low performers are allowed to remain on the team, the high performers disengage and either quit and stay or quit and leave. 5. Sales Productivity / Opportunity Costs This is the big one the one cost that destroys more potential than all the others combined several times over. Companies naturally track the sales they win but they rarely track the sales they lose. Why? Accountants. Accountants track sales. They have to as part of their job. Accountants do not track the one that got away. A good sales executive is not a whole lot different than an NFL, NBA, or baseball coach. They know the production numbers of all of their salespeople and they are focused on improving, culling, and developing. They are focused on hiring, onboarding, coaching, and retaining only sales wolves. When you make a bad sales hiring decision, you sentence your sale revenues and profitability to mediocrity. When you fail to move a low performer out of your sales team, you sentence your sales revenues and profitability over months, quarters, and years. be incredible over time. 4

5 Lost Sales Productivity Identification Exercise It is critical that you do this exercise. Otherwise, you are likely to continue down the path you are currently on the status quo. Furthermore, you will not put the appropriate level of attention and resources into improving your current situation. In order to motivate yourself to take the appropriate level of action, you must know just exactly how badly your low performers are destroying your bottom line. Begin by setting aside minutes without interruptions. 1. Take out a sheet of paper. 2. Identify your top and bottom salespeople. At the top of your sheet, write down the names of 2-3 top-performing salespeople. Then write down the names of 2-3 lowperforming salespeople at the bottom of your sheet. 3. Reconcile what each sold in the last quarter and year. Next to each name, write down the amount each sold in the last quarter as well as their net margins. Consider writing down the sales figures for two quarters. 4. Calculate the spread between your top and bottom sales performers. 5. Complete Sample Sales Personality Test Contact us to set up sample sales personality tests for each of your top three and bottom three salespeople. We will tell you who is who. If you are feeling light-headed, you may want to remain seated. Pick up the phone or contact us by . If you keep hiring losers you are going to get fired. Or at the very least your retirement and your legacy will be far less than it should be. 5

6 How to Identify and Hire Sales Wolves One of the easiest ways to dramatically increase and sustain profitability is to hire correctly in the first place. This may sound incredibly basic, but you hire the best sales talent, you maximize the potential of your sales revenue and profitability. Following are Seven s to hiring the best sales talent. 1 2 Do not rush your sales hiring process. Committed CEO s and sales executives do not rush identifying and hiring sales wolves because they know the costs of getting it wrong are extremely high. All too often I see a sales executive who is tired of hiring low performing sales people who says, "I am tired of the headaches. I will do what it takes - I will wait until all steps are taken and the right candidate is found." Then they need a salesperson next week and they rush the hiring process. Within weeks, there is regret because the new hire is not the ideal candidate. Commit to hiring sales wolves - every time. Committed CEO s and sales executives do whatever it takes ethically to increase sales and profitability... They commit to carefully hiring sales wolves they never settle for second best. 3 Partner With Stakeholders. As a CEO / sales executive, it is your job to get results. Sales wolves will help you get there. Identifying and hiring sales wolves requires partnership and the most important partnership is with your internal recruiter, HR, and hiring manager(s). CEOs and sales executives are actively involved in the hiring process to ensure that the best practices are being followed consistently. Inspect what you expect trust but verify. 4 Use a Job Benchmark with a valid pre-employment assessment. There is a powerful way to ensure the needs of the job are met - match the sales talent to the job. The biggest challenge to hiring effectively is human bias. Human beings are unable to consistently and objectively identify whether or not the candidate is fit for the job during the interview. The only way to identify these aspects is by using a valid pre-employment personality assessment like the Sales TriMetrix HD. 6

7 5 6 7 Use Structured Interviews. Over the last 20 years, we have seen a lot of interesting and scary practices when it comes to interviewing and hiring sales talent. The right sales questions often do not get asked while the wrong questions are often asked. Furthermore, human bias is alive and flourishing in the traditional interview process. By using a structured interview process - where the same questions are asked and scored for each candidate, the potential for human bias is reduced. Using a panel group in combination with the structured interview is a great way to reduce bias during the hiring process. Use a Hiring Scorecard. An important way to improve the selection sales wolves is through the use of a hiring scorecard. A hiring scorecard assigns points based upon key criteria being met or not met. The result is a more consistent, transparent approach to your sales hiring process and a better sales outcome. Follow the Law. Have a clear understanding of all legal requirements during the hiring process. Failure to do so will expose your organization to potential legal liabilities. If an individual files suit and wins, the consequences for your organization could be harsh and devastating. Be sure to use only validated employee selection assessments, tests, and profiles during the selection process. The personality assessment tests used by the Rainmaker Group are highly-validated and can protect your organization from lawsuits. Hiring Checklist q We commit the time necessary to identify and hire sales wolves. q We partner with HR, hiring managers, and other stakeholders to ensure the best practices are being followed. q We use a Job Benchmark process. q We use a valid pre-employment assessment. q We use a structured, consistent hiring and interview process. q We use a hiring scorecard. q We follow the law. 7

8 After The Hire Onboard Coach Develop The worst possible approach to onboarding / coaching / developing your sales team members is "guessing" in combination with ignoring the fundamental employee engagement needs of each individual team member. Hiring poor job fit salespeople (low performers) dramatically complicates coaching and management. You cannot coach what you do not understand. If you have not already done so during the hiring process, have salespeople complete a sales personality test to understand their Behaviors, Motivators, Acumen, and Skills That is what many sales leaders do... They guess. Sometimes sales leaders are correct, but more often than not, they are wrong because they assume the salesperson is motivated by the same things they are. Guessing what motivates a salesperson works if you really do not care about getting the best results nor really connecting with those you are serving. Dan Pink's book, "Drive", addresses three elements psychologists have identified that are key to employee engagement. If you want to improve your coaching - improve employee engagement through these three powerful common motivators. Self-direction - workplace autonomy is important to employee engagement. Mastery - the urge to get better at what one does. Purpose - There is a higher-level point to doing what one does. Self Direc*on Mastery Employee Engagement Purpose 8

9 Coaching salespeople through self-direction, mastery, and purpose gets results. seen the following to be critical to onboarding sales wolves: I have also Motivation is intensely personal. Let me repeat that. What motivates each person is intensely personal. If you want to effectively coach, inspire, and motivate a sales wolf - you absolutely must know what that person values. The best salespeople True sales wolves are motivated by money and the desire to control their destiny. Yet there are other motivators that can contribute to or slow down the performance of a sales wolf. Appreciation. Sales wolves who are appreciated act appreciated. With extremely rare exception, people like to know they are doing well. The best appreciation is the kind your sales wolf likes - not what you like. Consider reading, How Full Is Your Bucket by Tom Rath, to learn more about how to effectively appreciate performance. Customize communication. Some salespeople like a more "task-oriented" language - for others - they want a more "peopleoriented" approach. We naturally speak with others in the manner we like the most. What you like may be the opposite of what a valued colleague enjoys. Sales team members will better connect with you when you communicate with them in a manner that they appreciate. The key to communication is understanding a person's Behavioral Style. The best way to identify a person's desired communication style is through a sales aptitude personality test with validity backed by brain research like the TriMetrix HD. Today is the first day of the rest of your life and that of those you serve. As a CEO - you serve those you work with. And quite frankly - you need to do a better job. I need to do a better job of properly coaching the souls that I get to connect with every day. The best results come when you are in tune with those who fit their jobs and love what they do. This means you absolutely must "slow down to speed up". It takes time and energy to really get to know those you serve and it is so very worth it. The motivation and work ethic of your sales team members is critically important to the success of your business. Sales team members do not need to be coddled, but they do need to be treated with respect and dignity. Here are some coaching styles that have proven ineffective. Knowing that your approach may be ineffective will inevitably be a positive step toward becoming a more effective sales leader. 9

10 Your destiny is in your hands Hire only Sales Wolves: The future of your business is found in identifying and hiring only the best sales talent. Onboarding / Coaching / Development: The effective onboarding / coaching / development of your sales wolves helps drive employee engagement, customer satisfaction, and shareholder value. There are interested leaders and there are committed leaders. Interested leaders do what is convenient while committed leaders do whatever it takes to maximize the potential of their team and company. About Chris Young Chris Young is the founder and CEO of The Rainmaker Group. He is dedicated to building high value companies through Sales Search, Sales Selection, and Sales Performance. His direct nature and data-driven approach proves to be very effective in maximizing sales team. The Rainmaker Group, Inc. (701) For over a decade, he has worked with hundreds of companies from small family businesses to F500. Chris is a trusted advisor to CEO s and sales executives who are passionate about results. Chris holds a BS in Economics and a MS in Applied Economics from North Dakota State University. 15

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