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3 Keys to Better Sales Talent Management

Feb 21st, 2019

Finding and keeping the right sales talent might not be a new challenge for B2B sales leaders, but it is one of the toughest to tackle. In fact, 84% of sales leaders don’t think they have the teams they need to succeed, according to CSO Insights.

We can blame some of this on a changing work force: baby boomers are retiring at a fast pace, while millennials are quickly establishing themselves in the corporate world. Many companies, however, may not be giving their sales talent strategies enough thought. Is your hiring process well-suited for today’s sales candidates? What’s your strategy for keeping the sales talent you already have?

The time is now for sales leaders to make sales talent management a top priority. Here are 3 ways every company can do a better job of attracting and retaining high-performing sellers.

[Learn More: How CSOs Can Win the War for Sales Talent in 2019]

3 Ways Your Sales Talent Management Can Improve

1. Treat Hiring Like Onboarding

Today’s sales job-seekers can afford to be choosy, and millennials especially have high expectations of potential employers. They want an onboarding process that sets them up for success, and they want to learn new skills that promote career development.

The question is, how is your sales organization going to meet the expectations of today’s candidates – and compete against all the other companies with open sales positions?

With talent in short supply, companies need to view the hiring process like new hire onboarding, where they assess candidates’ readiness for the open position based on three different criteria:

  • Competencies (EX: discovery, prospecting, communication skills)
  • Behaviors (EX: territory development, relationship building)
  • Traits (EX: curiosity, persistence)

You’ll notice that “experience” is not on the list. A candidate might have experience, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they have the competencies, behaviors and traits someone needs to succeed in the role. Instead of focusing too heavily on experience, consider whether a candidate could develop key skills through onboarding, coaching and practice once they’re on board.

2. Clearly Define Your Roles

Knowing how to evaluate a candidate is important, but sales leaders also need to have a crystal-clear sense of “what good looks like” for each sales role in their organization.

To achieve the best hiring results, use formal role definitions when screening and interviewing your sales candidates. The role definitions should include which attributes they need to execute your sales model, connect with your buyers and perform at a high level.

“When roles are not clear, when jobs are comingled, you have mediocrity, you don’t have excellence,” says global sales executive, Paula Shannon.

3. Prioritize and Assess Sales Readiness

Making the perfect hire is a wonderful feeling. But what happens to that bright seller from Day 1 forward?

The reality is that many organizations provide too little support to new hires once they’re in the door. Case in point: 62% of companies consider themselves ineffective at onboarding new sales hires, according to The Sales Management Association. Imagine what the hires themselves must think!

By making sales readiness part of the entire “talent lifecycle” – from hiring and onboarding to continuous training and coaching – companies can ensure their salespeople have the knowledge and skills required to continually excel in their roles. And if your sellers are given the tools to succeed, along with a career path to follow, they are much more likely to keep working for you.

How can investing in sales readiness lead to more effective sales talent management?

Download our special report, “How CSOs Can Win the War for Sales Talent in 2019,” for more insights into the state of sales talent today.