Hire Right and Coach to Success
by Cliff Sutton
Sales Vice President, these 2 fundamentals make or break your success. The formula applies to more than sales only!
Do your sales managers feel like jumping up and clicking their heels when they head up their walk in the evening? Or do they feel like the briefcase weighs 50 pounds and the day was exhausting?
Do they wake up in the night trying to figure out how they can help that guy sell?
The most common cause of this type of pain and the poor performance that goes with it is a poor hire or ineffective core coaching, or a combination of both.
The cost of turnover is about 1.5 times salary ($90,000.00 for a $60,000.00 rep) not to mention lost opportunity so hiring right and coaching right are critical to success or worse still survival, in an increasingly competitive market.
One of the most effective Sales VPs I know said the most important characteristic for a sales manager is their ability to hire great salespeople. If you start with the right raw material you can do wonders.
Now coach them with a core program that supports everything they will learn and implement with your company. From the interview process through on-boarding and day to day interaction, the process and the coaching are systematic.
How to Hire Top Performing Sales Reps
So how do you really know what you are getting when you hire a new candidate who then becomes a part of your company?
Know what you are looking for. Clients have found over the years that the time they spend deciding what that is pays back big dividends. Once you know, “Accept nothing less”.
The Hiring Manager seeks this lofty goal and must also deal with the demands of finding that right person, and doing it now!
That’s where the system comes in. Having a proven system saves enormous amounts of personnel time and time to hire. The system also provides data that can be used to validate the process and predict outcomes. You learn what works well in terms of performance and retention.
Let the system do more of the sorting before getting face to face with a candidate, because that’s where the time really begins to burn up, there is a lot of information available.
Your system for hiring great sales people:
Behaviour + Gut + Science = A Great Hire
The resume provides basic background and qualifications, plus a record of skills, and gives a place to start.
Weight the Behavioural Interview, your Gut feel and the Science equally when making the hiring decision. This avoids the ‘chemistry trap’ and general biases.
The psychometric profile (Science) provides key behavioural information and predicts success with your company.
The profile used for selection is most effective when it is ‘normative’ (based on stats from your company population) and can be validated and adapted to your needs.
Good data saves you time because you are now interviewing for confirmation of Effort and Fit to the company. Time saved means good selection, means good performance which means good retention. You want committed top performing sales people that stick with you for a long. It’s quality of life and good profit all around.
Startling Hiring Statistics that Double Your Performance
What difference does your hiring process make in employee performance? Here’s my take on it based on government stats analysis, corporate info, case studies and business experience. Remember we are talking performance, not just retention.
Resume plus interview only 50 % chance of success
Attitudinal Profiling + 15 – 25%
Validated Psychometric Profiling + 10 – 3
Simulation +10 – 20%
Talent Management System Compliance + 10 – 20%
According to these numbers we can approach the perfect hire – double the basic resume + interview approach.
What’s your experience been?
Does psychometric testing help in hiring a new salesperson?
Validated psychometric testing improves your chances of hiring a successful salesperson by 10 – 30 %. Those are big numbers – takes your hiring from 2-3 successful hires out of 5 hires to 3-4 out of 5 – and this reflects only part of the picture.
When you use predictive, validated profiling (measured against performance) as a key part of your hiring process, you increase your chances of hiring a natural salesman. You benchmarked with your salespeople.
Take it a step further. If 20% of your salespeople produce over half the sales, imagine the impact of having 40% who operate at this level!
The Core Coaching System
The Core coaching system helps the rep build habits that serve your company wants better. You can tell when it is the right system when you can answer this question:
”Does the core coaching system support my rep in during training, selling and every day account management?
When you can answer “Yes!” you have the right system.
Coaching starts at the beginning:
It never stops. A good core coaching system holds it all together. Call it company culture, attitude to new learning and towards customers.
Questions to ask yourself about your core coaching system.
Does your core coaching system:
Encourage your reps to take initiative- self motivate?
Reinforce making and keeping commitments?
Emphasize they are accountable for their actions and responsible for the results?
Provide tools for reps to manage by effort?
In a company where both managers and reps recognize and buy into core traits like these, there is terrific leverage in performance. Individuals and managers self manage to a common set of worthy core beliefs and everybody understands the game.
If I say I’m going to do it, I mean I’ll do it.
Being the best means building the environment that is right for your company
Take a look at any top performers or top company and the clues to their success are evident.
They make and keep commitments, are self driven, and focus on the value they bring to those they serve and those they work with. Managers coach through meaningful conversations and walk their talk. An effective core coaching system provides the structure and tools to get this all important job done.
Here are some core principles best practice organizations use as a foundation for everyday action and decisions, large and small:
• Making and keeping commitments
• Understanding and accepting accountability
• Understanding and accepting responsibility
• Knowing the difference between accountability and responsibility
• Self Motivation through committed action
• Managing by Effort
Top performers thrive on an environment where the core coaching system has a focus of personal effectiveness integrated with the power of the team. Sustained performance is a habit and not based on pep talks or coaxing.
The opportunity is there for everybody to be treated equally since these basic principles are understood and apply to all. This environment is continually supported by the core coaching program and creates an expectation that each individual will help themselves however if help is needed it is available.
As an added critical benefit, self confidence soars. True Self Confidence is based on knowing what you need to know plus knowing you can trust your colleagues and company to support you and believe in you.
Coaching evolves from ‘supervision’ to encouraging self motivation through meaningful conversations. These conversations are based on ‘asking’ and partnering rather than telling.
The result is a self management culture where a core set of values are applied to all situations and that’s where the power comes from. The expectation to achieve and succeed is a day to day reality.
So what does it mean in practice, in Return On Investment? The payback is double digit at a minimum and 5 year 200% overall increase in sales is not unusual. And a good core coaching system keeps top performers in your company – as a bonus stars are drawn to this type of dynamic, exciting environment!
Steps to Get There
Conceptually the support at Senior, Middle and Front Line management covers the operational spectrum right to the grass roots support level.
The following developments could serve to keep the momentum going:
1. Determine what the environment will look like
2. Establish Champions in each of the Management Sectors and also at the front line level – champions would be stronger if recognized formally and trained/certified
3. The Learning & Effectiveness team Certification as appropriate and ongoing co-ordination of overall efforts in support of the programs.
4. Implementation of Lunch and Learn and Monthly ”Cues” types of initiatives to keep the information fresh and the depth of learning ongoing and stronger.
5. Expansion of the concepts and actions related to core coaching system ‘throughout the organization’. The concepts become part of company day to day life.
6. Ongoing Support of these initiatives from internal specialists or learning vendors through:
• Certification Programs
• Specific Programs that serve new company initiatives
• Support programs for all levels of employee such as Administration and Materials Management
• Consultative solutions approach to keep initiatives current, flexible and relevant
Hire the right people for the position. Coach them with a core coaching system that forms a foundation for a career from the moment the candidate first meets your company. Olympic trainers know they need to start with the right potential if they are going to coach them to the podium.
You have to have both to make it to the podium in the Olympics or in business if all that blood sweat and tears is going to be worth it.
If this approach resonates with your goals, please get in touch.
Cliff Sutton is with the Self Management Group. 416-930-6165, firstname.lastname@example.org.