The right way to hire salespeople

In writing my new white paper, the Definitive Guide to Making Quota, I had the good fortune to interview five of top sales experts:

1. Jill Konrath of Selling to Big Companies
2. Kendra Lee of The KLA Group
3. Kevin Temple of Enterprise Selling
4. Jim Dickie of CSO Insights
5. Dave Stein of ES Research

One conclusion became clear from my research.  Companies are doing a terrible job of selecting salespeople — as quota achievement continues to plummet.  Let’s examine why.

More and more companies look for people with industry experience and vertical knowledge.  But as the book, Made to Stick, points out, this leads to the Curse of Knowledge — you know the subject so well, that you cannot imagine what it’s like not to have the knowledge.  As a result, salespeople do not talk in the customer’s language and the Company loses product differentiation.

In reality, great salespeople are great story-tellers. They are great listeners. They take a complex topic and relate it in simple, customer-centric language.

Do businesses look for great story-tellers, great listeners and the ability to make the complex simple? No, they don’t. So we have massive turnover and poor results.

It’s time folks.  Find the great story-tellers, the passionate ones, and the ability to make the complex simple.  You’ll be glad you did.

P.S. We’ve lined up the very top expert in Content Marketing for a webinar on March 11th at Find New Customers.  Go and sign up.

What do you think? What’s been your experience with hiring salespeople? We love comments and provide easy buttons for sharing.

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Jeff is the President of Find New Customers “Lead Generation Made Simple” who has turned the website into the best source of free information on lead generation anywhere.  His white paper, How to Find New Customers, has become the Bible of demand generation for many firms.