You know to look for a resilient salesperson. Someone who hears an endless stream of “nos” and keeps calling.
But what about the other traits that indicate your candidate will succeed at your organization?
We’ve laid out 7 traits talent sourcing experts look for in top sales professionals. Use the list to check if you have a skills gap on your sales team and need to fill gaps through coaching or hiring.
7 TRAITS TALENT SOURCING USE TO SOURCE AND SCREEN CANDIDATES
1. Natural, believable storyteller
Communication and storytelling are not synonymous. Plenty of effective communicators cannot artfully articulate a story.
Believability is critical
Over-the-top and exaggerated stories will not bring in new business. Check if current and potential salespeople can tell realistic stories that enliven your services and solutions.
Ask to hear the last story they told a prospect. Gather background information about who the prospect was and why the salesperson chose that story.
2. Thinks about more than money
We all want more money, but when sales reps are monetarily motivated it can damage relationships. Their prospect’s needs and success are deprioritized because the rep is fixated on what the deal means for their finances.
Figure out what drives your sales rep and candidates
Is it money or do they find personal growth factors rewarding?
3. Innovates to stay ahead
Measuring innovation is tricky. Boundless creativity might help reps present products and services in fresh ways. Or their imaginative approach could result in over-the-top pitches.
What you need to do is avoid reps who have a fixed mindset.
Evaluate for growth mindsets
People with growth mindsets work to overcome obstacles, like unresponsive prospects. They vary their outreach tactics, learn from the success of others and continually try to learn and improve.
4. Negotiation skills
Prospects’ requests for discounts aren’t always fair. Other counteroffers are worth considering. Does your rep negotiate to create win-win scenarios for everyone involved, or do they throw in the towel?
Role play in one-on-one meetings and candidate interviews
Take on the persona of a prospect adamantly pushing for a discount and see how the rep responds.
5. Eager and effective networker
Hundreds of LinkedIn connections do not signal you have an effective networker. A raw number – even into the hundreds or thousands – does not convey the strength or relevance of the person’s community ties.
1. Review their referral rates
Get the data and see how often they generate sales from referrals.
2. Have a conversation
Open a discussion about how they approach networking events. Figure out:
- Who they approach
- How they start and maintain conversations
- Their post-event follow-up process
3. Quietly observe
Attend an event with your rep or ask a trusted colleague to go on your behalf. From the sidelines, observe how your rep interacts with others and how they build rapport.
6. Truly collaborates with marketing
Plenty of sales and marketing professionals talk about how the departments need to support each other for the company to thrive. Not everyone follows through.
Have honest discussions with your head of marketing to determine how frequently sales and marketing collaborate.
Get specific. Have sales candidates explain their process for sharing information with marketing and how they use materials marketing develops.
7. Forms connections with coworkers
Great salespeople break out of siloed activities to ask what coworkers are working on and listen. This strengthens their ties within your company and expands their perspective.
In calls with prospects and clients, they aren’t limited to talking about products. They genuinely speak about the company, team values and what sets you apart from competitors.
Test their knowledge
Start an informal conversation about the organization with your salespeople. See how knowledgeably they can speak to your differentiators, how other departments operate and your overall mission.
Before interviewing a salesperson, look up their current company and note the values. Ask the candidate to explain how their current company’s mission guides their work. Or ask for their perspective on the company’s differentiators and how they weave these unique selling points into conversations with prospects.
WHY ORGANIZATIONS STRUGGLE TO HIRE TOP SALES TALENT
You expect your new hire to complement your current sales team and fill skills gaps. Here are a few reasons that ideal scenario will not play.
1. Prioritizing a narrow set of traits
Sales assessments consistently point out your current team does not tenaciously follow up with leads. To rectify the issue, you prioritize finding a sales professional who endlessly cold calls, undeterred by rejection.
Every day they call and hear, “No, no, no.” You successfully hired someone who carries on despite rejection. However, they do not possess other key traits – like storytelling and negotiation skills – that could help them reach prospects and close the deal.
2. Forgetting to consider company fit
A candidate with a stellar track record applies for your position. They dazzle you in the interview and their references offer glowing reviews. You hire them.
One month in, you start to question your decision. Their previous work environment was more aggressive. Instead of replicating success, their approach starts to alienate coworkers and clients.
3. Only screening active candidates
You post a job and screen candidates. The interviewees are decent, nothing spectacular. But you cannot let your search drag on, your hiring need is urgent. The salesperson you hire ends up as an average performer.
Meanwhile, a competitor works with a talent acquisition company to source and screen passive candidates. They hire a sharp salesperson who has an immediate, positive impact on the organization.
DISCOVER PROACTIVATE’S TALENT SOURCING AND SCREENING SOLUTIONS
Your organization deserves access to the best talent, even if the salesperson is not actively seeking a new job.
When you partner with us, you access an elite pool of passive candidates for your position. Call us today and transform the way you source, screen, and hire top sales talent.