Top 10 Reasons Companies Fail to Hire the Right Sales Staff


At the risk of losing some audience, I’ll use an American Football analogy. I mean It is almost draft day. If you’re not into sports examples, please skip to the list.

Let’s suppose we have two potential draftees that physically are very close. Both are about 225, 6′ 2″. They each run the 40 yd dash in 4.175 seconds. Both bench press over 400lbs. Deadlifts and squats are within 25 lbs. of each other. They are both fearless, super quick and the top of their tryout squads. Hard choice right?

Not if I told you they were trying out for two totally different positions. One is trying out for fullback and the other linebacker. The linebacker has extremely fast closing speed, and the running back has extremely quick acceleration. Sounds like the same thing, right? Not so! The running back has incredible field vision while the linebacker has superpowers with his perirhinal vision. We could go on at nauseum about the nuances of each position, but you get the picture.

The more we look at the specialized skills, the more we begin to see the differences. The deeper we look at the requirements to excel in each position the tighter our criteria.

Sales is even more complicated when you consider the 21 Core Competencies and each Competency is made up of 8-10 attributes. (nuances). This creates over 200 unique findings and intelligence about sales candidates. Multiply these findings times over 1.7 million salespeople that have been evaluated and assessed and you have more data than the mainframe can process. This is the work of Objective Management Group. Who by the way was Voted #1 Sales Assessment for 7 years running by an independent counsel. I have been using these world-class assessments as part of the sales hiring process since 1995. Go OMG!

Based on the above and conversations about sales hiring over the past 25 years I’ve boiled it down to the TOP 10 Reason companies fail when hiring sales staff.

1. Not taking the time to define the role and skills to execute in the role.
2. Internal politics. Stop with the fiefdoms and put the company first.
3. Not using a proven systematic approach to disqualify candidates.
4. Not raising the bar high enough or setting it too high.
5. Not having competitive compensation plans that motivate and keep new hires hungry.
6. Not on-boarding with a detailed, defined plan of action for the first 90 days
7. Not using a Sales Specific pre-employment assessment.
8. Inability to turn the first interview into an audition.
9. Not realizing A players won’t work for B managers.
10. Taking too long to decide on a candidate.

What do you see as company’s biggest hiring mistakes?

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Author: Rocky LaGrone

Rocky LaGrone is a seasoned sales development expert with over 25 years in sales development and training working with well over 1,000 companies of all sizes in various industries.

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