Managing a sales team is a complex and challenging job. It’s also a very different job within companies of varying revenue sizes. In some cases, you’ll need to be a front-line seller, in others, you’ll need to be a sales strategy master. Yet in all sales leadership positions, you’ll have to have command of more than just sales skills, you’ll need to be able to lead others.
Telling candidates they won’t be moving forward in the interview process can be awkward, uncomfortable, or even something you tend to procrastinate. Some recruiters and hiring managers ignore providing feedback for candidates altogether. Others wait days, even weeks to reject candidates. Letting too much time elapse before delivering the "bad news" hurts everyone, including your company’s reputation.
Is Building a Winning Sales Team as Simple as Following a Proven Recipe?
If I want to bake a chocolate cake, I’ll pull out a recipe book. Then I’ll follow the directions and in about an hour and a half or so I’ll have a cake. If you just follow a recipe, you’ll get predictable results. Right?
Except every time I try to bake a chocolate cake, it never comes out quite the same. Sometimes they’re good , sometimes they’re burnt, other times they just taste like a cardboard sponge. (Not sure I’ve ever eaten a cardboard sponge, but you get the point.)
Are You Still Trying to Recruit and Hire the "Perfect Salesperson"?
Hiring can bring out your worst fears. Especially if you’re a new manager or just starting with a new organization. When your first goal is to immediately staff up—your reputation hangs in the balance. Everyone’s watching...quietly rooting for your success or failure.
Never Underestimate the Power of Getting off to a Good Start
John called me in the middle of the day. He’d just started a new role with a software start-up in San Jose, California. He sounded a little irritated, certainly not his usual upbeat self. As a sales recruiter who spends hours each day on the phone, I’m highly sensitive to slight voice inflections. I instantly knew something was wrong.
“I’m not sure this is the place for me,” he said. After a long pause, John went on to explain, “Yesterday two of the guys in my sales training class went to lunch and didn’t come back. The office manager Susan let on this wasn’t a first. Every time I step out of the office, my boss gets this tense look on his face.” Read More
Congratulations You've Made a New Sales Hire, Now the Real Work Begins
Tony Hsieh, CEO of billion-dollar e-tailer Zappos, pays new employees $2,000 to quit. Almost all new hires take less than a few measly seconds to say, “No thanks!”
What about you? If I walked into your office and asked your newest hires if they’d quit for $2K, are you confident 97% of them would say, “No thanks!” like Tony’s?
Or would they sleep on it…?
If you’re like most companies, you have new hires that’ll leave for free. They won’t even need the allure of a $2K bonus. We could quickly run through the numbers and roughly calculate how much sales turnover is costing you, but it’d only put you in a really bad mood.
When you’ve worked hard to recruit top talent for your sales team don’t leave new beginnings up to chance. Read More
From the Front Lines: Observations about Sales Hunters
I’ve interviewed more than 2,600 people in-person at all kinds of places: coffee shops, airport terminals, tiny interview rooms, bars, airport lounges, fancy offices, restaurants, city clubs, Starbucks, and more. I’ve video called and phone interviewed more than 5,500 sales candidates not including the 2,600 in-person interviews.
With rare exception, every candidate I’ve met in this population has had at least five years of experience post college. They are candidates from across the country, from New York to San Francisco. They’ve earned from 120K to 700K a year. Read More
Challenging Your Basic Assumptions May Help You Generate Better Solutions
Let’s take a look at a sequence of numbers and determine the rational reason for the sequence. These numbers are not my birthday, driver’s license number, address, or the key to my gym locker. There is a rational, logical reason for the order of these numbers. What is the rational reason for the order? Take a few minutes and see if you can figure it out.
8 5 4 9 1 7 6 3 2 0
Do you have an answer yet? If you haven’t figured it out, don’t be too miffed. One in twenty people come up with the correct reason according to Dr. Alan Weiss, a business consultant who has written about The Rational Sequence in a book called Process Visuals. Read More
Crash Course in Sales Recruiting
The first time I saw my boss, he looked at me with steely eyes, and told me to find the best talent for my clients, or pack up my desk and go home. I had 30 days to figure out this business and put up some numbers, or get out. A line of contenders a mile long wanted entry into this lucrative cubical kingdom, and if I couldn’t do it, I’d have to give it up to the next guy who was willing to make more calls, endure endless criticism, and review resumes until his eyes bled. This is when I quickly learned what my ferret of a boss already expected me to know about recruiting. Read More
Controlling Your Focus Takes Effort
With the average attention span shortening over the last hundred years from 20 minutes to 9 seconds, staying focused during a conversation has become more and more difficult. BBC News reported, “The addictive nature of web browsing can leave you with the attention span of nine seconds-the same as a goldfish.” Enduring conversations where people can’t get to the point, or even answer your most simple questions without going into another 15 minute story becomes exhausting. As our attention span erodes, it is increasingly important for sales professionals to stay aware of the old truth that hearing isn’t listening. Read More