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Elaine Tyler – CEO, Founder – Venatrix – How to hire great salespeople in London – Sales Confidence

Hi, so I met with James a couple of weeks ago, because not only does he let me sponsor his fantastic event, but we also get together to talk about how to be better businesspeople. And he said to me what do you think your biggest challenges of 2019 might be, and I said well probably me, because naturally as the leader of my business I’m probably one of its greatest assets, and one of its greatest liabilities all in one go. And he looked at me and he said well I think you should just go with it, go with what, he’s like just you know, I was like no no what, he goes the northern thing. So I apologise if everybody can’t understand me this evening and thanks for welcoming into London. But really we did talk about the biggest challenges of our business and probably one of the ones that certainly my business and probably all of your businesses face is how to hire great people. And I’m sure we all know that we should be hiring great people in our businesses, but just to kind of put it into context I read a study recently from McKinsey that actually talked about how high performers in your business are actually 400 times more productive than the average ones, and this increases with the complexity of your solution as well, so in a complex working environment that actually rockets up to 800 percent more effective. So when you overlay that with a complex sales team and a fast growth technology startup, we’re talking about 800 percent faster growth and I’m sure if you guys think about the very best salespeople that you’ve met across your careers to the less, talented you can conceptualise how important it is to really make sure that we do hire great people. If there’s so much riding on in it why therefore our interview process is quite often left to gut feel or improvised or perhaps not given the same attention that you would do when you’re trying to manage a project for success, like I don’t know creating your website, or trying to find your new office location. 

So I wanted to give you a couple of pointers in terms of the preparation, to make sure that you guys are getting access to all the candidates that you want and I think there are three major elements that you need to focus on. So the first is defining the role, the second is the process itself, and then finally the employee value proposition. So in terms of defining the role I think it’s really 2:28 important to understand that you can’t get to your destination unless you know exactly where it is that you’re trying to go, and furthermore candidates are alienated by undefined roles as they fear the the unknown, and at worst case scenario you end up with a challenge on day one when the person who joins thinks the role is something different than what you expect it to be, so really important to get all the key stakeholders in the room decide what the problem this hire is actually going to solve for you how someone’s going to be successful in that role and therefore the qualities skills experience attributes that they need to demonstrate in order to be appointed, and on a note that I think it’s important to focus less on ones that are to do with time and tenure in a role, so for example kind of a three to five years plus experience type criteria, and rather focus on somebody’s capability to do the role and perhaps test that through perhaps a role play scenario or asking them about how they would approach the role. Second up is the event itself, so this needs to feel like a totally natural but actually be a well choreographed process by which you invite the candidate into your business, again gather the stakeholders, and think about how you want that interviewee to feel after the interview that they’ve had with you about your business and about the opportunity, and then create an experience that supports that. 

And you need to consider all the elements from the smaller things like what time of day the interview takes place and how many people they’re going to see in your office, to the meeting room that you use, to the more important parts of who’s going to be involved in the process and why, and then what you’re actually going to say. And I don’t just mean the questions you intend to ask but also who is going to talk about top performer X, and who’s gonna highlight flagship client Y, because if you don’t do this then you risk a crossover which is obviously and taking up valuable time which you could actually be selling the opportunity to your candidate. And then you need to think about you know don’t forget to qualify them and what it is that they are actually looking for in the opportunity and make sure that you hire the parts or highlight the parts of your proposition that are going to appeal to them, before finally defining your decision making process so that their expectations are managed correctly. 

Then the final part is your employee value proposition so EVP’s I’m sure we all understand them it seems an absolute given that every business would have one, but I think you need to put some careful thought into making sure that your EVP is actually going to allow you to attract the candidate that you want. So first of all it needs to be the truth, so big promises that you can’t deliver on will only kind of hurt you in the long run, firstly from you know attrition in terms not be able to keep the people you want to but also in terms of struggling to attract talent the employee review sites like glass door etc can be a huge ally for you in the war on talent but also and enemy in the camp if your employees feel duped in any way. It also needs to be distinct and original and not generic despite perhaps many people having a hand in trying to create it it needs to have a personality and to allow your your prospective employee to be able to connect. And then the final thing that I guess I haven’t mentioned is of course you as the hiring manager, so great candidates are going to want to try and understand what type of leader you’re going to be, they’re going to want to understand what’s been your journey and how you got to where you got to and how you’re going to be able to help them learn and develop and grow. So James to answer your question as to how I’m gonna hire great people in 2019 I’m going to be as northern as I can be.

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