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Your Worst Nightmare – Hiring a New Salesperson

September 22, 2011

One of the biggest nightmares for small business owners is hiring Salespeople.  From our market research and some internet sources we uncovered the following statistics.

  • < 10% of salespeople are capable of providing ROI (
  • The average sales turnover is approximately 53%
  • 24% will not prospect—AT ALL
  • From behavior assessments 8% can be considered hunters, 1% have full hunter skill set
  • From behavior and value assessments 45% will not close
  • From behavior and value assessments, the typical sales applicant has less than 23% of closing attributes

These are scary statistics.  Is there anything you can do about it? How can you prevent this from happening to you?

I was recently speaking with my good friend and colleague Mary Henry of HR on Demand . Mary specializes in saving time, trouble, and money for business owners by providing a cost-effective one stop source to hire sales and business development people.

One of the key elements missing from us Sales gurus is a perspective from HR.  Just as an example, it is not customary for Sales Management to consider the culture of a company, or how the sales person will interact and communicate internally with the rest of the team.  For that reason, Mary and I have developed a system to help you make better sales hires utilizing our different perspectives and skill sets. We are offering a free 1 hour consult.  This is a non-decision making fact finding meeting.

In preparation for the meeting, please consider the following ten questions:

  1. What is the Company Culture and the critical values for a potential hire?
  2. When hiring a sales person, which of these activities do you consider most important in getting new business?
    • Cold Calling
    • Networking
    • Targeting and qualifying
    • Opening new accounts
    • Maintaining old accounts and capturing the low hanging fruit.
  3. How much training do you have for a new sales person? What is your new hire training vs. developmental training?
  4. Have you used Sales and Behavioral Assessments previously when hiring a sales person?
  5. How important is it for a salesperson to understand the technical side of the sale versus the business side of the sale?
  6. What does the internal structure to support extra? Sales staff?
  7. Describe who manages the sales team, what your companies Sales Management style is, and how you help your sales people succeed.
  8. How do you presently compensate sales people?
  9. What is your orientation and on boarding process for new sales staff?
  10. How will you measure success?

If you are interested in discussing this further, please either contact Mary or me.  Mary’s information is as follows:

Mary Henry HR on Demand LLC,, 623-692-9213

2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 22, 2011 11:34 am


    You most certainly have the questions down. Your statistics quoted are, of course, dismal and we have for years struggled for solutions. In particular it was good seeing a question on corporate culture. I have seen entire companies stultified by this phenomena, particularly in the M&A world, where the accountant takes precedence over the experts in human resources. In fact, HR is seldom even consulted?

    Thanks for a nice article.

    • September 22, 2011 7:45 pm

      Business’s can not continue to cut expenses to improve results. It has to be two fold, drive top lines sales through different channels AND contain costs. I spent years doing M&A, and when the mergers were most successful, employees were kept in place when possible. The companies that are flourishing have very unique cultures. See Zappos.
      Thank you for the thoughtful input.

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