In part 2 of this 3 part hiring series, Sales Hacker reveals an “under the hood” peek behind our recruitment selection and hiring process.
If you missed part 1 of this hiring series, check it out here:
If you’re a job candidate in sales, you should be managing your job application process just like you’d run your sales process with a potential customer.
This is arguably the most important sales process your candidate will be running, as it’s a reflection of how they are likely to manage relationships with prospects.
This is the number one thing I grade candidates on – How well did they run their sales process on me?
How To Quickly Disqualify Unfit Candidates
I had only one candidate get an intro from someone I highly respect and that speaks at our conferences. I had only one candidate reach out to my previous sales hire before contacting me about the job. I had zero candidates get referred or endorsed by friends in the comments section. I had one candidate that followed up with me across multiple channels, not just LinkedIn or email.
On the flip side, I had multiple candidates fill out the simple form improperly, write me illegibly or in a rushed manner, or not even connect with me on LinkedIn before writing or applying
This is the easiest way to disqualify and also rank candidates quickly. Because the role has such a relationship building focus, this is extremely important to us.
The round two assignment through Google Forms goes out shortly after I rank folks based off our their sales process, experience, endorsements, and activity on LinkedIn.
These questions are uncover how they think about the sales process. Our sell is very consultative and needs a creative person in control. Someone who can ask the right questions and then figure out the right package for our partners that will achieve their goals while scoring us the best margins.
I like to see how they’re thinking through building out our Total Addressable Market and list of potential partners, how they’ll get contact info and reach out, how they’ll work existing deals in frequently occurring or rare situations, and how thorough and structured they are.
How To Narrow It Down When You Have Lots Of REALLY Good Candidates
I’ve got it down from 150+, to 30, to 10, to 8, to 4.
Time to get on the phone with the top 4 candidates. Again, I’m running this like a sales process. Sure, I have details I’d like to get from them, but I’m really looking to see what questions they’re going to ask me.
Are they going to qualify the opportunity? Will they ask to speak to my previous employee? Will they ask what we did in revenue this year and what the previous sales employee took home in pay? What other questions will they ask about the job that can help them qualify it to move forward? This is a huge step people often fail on.
After the first call, I have some more info on them and are starting to see more of their sales process. Let’s see when they follow up and what they say.
Three of the four final candidates are very similar, with one being an outlier. This helps me understand if my internal GPS is correct. If the outlier interviews the best, then I may need to talk to a few more that are similar to make sure I’m on the right track.
Once qualified to this point, I know a lot about the candidate. I know how they work, think, and run a sales process. I will also understand fit from a cultural perspective. It’s very important I can trust this person to attend a conference like Marketo Summit on their own and they’ll represent us well. These types of things you learn along the way from signals in their LinkedIn profile, their writing, and their communication skills.
Final Candidate Test Project
My final assignment is around two very important things that involve the creativity and sales acumen needed to really own the job. Since this isn’t just your average sales role, this hire really needs to own the Partnership side of the business.
Part 1: Candidates were asked exactly how they would overcome some common objections in the sales process. This is our main role playing scenario and varies greatly from deal to deal. There’s a an level a creativity needed here that isn’t taught in SaaS or other B2B sales.
Part 2: Candidates were asked to review what we were selling and provide feedback on what they would add, change, or make better. It worked out to be a great exercise on make the docs clearer and the packages more enticing, while being able to see how the candidate’s mind works. It also ended up showing a level of passion for the role that set the final candidates apart from each other.
Lastly, I’ll speak to a couple of references and then make the hire on who I think will do the best job in this hybrid position.
Sales Hiring: Key Learnings For Employers
-Articulate the job and what they’ll get out of it in terms of their career. People don’t want boring jobs that they need to have in order to live. People want to feel fulfilled at work. The best people want great opportunities. Roles that are stepping stones to their goals.
-Write a job description you’re proud to share with your network, competitors, customers, and future and current employees. This is a massive representation of your company to the masses. Don’t make it dull and boring, and self serving. Make it about what you want employees to get from the experience.
-Many of the comments I got read the job application and while weren’t looking, recommended others. Sometimes it just built overall goodwill. Another reason to make sure it resonates with the desired audience.
-Share it with your network and hire through current employees. They know your business best and will evangelize for you. If you’re not doing this, you’re missing out on low hanging fruit. There are SaaS companies doing this right now like Teamable.
Just put yourself in the shoes of the person you’re trying to hire. What would you want to see? This is your hiring top of the funnel. Don’t half-ass it!
Check out my follow up article on my key learnings for anyone trying to get hired in the immediate future, being posted tomorrow!
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