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The Ultimate Sales Hiring Cheat Sheet For CEO’s

by Guest Writter
Eliot Burdett, CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting

The average CEO has extremely busy work days.  After all, they have to deal with big picture vision, driving revenue and then of course putting out all the fires.  That is why when it comes to hiring, CEO’s typically rely on other senior executives or the human resources department to find the perfect person.

In some industries such as sales, these hires are directly responsible for driving revenue and profits.  When you consider that less than 50% of sales representatives will make their quota in the first year, the results from bad hires can be critical.  If the sales figures are not up to snuff, a CEO may decide he or she wants to get involved in the hiring process.

As CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting and after decades of experience, I have seen first-hand the battle scars from the wins and losses of hiring and have compiled a brief cheat sheet that CEO’s can use should they want to immerse themselves in the time consuming hiring process.

Here are the top 20 FAQs CEO’s ask when looking to hire amazing sales people.

  1. How important is hiring to the success as a sales leader? I can’t think of anything more integral to achieving sales results than getting the right sales people onto the team.
  2. What is a great salesperson? One who consistently meets or exceeds targets.
  3. Can I build a solid sales team of people that are less than great? With mediocre sales reps you can expect mediocre results.
  4. Why is it so hard to hire people who can consistently exceed targets? Because they are rare.
  5. Are great sales people born or made? A bit of both.
  6. Hire top sales talent or invest in training and managing? Get the best people onto your team unless you like wasting your time and money on managing and training.
  7. What level of sales rep turnover is acceptable? A low level. Turnover is extremely costly in terms of lost time, investment, and opportunity.
  8. Do great sales people manage themselves? No.
  9. Should I hire a diamond in the rough? Yes, if you have the time and patience to allow them to make mistakes and learn to sell. You must also have a good process for picking diamonds in the rough.
  10. Smart vs. experienced? Smart will figure out what they need to know, but not everyone has sales DNA.
  11. Do good looking people sell more? Great sales people sell more.
  12. My sales person hates making sales calls, what should I do? Transfer them to accounting.
  13. What are the key traits of great hunters? Drive/ambition/need to achieve, self motivated, competitive, perseveres/resilient, positive/confident/optimistic, action oriented/sense of urgency, problem solver, needs to interact with others and persuade.
  14. Promote my top sales rep to sales manager? Only if you can afford to have a poor sales manager and lose your top rep. Totally different jobs that require different traits.
  15. How important is like-ability? Important but not the definitive factor in success.
  16. Hire or outsource? Hire if you care about your customer relationships and why they buy.
  17. Are all the sales roles the same? No. Different cultures, selling processes, company stage, market maturity, price, sales targets. These all mean you need a different mix of skills, experience and DNA to be successful.
  18. Should I terminate a sales rep that is not achieving targets? No. Turnover is costly. Work with them first and make sure you are doing everything possible to make them successful.
  19. When do I know it is time to dump my sales person and replace them with a better rep? When the current sales person stops demonstrating the behaviors they need to be successful and won’t respond to your coaching.
  20. How long should I keep a rep that is not performing? How long can you tolerate missed targets, frustrated customers and disruption to the morale of the winners on your team?

[Image courtesy of SOMMAI at FreeDigitalPhotos.net]


About the Author

Eliot Burdett is the Co-Founder and CEO of Peak Sales Recruiting, a leading B2B sales recruiting company launched in 2006. Under his direction, the company leads the industry with a success rate 50% higher than the industry average, working with a wide-range of clients including boutique, mid-size and world-class companies including P&G, Gartner, Deloitte, Merck, Western Union and others.

Prior to Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies by recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software) and served as Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

Eliot received his Bachelor’s Degree in Commerce from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.  He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast.

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