This is fifth of several blogs delving into the origin and meaning of my sales leadership “Words of Wisdom” catchphrases. You can access the complete list here stm360.com/blog/words-of-wisdom-for-sales-leaders
A frequent topic in my conversations with CEO’s and sales leaders is talent acquisition. Specifically, companies are struggling to fill sales positions: BDRs, AEs, Account Managers, and sales managers.
We are operating in an environment that demands rapid revenue acceleration. Meeting these growth expectations requires ever increasing sales capacity (quota carriers).
On countless occasions, I’ve observed the following scenario: Targets keep increasing as does the need for additional quota carriers. The flow of candidates is not sufficient and the sales leader realizes he/she is running out of time. Rationalizing that “a body” is better than “nobody”, the sales leader starts settling for candidates not up to standard.
Why is hiring just to fill a seat a big mistake?
First off, settling for B players will have a negative impact on a high performing culture. “A” players desire to be on the A team and will leave as soon as they see a slide to mediocrity.
Also every hire requires an investment of time for the hiring manager and others involved in on-boarding process. Why make an investment that will have minimal or negative returns?
Finally, it’s important to understand that any leaders success is directly correlated to the people they hire. Surrounding yourself with B players will result in a less than stellar career.
I instituted a simple but effective checkpoint at Acquia to help us determine if we were settling. At the conclusion of the interview/ hiring process, each member of the hiring team was posed with the following question: “Would you bet your career on this person?”. The answer required a yes or no – no maybes. Viewing the candidate in such stark terms forced us to keep our standards high. Did B players slip through the cracks? Sure – but not many.
The most successful sales leaders I know are maniacal about hiring. They NEVER settle for B players. Get into the mindset that you are betting your career on every hire – because you are.
Final Note: Next week’s blog will detail how a sales leader can avoid being stuck with a sub-par hiring pipeline.