Archive | Sales Hiring RSS feed for this section

Are You a Squiggle?

28 Mar

 

squiggle9My most popular blog of all time is about this quick personality exercise – so I thought I would revisit the topic with a little updated editing. I originally wrote articles on WordPress (now I write on LinkedIn as well) and this 2011 post continues to get daily visits even though I never promote it (Old Blog Post).

Are you a square, circle triangle, rectangle or other?

Quick, without thinking – go with your gut and answer that question in your head (better yet, quickly draw it on paper) before you read the rest of this and we will dig into your answer in a minute. If you are thinking about your answer 10 seconds later, this exercise probably won’t be accurate.

shapes1Many moons ago, I met Connie Podesta (Connie’s Site) at a conference. Connie spoke over the lunch hour on this very topic of shapes and the personalities typically attached to them. Based on how people answered (first silently in their head), she described the likely personality traits of the individual with surprising accuracy. For example, Connie said, “the circles are probably talking right now…” and sure enough, I was talking at my table.

This is an oversimplified exercise and admittedly, a little silly. But similar to many personality assessments, there is some real accuracy to it … and it only takes 20 seconds! Give this exercise a try and don’t fret about the results as we are all a bit of each of the five shapes. I often ask this as an interview question to candidates, depending on the position. I’m not only curious about their answer, but I like to “read” their reaction to the question as well.

Note that I modified the original exercise on two accounts:

  1. I found that too many people were answering squiggle when given as an option (just because many people thought it was clever or funny) so I changed it to Other.
  2. I also added a rectangle because there was a void between squares and triangles. And those who choose rectangle seem to fit my personality description below.

copSquare: They are typically organized, work hard, love structure and want more order in the universe. Squares dislike situations where they don’t know what’s expected. They prefer working alone and are logical, sequential thinkers who often collect loads of data and file it so it’s easy to locate. Squares have trouble saying, “I’ve got enough information,” to make decisions. They strive to label everything as black or white – and they usually dislike this shape exercise more than the others! Your librarian or the next police officer who pulls you over is probably a square. I hope your CFO is a square.

edisonRectangle: They are a seeker and an explorer who is always searching for ways to grow and change. Rectangles often ask themselves “Who am I? What is the world about?” They are the most receptive of the five shapes to new learning. Rectangles are the least attached to a specific ideology and often cause their co-workers confusion when changing from day-to-day. Most people go through rectangular periods of their life when they’re in a state of change. Thomas Edison was probably a rectangle.

Steve_Jobs_Headshot_2010-CROP-780x611Triangle: They are decisive leaders who focus well on end goals. Triangles are self-confident and carry strong opinions. They can be dogmatic and shoot from the hip. Triangles like recognition and put stock in status symbols. American business has been run by triangles, and this shape is most characteristic of men. A huge positive is that they can communicate well with all the other personalities. Steve Jobs was a triangle.

marilynCircle: They get their energy from other people and work well with others due to their ability to communicate and empathize. They read people and can spot a phony right off. Circles like harmony and have more difficulty in dealing with conflict or making unpopular decisions. They can be swayed by other peoples’ feelings and opinions. They can be very effective managers in egalitarian business structures. Circles like to talk! Marilyn Monroe was a circle.

ladygagashockingpics2

 

Other / Squiggle: They are creative; a “what if” person who’s always thinking of new ways to do something. Squiggles are starters, but struggle with finishing because their mind never stops as they leap from A straight to Z. These catalysts do not like highly structured environments and can’t tolerate the mundane due to their shorter attention span. If squiggles don’t get excitement at work, they’ll find it elsewhere in life. Undoubtedly, Lady Gaga is a squiggle.

 

What’s your shape?

Beyond this shapes exercise, I’m a big fan of personality assessments like DiSC, Myers-Briggs and Strengths Finder 2.0. Over the years, I’ve probably taken 40-50 different assessments. I also like the Kolbe index and at our company, we always use a sales assessment for our candidates. In addition, I’d recommend a plug-in tool on LinkedIn called Crystal which analyzes the personality of a connection based on an algorithm that studies their communication style.

I think even the worst assessment forces you to go through an exercise of self-reflection. Even if the results don’t seem accurate, you will examine your personality, habits, strengths and weaknesses. Even the worst assessment accomplishes this.

I personally feel that the best aspect of these assessments is when you share them with your boss, co-workers or significant other. When I have an employee take an assessment, I share my personal results with them as well. I’ve found that it fosters an easier discussion about their weaknesses. We all have a personality and none of them are wrong – they all come with positives as well as negatives. By identifying these, it’s easier to work with others.

If I’m a circle and you’re a square, we can poke fun at ourselves – and objectively, discuss the value and strengths we both bring to the company or team. We’re all great and all a little crazy. Be aware of your weaknesses and focus on your strengths!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

 

Getting LinkedIn Recommendations

12 Mar

recommended

In my blog posts over the last six weeks, I’ve covered LinkedIn as a part of a 7-part series (this is my 7th and last post!).

In my opinion, recommendations (not to be confused with skill endorsements) are the most important section on LinkedIn. Recommendations are probably a bigger differentiator than anything else on their site.

If you are a job-seeker or salesperson, recommendations may be the number one thing that make people comfortable hiring or doing business with you. We can all tell people how great we are – but someone else’s words mean a lot more. Get at least 10 recommendations on your page.

givehands-and-heart

How do you get recommendations? Give them. I make a concerted effort to write them on a regular basis – and in most cases, it’s an opportunity to ask for one in return. Don’t make this a bigger deal than it is; write 3-4 sentences about why you think highly of them (and if you don’t, do not give them a recommendation!). And don’t get caught up in making it perfect. 

My recommendations say something like:

“I worked with Joe when we were both at ABC Company. I had the opportunity to see him in action and he did SOMETHING really well. I’d highly recommend Joe – please reach out if you have any questions!” (under SOMETHING describe 1-2 specifics).

This took me about 90 seconds to write.

write

Here are the 3 steps for writing a recommendation:

  1. Go to their LinkedIn profile and click on the 3 dots in the right corner. In the dropdown menu, choose Recommend.
  2. Choose how you know this person and your position at the time.
  3. Write your recommendation.

Clients and people that you’ve reported to are the best recommenders, but colleagues you’ve worked with can also provide a recommendation. Just like the ones you give – only ask those that think highly of you and/or love the service you provided them. So don’t be shy and ask for them! Then ask again… if they say yes the first two times, then politely pester them a third time until they actually write one for you.

People are heavily influenced by these so don’t wait until someone asks for your references after interviews – put them out there for the world to see! 

gifthatsallfolksIt has been fun breaking down some of the best features of LinkedIn over the past 6 weeks. If you took my suggestions to heart, you understand better how to sell, recruit, find a job, join groups and receive recommendations… and you probably have one of the better profiles on LinkedIn. The quality of your profile will have ongoing benefits.

Despite the length of my 2019 LinkedIn entries, we have not exactly covered the breadth of this site. If you have questions about anything on LinkedIn, feel free to reach out to me.

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

 

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/getting-linkedin-recommendations-drew-schmitz/

#linkedin

 

Get a Job on LinkedIn

20 Feb

job seeking

This post is the 4th in a series in which I’m covering LinkedIn in detail. The past two entries focused on selling and recruiting on LinkedIn. Recommendations and groups are the final two topics soon to follow this article.

You don’t have to read my first three posts to understand this entry, but I’d highly recommend you go back to the recruiting topic (Recruiting on LI blog). If you are going to use LinkedIn to find your next job, you should understand how recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers may be using it.

As a job seeker, it’s crucial that you have a great profile – below I’ve highlighted seven areas on which to focus.

#1 – Your Photo. I believe people can go overboard regarding the importance of your picture on LinkedIn, but this IS the first thing people see. Make sure it’s not a lame selfie – but a good head shot. Absolutely do not use LinkedIn without including a picture of yourself.  It personalizes and warms up interactions. And when there isn’t a photo, I usually assume that the person doesn’t actively use LinkedIn.

#2 – Headline. Besides your photo, this is the first thing people see even if they don’t click into your profile. A headline is limited to only 120 characters, so make it clear – state what you do and/or what you are looking for. If you aren’t working, it’s a must to put “Actively Seeking Employment” on this line. Even better, “Actively Seeking Employment as a SaaS Salesperson” is the type of descriptive headline you might want to use. What do you want people to know about you? Mine personally states that I’m a Sales Recruiter, Sales Coach, Consultant, Author and Speaker. That’s clear, concise and covers all the things that I do as an entrepreneur. Be sure to take advantage of this line.

Editing these sections is done by clicking on the pencil on the upper right-hand side of your profile page. The intro section includes your photo, headline, name, current position, education, location, industry, contact info, summary and media attachments. It’s not mandatory, but consider attaching a video, documents and/or samples of your work. 

#3 – Summary. This section is at the top when someone clicks to view your profile. You can be fairly descriptive about yourself as it allows for 2,000 characters. The summary should be about YOU because it gives people a chance to learn about your talents and what “makes you tick”. I think it’s important to not only illustrate what you offer and are looking for, but also show a little bit about your personality. This is your opportunity to share more than what a one-dimensional resume describes about you.

After your summary, be sure to fill out Experience and Skills & Endorsements. Experience is your work history – I suggest you copy and paste EXACTLY what is on your resume. Selecting your skills are easy and important; but in my opinion, getting endorsements of your skills from others is a silly feature so don’t bother asking for them.

#4 – Keywords. Don’t underestimate the importance of these. By optimizing your keywords, you will turn up higher in search results. These are the words others will enter into the search box when recruiting qualified candidates. I would suggest repeating industry key words in your areas of expertise so that you will be easily found in advanced searches.

#5 – Recommendations. Much different than the triviality of skill endorsements is the importance of getting recommendations. I can’t stress enough their importance! I care more about what other people say about you than what you tell me about yourself. Clients and people that you’ve reported to are the best recommendations – but colleagues as well as others you’ve worked with on projects can also write one for you. Don’t be shy – ask for them! Then ask again… if they say yes the first two times, then pester them a third time until they actually write one for you.

What is the best way to get a recommendation? Give them to other people on LinkedIn that have impressed you over your career – and then ask for one in return. You should get 3-5 recommendations as a job seeker… but you know a lot of people so why not get 10+? People are heavily influenced by these so don’t wait until they ask for your references after interviews – put them out there for the world to see!

#6 – Job Alerts. These are a confidential way to advertise that you are looking. Through job alerts, you can let others know you are open to opportunities with specific companies – and only those companies will be aware of your interest.

  • Click on Me in the upper right then Settings & Privacy; under Privacy, select Job seeking preferences.
  • Next, search for the companies that you’re interested in on the LinkedIn homepage.
  • On the Company Page, click the Jobs tab.
  • Click Create Job Alert to setup alerts for when the company posts jobs that match your skills.
  • Once you create these, you can also let recruiters know that you’ve have job alerts for their company by switching the toggle to On.

Ongoing, you can view and manage your list of company alerts for by clicking Manage job alerts on the Jobs page. Here you can also manage your specific job alerts from the section – At companies you’ve saved job alerts for.

Obviously, LinkedIn has its own job postings that you can easily navigate by clicking on Jobs at the very top. You are going to need to be proactive with your network and connections, as this feature (and job boards in general) won’t necessarily get you hired.

After all that work, you now have a great profile!

#7 – Introductions. The best thing that LinkedIn can do for a job seeker is help you find the specific name of the person to contact. You can find the hiring managers, leadership and HR contacts and reach out to them directly.

You probably aren’t connected to that person, so find out who is and get an introduction. They don’t have to be hiring – but they will likely be flattered if you tell them that you want to work for them. This may get you in the ideal situation in which you are the only person interviewing for an opening not even posted.

Use LinkedIn to its fullest potential because it is so much more than a black & white resume! If your search isn’t confidential, don’t be hesitant to tell everyone you know well that you are on the hunt – and the more specific you can be, the better. 

Good luck chasing your dream job!

It’s time to grow faster~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

blueoctopusllc.com

Are You a Dog or Cat on LinkedIn?

29 Jan

doggiest

From a simplified perspective, there are essentially two ways to use LinkedIn: Like a cat or like a dog…

Dog: You want to meet and connect with EVERYONE even if you don’t know them well (that’s me!). If you are meeting new people on a weekly basis, this method might make sense for you as a place to collect your connections; if you are a recruiter or a salesperson, I highly recommend being a dog.

Cat: You are more careful about your connections on LinkedIn. This is your core group of trusted colleagues and you don’t want to overload your contact list. You cats out there will probably be annoyed with my recommendations to join a lot of groups and connect with as many people as you can. You’ve kept this program simple and therefore a little more manageable.

Even though I’m a dog, I can appreciate the cat strategy. My personal LinkedIn is overloaded with connections and given its limitations, it can be difficult at times to sort through and remember my interaction with all my 1st degrees.

In 2003, LinkedIn went into business and then in 2016, Microsoft purchased it (for $26 Billion). It was ahead of its time – to compare, Facebook was launched in 2004 and Twitter in 2006. If the Rolodex wasn’t a thing of the past in 2003, it certainly got thrown out once LinkedIn came around.

Sixteen years later, LinkedIn is somewhat of a name brand in social media for business. It’s still very practical but not as user-friendly as I’d like it to be. Even with the best $120 monthly subscription, the ability to export specific information (like location) is poor and you are probably going to find a few aspects of the interface clunky.

That said, whether you are a dog or a cat, LinkedIn is the go-to web site for professional networking and that probably isn’t going to change any time soon. Since their basic membership is free, at the very least, have a profile on it and understand a few basic methods of using this social media tool.

Over the next few weeks, I’m going to break down LinkedIn in further detail to highlight its strengths:

  • Selling
  • Hiring
  • Job Seeking
  • Groups
  • Recommendations.

In this upcoming blog series, I am not going to give much detail about building your profile. It has been written many times so instead, my focus will be on the list above. However, just to recap the basics: use a good profile picture, build some detail under your work history and create a profile highlighting your personality and strengths. Make sure it is well written!

Have you identified yourself as a Cat or Dog? Whatever your animal, let’s make the most of LinkedIn! I look forward to diving into more detail in the coming weeks.

It’s time to grow faster

~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

 

 

 

 

Building a Kick-Butt Sales Team

15 Jan

kickbutter

I’ve seen small companies build excellent sales teams from scratch, lousy teams become very good and good sales teams become great. What are the main ingredients in a great sales team?

A sales leader. This may be obvious, but it starts here. I’ve seen many organizations create sales teams without a full-time manager. If you don’t have someone to oversee, push and encourage your salespeople, it’s going to falter. The sales leader is an excellent communicator, task-master and great coach. Hire someone that has already proven that they can build a team by demonstrating their past results and successes.

A great hiring process. I’m a recruiter but I don’t think I’m biased in saying that you must have a strong hiring process. One or two interviews isn’t enough. A sales assessment and team interviewing process are key ingredients to identifying the right people for your team (when I say “right” people that means salespeople that fit your culture and can hit the ground running).

Base salaries and commission structures that can pay them more than their base. Provide them with a reasonable base salary – I’d rather have salespeople worrying about bringing more deals than worrying about their bills. Then give them a realistic shot at exceeding that in commissions (i.e. A salesperson at a $60K base can make $60K in commissions if they are reaching their annual gross margin goals).

A sales process that salespeople can follow. Do you know how to teach your next star? There should be a path to success that they can follow… and a manager that makes sure they succeed by taking the right steps in year one.

KPI’s that hold people accountable. I’d rather fret about a salesperson’s monthly activity and results than micromanage their daily schedule. The metrics should be easy to understand and basically be measured 3 ways: (1) Activities (2) Pipeline and (3) Gross Margin on closed deals. Not only do these measurements exist, but there is accountability from all to reach these goals.

An honest culture. Within the company and within the sales team, everyone is open, direct and honest. People are comfortable discussing their successes and failures. The team is constructively calling one another out on their achievements and mistakes. No one is afraid to speak the truth to one another and –most importantly- to their manager.

A company that is willing to fire people. I’ve worked inside small and mid-size companies that almost never let people go. Give new hires an opportunity but be willing to let them go at 6 months if they aren’t hitting their numbers. All of your salespeople must fit the team culture regardless of their tenure in your company. If you put up with lousy attitudes and under-performers long term, it will affect the psyche of the entire team.

Awesome training. I’ve written an entire post about this recently: Year 1 Training. Especially in year one, a new hire needs more training and assistance than most companies are giving him/her. Are successful salespeople also receiving ongoing training? Is your training better than your competition?

If you’ve implemented my 8 suggestions above, you probably didn’t need to read this article. Because you already have a kick-butt sales team!

It’s time to grow faster! Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

 

 

 

 

Salespeople Can Produce 4X

6 Nov

growth

I’ve seen many examples of salespeople and even teams that have achieved an ROI of 4X (gross margin / cost). In some industries, it is easier, but I’m a strong believer that most salespeople can reach that production level by year 2. I’m assuming that your B2B product(s) or service(s) cost more than $1,000 – and that your GM is more than 20%. If you fit that criteria, it’s time to focus on ROI and 4X.

Calculating Return on Investment (ROI) for Salespeople: 
Total Margin (Not Sales!) / Salary + Commission + Benefits

Example: 
Julie sells $1 Million in 2018.
Her Gross Margin is 34% = $340K

Julie’s salary is $60K and her commission is $34K.
The company’s benefits cost approximately 20%.
$94K * 1.2 = $112,800 is the expense of this employee

$340K / $112,800 = 3.01 is her ROI

When you simplify it, salespeople only do three positive and/or negative things for your company:

  1. Make you money or cost you money.
  1. Boost or hurt the company and team morale.
  1. Externally, they positively or negatively affect your company’s reputation.

They’re Just a Number? 

I hate to turn salespeople into numbers and that isn’t where I start; especially in the interview and training process. Your sales force is much more than salesperson #12 that sits in the 34th cubicle on the 5th floor producing 3X.

If you’ve read any of my previous material in my newsletter, blogs or book, Sales Neutrinos, you realize that I put a lot of emphasis on the qualitative side of appropriately selecting, managing and motivating employees. Every salesperson is a unique human being and typically you should be helping them versus berating them over their ROI. If you hired well, assume they are another important future 4X producer on your team – and do everything in your power to get them there (or fall short at 3X).

Managing salespeople is actually a lot easier than we make it. They are working for you to help sell more goods or services. Long term, it’s about measuring their production. If they aren’t delivering a strong return, then they aren’t making a lot in commissions… and they probably aren’t happy either.

Hire, train and manage them well. In terms of numbers, first and foremost, concentrate on ROI; the rest of the metrics are secondary.

It’s time to grow faster~ 
Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

Greener Pastures?

17 Oct

greener pastures

Because I own a recruitment firm, it goes without saying that I’ve seen a lot of salespeople changing jobs in 2018. The unemployment is low and salespeople are in demand. I’m often asked, “Is now the right time to leave?”… and usually my answer back is “Maybe you shouldn’t.” There’s a big difference between being curious and genuinely frustrated. The grass often looks greener on the other side of the fence but that doesn’t mean that you are going to be more fulfilled in making a job change.

So Why Should You Stay?

  1. You have a good boss. He/she taught you the role well, is always there for questions, helps you achieve your sales goals and doesn’t micromanage you.
  2. Your commission structure isn’t changing every year. I’ve seen companies change their sales comp plans annually. If yours hasn’t been constantly adjusted, then you may want to consider yourself lucky.
  3. There is no commission ceiling. Obviously, you want an uncapped commission structure so you can continue to give yourself a raise.  You also want a territory that can continue to grow.
  4. A strong company culture. This can mean a lot of things, but mainly it’s positive (even fun!) and supportive of the entire sales team.
  5. A serious value proposition. Every company has one… but do they really? List the differentiators of your company’s product or service. Is it one-of-a-kind in certain niches?
  6. Your company has a plan. The vision and 5-year goals of the company are continuously shared and openly discussed. If you feel good about not only where the business stands now but see yourself working for a long-term winner, why even consider a change?

If you have 5-6 of the above, don’t call me. You should make the best of where you are currently working and stop worrying about the stresses of making a job change.

It’s time to grow faster~

Drew Schmitz

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

 

What is a Salesperson Exactly?

27 Mar

whatpic

I was having coffee with someone last week that does online sales assessments. We started to break down what a B2B salesperson really means in 2018. I tend to oversimplify and think of salespeople as an inside or outside employee. Smaller companies tend to only have those two positions – but let’s break down the roles into individual sales skills sets (this blog will not cover the growing list of marketing & social media roles).

In an ideal situation, you have all these people on your team. If not, it’s important to think of these nine roles and who takes on these responsibilities inside your sales team. Some people can do 2-3 of these positions, but almost no one is very good at more than a couple.

  1. Sales Leadership: it could be more than one role depending on the size of your organization.
  2. Sales Trainer: someone in the company that teaches the product or service (and company culture) to the sales team. Typically, “how to sell” (and close) is still taught by the manager.
  3. Sales Admin: they are the organizer and support for all the roles on this list.
  4. Sales Channel Manager: this position focuses on managing and selling to distributors. Many companies obviously don’t need this title depending on how their product or service is sold.
  5. Account Manager: I have a hard time calling this a sales position unless they are servicing and focused on account penetration (or else this is simply customer service). They typically work full time at a desk. In many companies, the inside salesperson has this responsibility.
  6. Inside Salesperson: works the phone and email and converts conversations into appointments or demos. They focus on generating leads at the top of the sales funnel.
  7. Technical Salesperson or Sales Engineer: they are the topic expert. In software, they do the demos and discuss content. In other technology companies, this is the Sales Engineer.
  8. Outside Salesperson: someone that opens the door to a proposal stage. They work the entire sales funnel from lead to close.
  9. Closer: sometimes it’s the sales leader that comes in to help close all the deals. Often it is the responsibility of the outside salesperson. Regardless, closing is a trait that many do not have and separating this role should be considered.

It starts at the top. Many companies end up promoting their best salespeople into sales leadership. I’m guessing a promotion to Sales Manager/Director/VP is successful half the time at best (unless the executives above are matching their other abilities to the position). Sometimes effective sales leaders are only average salespeople, but they understand the science of sales and how to motivate a team.

Regardless of how many different sales titles you have in your organization, it starts with the sales leader. He or she is going to have a lot of input into how these roles are divided. In an ideal scenario, they look at every individual on the sales team and place them in the right role to suit their talents.

I’m a big believer in Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept; there are 3 circles for defining what someone is best at: (a) Passion (b) Skills and (c) Money. If you are skilled and passionate about a certain area of sales, that is where you will have the most value. Understanding someone’s passion, skill set and economic engine lead to more success and less stress. These three circles help define where someone best fits into a sales team.

There are a lot of assessment tools that I use for hiring but start with the Hedgehog Concept and you have a quick litmus test of how to design your sales team.

Forward, never straight~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

Better sales recruitment. Better sales coaching. Better sales. 

It’s time to grow faster.

 

Unemployment in Free Fall

20 Mar

parachute

The

sky

is

falling?

For the 9th consecutive year, the U.S. unemployment rate ended the year lower than the previous.

Dec 2009: 9.9%

Dec 2010: 9.3%

Dec 2011: 8.5%

Dec 2012: 7.9%

Dec 2013: 6.7%

Dec 2014: 5.6%

Dec 2015: 5.0%

Dec 2016: 4.7%

Dec 2017: 4.1%

 In October, 1999, the U.S. hit 4.1%, in April, 2000, we dropped to 3.8% and we stayed below 4.2% unemployment until January, 2001. Otherwise, we haven’t been in this territory since January of 1970 (3.9%).

The U.S. began 2018 at a 4.1% unemployment rate (the Bureau of Labor Statistics is two months behind so we only have January’s unemployment rate as of mid-March).

We are obviously experiencing incredibly low unemployment numbers (it’s currently 2.1% in Hawaii!). If we can be of service finding you top sales & marketing talent during this historic period, please reach out to us.

Forward never straight~ DREW

 It’s time to grow faster.

 drew@blueoctopusllc.com

www.blueoctopusllc.com

If interested in a free copy of my eBook, Sales Neutrinos, please let me know.

A Foolproof Hiring System for Salespeople?

8 Mar

foolproof

Salespeople are great at interviewing. I, too, have been fooled by someone who looks good on paper, tests well, writes well and is personable. They look great and are hired… but fail.

Over the last nine years, our success rate at Blue Octopus is over 90%. That’s pretty darn good – actually amazing (if I can pat myself on the back), in comparison to most companies hiring salespeople in any B2B industry. But no matter what, we can all make mistakes and our new hires can fail.

Bad hires cost company time and money, hurt internal morale and sometimes damage your external reputation. The most expensive can be the average hires and the marginal performers that hang around for 2-3 years and never really make the company money. Here is an out of the normal paradigm idea…

Need to hire 1-2 salespeople? Hire 8!

  • Start interviewing. Upfront, tell every candidate about the entire process below in the first interview. In order to run the experiment with integrity, make sure that candidates will not be surprised along the way.
  • Hire 8 salespeople that you believe will succeed and pay them a $50K base + commission.
  • Fire 2 of the salespeople after 3 months and give the remaining 6 a $5K raise.
  • Fire 2 more after 6-9 months and raise the other 4 salaries an additional $5K.
  • At 12 months, you have 4 left standing; fire 2-3 of them and you are left with 1-2 high-performing champions.
  • Don’t bother creating new goals for them in their second year. They were fighting for survival in Year 1, so they have already defined their lofty goals for Year 2.
  • Give them another raise and let them run.

Of course, you were measuring their activity, results and ROI throughout the year. My last bullet above assumes that they are in the neighborhood of 2-3X ROI (gross margin / cost). If they are under 2X, then the experiment potentially failed (but I attribute that to poor hiring, sloppy on boarding and bad training – feel free to challenge my stupid idea).

The experiment cost: $378,128 + commission paid. Here’s my rough math:

  • 1Q, $125K ($50K/4 = $12,500 * 1.25 benefits+ = $15,625 * 8)
  • 2Q, $103,128 ($55K/4 = $13,750 * 1.25 = $17,188 * 6)
  • 3Q & 4Q, $150K ($60K/4 = $15,000 * 1.25 = $18,750 * 4)

I made some assumptions, but my little experiment will probably cost you about $500K (when commissions are included) in order to identify a star.

A lot of businesses would pay $500K for one guaranteed salesperson. If all of the salespeople brought in $1 million in margin over the course of the year, you certainly made money.

And I think every business would pay that if they found two strong salespeople producing 3x in year two.

Crazy idea? If the team is given good training and has a hands-on manager, it’s a hiring system that could work.

Forward never straight~ DREW
It’s time to grow faster.

If interested in a free copy of my eBook, Sales Neutrinos, please let me know. My next book for sales management is coming soon…