Why Identifying Sales Candidate Targeting Matters

The Pareto Principle is a law of human productivity. Choose to believe it or not, but 20% of salespeople create 80% of all of your business. My friend Perry Marshall has written extensively about the 80/20 rule if you want to understand more about this important concept. Bottom line, if you can learn to identify the 20%ers and learn to spot the 80% duds, you’ll be a heck of a lot more successful.

  • The Impact of Top-notch Sales Candidate Targeting on Business Success

When I first started in media sales I was a member of a 6 person sales team. I was green and knew enough to know that I didn’t know anything. But one guy on the team, JD Cave, definitely knew. He was the consistent new business producer. He was a 20%er. And 80% of the new business at that property was coming from him.

  • Consequences of Hiring Subpar Sales Professionals

On the other hand, hiring the bottom 80% will cause you to miss your targets. And you’ll spend all your time trying to get the duds to pick up the phone, follow the script and act enthusiastically.

Understanding Sales Candidate Targeting: Essential Traits

Let’s start with what a top performer looks like “under the hood.” Just like an iceberg, our real personalities are under the surface, but they drive our public performance.

  • The Importance of the Right Values

Selling is about generating revenue, even if you’re soliciting memberships for Greenpeace. Salesperson who lack high practical values will never be a top performer. When I created Radio Profits Corporation, one of the first companies I built and sold, we did a lot of work for Religious broadcasters. They were absolutely convinced their best sales candidates were Believers with High Ethereal values. Once we convinced them to hire salespeople who were High Practicals, where Money or Power were their top scores, their revenue tripled the following years.

  • The Value of Resilience in Sales

All prospects start at “no, I’d rather keep my money than have your product.” Salespeople must have stick-to-it-iveness because it takes prospects time to understand why having your product will make them more money and why its a good investment. Salespeople with low resilience scores will give up before the sale is made.

  • Why Communication Skills Make a Difference

Selling is about communication. Good salespeople are flexible communicators and they have the natural ability to match the prospects’ communication style. That doesn’t mean that if the prospect is speaking French, they can switch to French. But it does mean they will adjust their pitch, tone and rate of speech so the prospect feels more comfortable.

  • The Undeniable Power of Persuasion

When it comes to influencing others, there are two major categories: those that enjoy the process of persuasion and those that find persuasion distasteful and difficult. Our 20 years of data show most of the 80% mediocre salespeople find persuasion distasteful and difficult.

Strategizing Your Sales Candidate Targeting: Setting Up for Success

  • Planning for Success: The Right Way to Recruit

Recruiting needs to be done systematically in order to get quality results. Just like your company goes through a series of steps to create your product, recruiting sales talent must be done in a set order.

  • Compensation Plans that Attract Top Talent

Most compensation plans miss the mark by a country mile. When designing a comp plan ask yourself would a top performer who is looking to find a home for their exceptional talent be attracted to this? Hint: build in residual income (even if your product is a one time sale) and remember down the road profit share and equity. There's a reason that top salespeople often work 16 hours a day and never quit.

  • Leveraging Job Descriptions to Attract Top Talent

Most job descriptions are written by HR to fulfill legal requirements. As the sales leader, edit that document and use your sales talents to answer the question the top performer is asking themselves: Is this job a match for me or are they just looking for sales cattle?

  • Building a Strong Employer Brand

Employers forget that applicants look at their website and their future boss’ LinkedIn profile. Take time to make your LI profile worth reading. Demonstrate you’re either a super sales wizard who your future hire can learn from, or that you are great admirer of sales talent.

Implementing Effective Sales Candidate Targeting Identification Methods

  • How Values and Personality Assessment Tests Uncover Hidden Talent

In the old days an applicant had to create a resume and have it printed. Then to apply they had to type a cover letter, insert the resume, address the envelope and put a stamp on it. The applicant made an effort. Today? Click. (that’s it). One of the best ways to assess candidates is to have them take profiles to demonstrate their follow though.

  • Behavioral Interviewing: A Key to Spotting Potential

A series of shorter, well planned interviews is a good start. Don’t ever make a hire without at least 3 interviews. A script for your interviews is a must. If you do that you’ll find in third interview you are at the truth. We call it the FST Interview Strategy for Fact, Scrub, then Truth.

  • The Role of References in Confirming Candidate Potential

In today's highly litigious environment its hard to get a reference to tell you anything of value. We recommend you have the applicant contact the reference and arrange for you to meet them. In this way the reference feels safer to tell you what they think about your candidate.

Leveraging Technology in Identifying Sales Talent

  • The Impact of AI on Modern Recruitment

AI can be helpful in creating a system. Helps you to not skip steps. AI is not the magic bullet because it relies on social posts of the applicant, which may or may not be accurate.

  • How LinkedIn Can Be Your Secret Weapon

LinkedIn is the world’s database of business talent, which is a great help. Unfortunately, a great LinkedIn profile can be a bucket of BS, so don’t get fooled there. Today for a couple hundred dollars a professional LinkedIn profile writer can make less qualified applicants look good. That said, if your applicant has not taken the time to create a good LinkedIn profile they’re probably not worth your time.

  • The Role of Recruitment Software in Streamlining Talent Hunt

A sales hiring system should organize your search for you. It will help you post to multiple job boards, track the applicants follow through in completing values and personality style tests, identify those applicants who “pass” both profiles and track your interview notes.

Onboarding and Nurturing Your Sales Talent

In my other posts I talk about how important a well-crafted onboarding experience is for getting maximum performance as quickly as possible. There is nothing more demoralizing for a top performer to arrive on their first day to find you have not created an email account for them, etc.

Conclusion: Building a Sales Team that Excels

Top sales talent is your business’ most effective way to grow your revenue. Taking the time to plan and implement a Scientific Sales Hiring System is essential to find and hire the top 3% of sales talent. Schedule a free one hour Science of Sales Hiring Strategy Session where we identify the best way to hire top sales talent


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Part 1: The Uphill Battle in Recruiting a Sales Team

Part 1: The Uphill Battle in Recruiting a Sales Team
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