How 90% of Sales Managers Skip Steps in Sales Hiring


Sports analogies and sales are made often for a very good reason – because there is a direct connection between what it takes to succeed in sports and what it takes to succeed in sales.

Less than 10 weeks ago I announced that I was going to run the Tel Aviv Marathon.

The idea of running a non-US marathon was so exciting to me. Since I was scheduled to be in Israel at the time of the marathon and had always wanted to run one in a foreign country it would be perfect.

Except training for a marathon takes 18 weeks if you are 58 years old while I was allowing 12 weeks.

Sales managers who skip steps hiring salespeople end up with duds 3 out of 4 times.

When we talk to managers we often hear that they start by evaluating less than 20 applicants. Yet, one of the steps to making a good sales hire is to evaluate a minimum of 20 applicants.

Managers will tell us “I only got 5 applicants from Craigslist” or “When I ran my newspaper ad I only got 8 applicants.” As if that fact means they then skip the “Minimum 20 applicant rule” and head on to make a sales hire with what they got. Nope. Sorry Charlie.

If you only get 5 applicants from Craigslist that means you’ve got to run an ad on Careerbuilder. Or, better yet, use the section in the Sales Hiring E-course on Using Social Media.

I hesitate to identify any step as more critical than the other steps, but making a good sales hire requires that you pick from many applicants. Evaluating less applicants is about as sure a predictor of failure as I can think of.

Oh, and about that marathon…I’ve learned my lesson. I’m going to scale back to a half marathon. Still a decent goal, but nowhere near as impressive as a full marathon. Next time I won’t skip steps. How about you?

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