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Putting the best people in the right seats is the biggest problem identified by most business owners, especially as it applies to critical sales roles. Here are the 5 most common reasons most companies struggle with hiring quality salespeople.

#1 Companies outsource their recruiting and the responsibility.

Recruiting is something that a company Hiring Quality Salespeoplehas to own. They can no longer outsource the work and the responsibility. That makes it too easy for people internally to throw up their hands and transfer failures associated within the hiring process to the outsourced firm. If companies are going to improve the quality of their hires, they have to own the process.

#2 There is a lack of a consistent process for constantly searching.

Most, if not all, companies make the mistake of looking for candidates only when they have an opening. This leads to many problems:

  • Being held hostage by salespeople with “large books”. Companies feel they cannot do anything about them for fear of losing the “books” since there aren’t any replacements.
  • Feeling desperate to fill a chair with a warm bottom when there is a vacancy. A body,
    anybody, is better than no one sitting in the chair (branch).
  • Not replacing underperformers because there isn’t a pipeline of candidates to choose from. The underperformers stay around too long; others know it and realize that they don’t have to perform to keep their job, so overall team production continues to decline.

#3 Companies are not getting quality candidates entering the process.

The traditional model of recruiting today is one where the placement firm tries to convince their client why a candidate should be hired. Companies should, on the other hand, work extremely hard to disqualify candidates because there are specific skills that apply for that sales job and many/most candidates do not have those skills. Bottom line, the company has to assess at least two things: 1) Do they have enough of the right strengths to be successful? 2) Will they sell versus can they sell?

#4 There is poor communication about the specific role and expectations of this new hire.

Too often, everyone is so excited about putting the deal together (getting the seat filled) that no one takes the time to get into the details of the day-to-day requirements of the job. This leads to early misunderstandings about the role and eventually, failure on the part of the new hire to meet the expectations of the company. Failure to “negotiate on the 1st tee” leads to misunderstanding and failure to execute on the sales goals.

#5 The on-boarding process is inadequate.

Most companies are ill-equipped to effectively on-board new sales people. They spend time introducing them to the “culture” of the operation, the mechanics of the job and how to get things done. They introduce them to HR, their support team, marketing and their partners. And, yes, there is discussion about goals, sales activities and how to enter data into CRM. And then… the new hires are on their own.

Companies think that they have hired their next sales superstar and then, 12 months later, they cannot figure out what went wrong. They look at the numbers and discover that the new hires are producing “just like everyone else in the middle of the pack.” The process most companies have in place currently to recruit and hire salespeople perpetuates this problem. This is what makes the Hire Better Salespeople process so compelling. Our program works to eliminate “middle of the pack” performers by screening for sales talent upfront. From the application, to the assessment, to the interview, the main objective is to identify those that can and will sell. Partnering closely with our clients ensures that responsibility cannot be transferred, consistent candidate pipeline work occurs and new hires are set up for success upon starting.

Hire Better Salespeople was developed to eliminate the frustration and guess work when sourcing and hiring quality sales talent. Stop hiring mediocre performers today and start seeing success with Hire Better Salespeople and NewHire.


Alex Cole

Alex Cole is the Managing Director & Recruitment Specialist for Anthony Cole Training Group. She attended the University of Dayton and holds a double major in Marketing and Sales, with minors in Theater and Psychology. She is specifically focused on Anthony Cole’s latest venture Hire Better Salespeople. She helps companies recruit, assess and develop the right salesperson for their team.

This article is a guest post by Melonie Boone at Boone Management Group. Melonie has a passion for business and education. She currently holds a Bachelor of Business Administration in Human Resources Management from Loyola University of Chicago, a Master of Business Administration in Management from Florida Metropolitan University as well as a Master of Jurisprudence in Business Law and Corporate Governance from Loyola University Law School.  Her comprehensive experience in optimizing strategic planning initiatives to achieve organizational goals allows her to work as a trusted adviser to entrepreneurs, business owners and senior management teams. Melonie has the ability to create, implement and execute strategic plans for every area of our clients business.


So you have the perfect candidate and you want to check them out online. Most of us almost instinctively conduct a Google search or check out their Tweets, Facebook or other social media outlets trying to get the inside scoop on a candidate. What we don’t realize is the risks associated with taking adverse action based on what we find. Social media sites can give you protected information like age, ethnicity and race. It can also include political affiliation, religious beliefs, disability and other personal information that if used in a hiring decision can be seen a discriminatory.

Before you make a decision to deny a person’s employment based on something you find on the web, please refer these following steps and read the article at the links below.

Tips to minimize your risk:

Ask some basic questions:

1. Why do you want to use social media?
2. What is the utility of doing the search?
3. What information are you hoping to find?
4. Is candidate use of social media a plus or a minus?
5. Is it critical to the position? (For some jobs, you may need someone thoroughly familiar with online sites and procedures; for others, there is no need.)

When Should You Search?

Do your search after the interview but before the offer, or make the offer contingent on passing the check? Before the search, get prior consent from the applicant.

Who Should Search?

“For sure,” says Meyer, a partner with Dilworth Paxson LLP in Philadelphia, “don’t let the person making the hiring decision do the online check.” Consider using:
• A third party
• A member of the HR department
• Another non-decision-maker

How Should You Search?

“The ad hoc approach is stupid,” says Meyer. Be organized about your search:

  • Have a policy.
  • Train people on your policy. (“Hiring managers, resist the temptation to go to Google.”)
  • Develop a checklist. Write out a list of what you want to know, says Meyer.

For example:

• Expressions of hate
• Drug use
• Sexual content
• Disparaging comments about work
• Mean things about customers
• Volume of online activity (updating status every 10 minutes, tweeting every 15)
• Good judgment
• Good writing

The checkers go down the checklist and only the checklist. They don’t report on protected characteristics.

Document your procedure so that you can show consistency in your checking activities.

It only takes a second to make a costly mistake. If you choose to use social media as a source for screening a candidate remember Meyer’s tips, use sound judgment and measure the entire interview process before making an adverse decision based off of what you find on the web.

The term “Core Values” has been so overused that it has almost become meaningless.  But the reality is that a handful of timeless, fundamental principles of behavior tell everyone in your company what it means to be part of the organization.  These principles are the foundation of your company’s culture – the shared understanding of who we are as a group of human beings, and what’s most important to us.

core values

Take a look at the following set of Core Values, which come from a wildly successful San Francisco-based maker of ‘green’ cleaning products called Method.

  • Keep Method weird.
  • What would MacGyver do?
  • Innovate, don’t imitate.
  • Collaborate like crazy.
  • Care.

If you’re like me, as soon as you read them, you knew immediately whether you would fit in this company or not.  And if you went to work there, you would have clear guideposts by which to steer every day.

Great Core Values (which Method’s certainly are) help everyone know what binds them together as people.  They usually tell us nothing about the industry the company is in.   They set the most important standards for how people are expected to operate in the company.  If you get your Core Values right, they will attract the right people to the company and repel people who aren’t a good fit.  Additionally, they will help your people make the right decision when things are unclear.

Who wouldn’t want that?  The question is how to make it happen.  To make your culture come alive, follow these four simple (but not easy!) steps:

1) Figure out what your real core values are — the principles of behavior that will get you fired if you violate them.  They already exist in your business – you just need to uncover them.

2) Get rid of the motherhood, the apple, pie and the aspiration.  Values like honesty and integrity are table stakes.  You don’t need to articulate them because every company shares them.  Likewise, claiming values that you wish your company had, but that it doesn’t have today, will tell your people that you are not sincere.  People can smell the lack of authenticity a mile away.  It disengages and even alienates them.  Make sure your values are both differentiating and real.

3) Communicate your Core Values clearly, consistently, and often.  Use every opportunity to ensure that everyone knows what they are and understands what they mean.  The best way to do this is by telling stories about situations in which someone did a great job living a particular value.

4) Make your Core Values the first thing that you consider in every people decision you make – hiring, firing, promoting, rewarding, and recognition.

The benefits of “Getting your culture right” are enormous.  Your people will be more engaged and will naturally row in the same direction.  In turn, this means that the amount of managing you do will decrease.  Your people will trust each other more, which will lead to faster, better decisions.  Those decisions will be focused on what’s best for the company, not on politics and hidden agendas.

These four steps are simple.  That doesn’t make them easy.  But if you follow them, I promise that your culture will become clearer and stronger, and soon will be a powerful asset that propels your company toward the achievement of your dreams.

Dan WallaceDan Wallace is a founding partner of Tailwind Discovery Group, LLC.  A graduate of the Harvard Business School, Dan has served as a strategy consultant, investment banker, and as a counselor and adviser to many business owners.  He also has successfully run three businesses.  He helps business owners and leadership teams put in place tools and processes that create a solid foundation for effective leadership, management and success.

“In the interview he seemed like Brad Pitt, but once I hired him he was more like Danny De Vito.”

Business owners, I love you – but you don’t know how to hire.

You interview a candidate for a couple of hours or maybe even take him out for a meal. And if you are really thorough, you call a few of his references. While he’s got a few quirks, you hire him and hope to work alongside him for years to come.

personality profiles

Now come on! Do you buy a house that quickly? Or a car? When you think about it, the hiring practices of business owners are kind of crazy!

The challenge is that you can’t “test drive” your job candidates. You need to fill a job, and they need to get a job. The window is (hopefully) short for both of you. So how do you “get to know” a candidate really well in a short period of time? How can you more quickly learn who this person is and how they will fit with your team?

The only way I have found to do this is to conduct a personality profile assessment. This assessment, usually taken online, asks questions about a candidate’s temperament and personality and then delivers a report outlining the candidate’s profile. When you compare the candidate’s profile with the profile of your other team members, you can see whether the person is a fit or not.

I rarely see a profile that’s “bad” or “wrong for the position.” Instead I’m asking, “What are the risks and opportunities in hiring this person?” Sometimes a team needs a diversity of personalities to get the work done, but knowing how different people think can head off problems. For example:

  • When hiring for a role on a very fast-paced team with a lot of team members who like to give verbal direction, I saw a qualified candidate who was process-oriented and loved detail. This candidate would be a terrific fit, if the team could find a way to accommodate the candidate’s need to process new information and desire to get things in writing. This profile prompted a discussion that eliminated a lot of misunderstanding and confusion.
  • A very visionary, strong-willed client is hiring an assistant whose personality profile reveals that he is very concrete and pragmatic. How will the assistant get the detailed direction he needs? Will the manager be willing to slow down in order to answer all of his questions? If not it’s a disaster — if so he can really fill in a weak spot that the manager has.
  • An introverted finance person joins a team of highly extroverted salespeople as a pricing analyst. How will the team accommodate his need for greater analysis time? How will the introvert accommodate the team’s strong desire to brainstorm and problem-solve verbally?

These are real issues that come up all the time during the hiring process. Using a reliable, accurate, and well researched tool can help to head these issues off at the hiring stage and pave the way for a more successful hire.

What kind of tools do you use to make your hiring more successful?

Brad FarrisBrad Farris is a small business advisor with Anchor Advisors, Ltd. in Chicago, IL. Since 2001 Anchor Advisors has been helping creative professional firms to grow, by helping them clarify their purpose, get the most from their people, keep their eye on key performance measures, and implement consistent processes. Brad is also the author of 3 e-books and managing editor of EnMast, a business owner community. Connect with him on Google+ and Twitter.

Young workgroupAs baby-boomers continue to retire, it is more and more obvious that we need to start building a replacement workforce. When previous experience doesn’t exist, think about hiring for behaviors and teaching skills.

Some of the areas you might explore include the candidate’s school record. Many high schools will share information about the student’s attendance in class and grades. Ask candidates for names of teachers who can verify their participation and ability to learn new things.

Another area to explore is participation in extra-curricular activities such as scouts, sports and volunteering. If the candidate has shown an interest in getting involved and committing to participation, this can be a good indication of the ability to work well with others and work towards a common goal.

If the candidate has been working in a different industry, try to verify his/her work history with previous employers. Was the candidate dependable, did he or she follow policies and rules? Was the candidate helpful to others? Is the candidate a job hopper? Did the candidate grow within the position or was the candidate promoted to other departments? Did the candidate express an interest to learn new things? Was the candidate considered an asset in the department? Did the candidate work all assigned overtime? Why did the candidate leave? What was the candidate’s greatest strength and where did he/she need improvement?

These questions can be easily verified by asking the candidate what the previous employer will say. Since many employers will be happy to verify what you already know, ask the candidate to write down answers to a variety of questions and then send the questions off to the previous employer for verification.

Using techniques to help you understand previous behaviors will lead to better hiring decisions in the long-run. Most skills need to be learned and training someone with a solid work ethic will pay off in the long run.


Karla Dobbeck

Karla Dobbeck is a certified professional in Human Resource Management with over 20 years of experience in many aspects of human resource management; including placements, employment law compliance, policy and system design and development, and supervisory and employee training. Her clients include professional & business organizations, privately held companies and associations. To learn more, visit

casual employee at deskThe future of work is changing. Temporary, part time and contract workers are taking the place of salaried workers in a marketplace inundated with the unemployed and newly graduated. However, this change to the structure of the workplace doesn’t necessarily have to be negative.

In the analysis of this change, Thomas W. Malone, Director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, explains:

“I think we are in the early stages of an increase in human freedom in business that may, in the long run, be as important a change for business as the change to democracy was for governments… [That] means we can have the economic benefits of large-scale enterprises, such as efficiency and scale, and at the same time have the human benefits of small scale, such as motivation, creativity and flexibility.”

Temporary workers and telecommuters can be smart hires for your business. Here’s why:

A changing workforce

Using temporary or contract workers can benefit businesses that are affected by the current slow-growth economy. They may not have enough resources to hire a full-time employee, but still need someone to handle certain tasks. These tasks can be fulfilled by workers who telecommute, work online, or come in to the office.

  • 45% of the US workforce currently holds a job that could easily transition to telecommuting. Telecommuting saves employees time, gas, and effort and can save employers the cost of office furniture and work space.
  • Job seekers are aware of the benefits of telecommuniting and are looking for the option to when job searching. If your job offers telecommuting, be clear about the nature of it in the job ad.

Changing labor needs

Hiring temporary workers can also help your business with a variety of labor needs.

  • They can cover regular employee absences due to illness, leave, or sudden departure. They can also fill unexpected or temporary demands of your business that require you to find extra help for a short time.
  • Temporary workers can be a great cost-effective hiring solution as your business is also not responsible for paying additional employee benefits – sick days, jury duty, vacation time, unemployment insurance and workers comp – that raise the actual cost of W-2 employees. Though their hourly rate may be higher, it can save you a lot of cash in certain circumstances.

According to Joe Broschak, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior at The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, temporary workers can display better job performance and productivity that meets or surpasses their full-time counterparts; and may continue displaying these qualities when they transition to full-time work.

Consider hiring telecommuters, part-timers, or temporary workers to complete special projects or fulfill an unexpected need within your small business.

Megan Webb-Morgan is a web content writer for Resource Nation. She writes about small business, focusing on topics such as call center software and small business loans. Find us on Facebook, too!