If you are a top sales organization, you are always in a heated competition for top sales talent. The strength of your hiring ability is directly tied to your ability to meet your revenue goals.

Just as it takes sound growth strategies to differentiate your solutions, you need to optimize your recruitment and selection process to edge out the competition in attracting talented reps.

Rely on Research

Analytics provide your organization the ability to hire based on data, rather than gut feel. By gathering and analyzing hiring and employment data, you can gain clear line of sight into the skills and behaviors of your most successful team members and those of people most likely to succeed in the role.  A data-driven talent approach to hiring top candidates can help you put a cadence and a repeatable process behind your hiring practices to ensure you are pulling in the best of the best.

Define Relevant Experience

Our recent Harvard Business Review article reviewed that about half of sales screenings are based on previous “experience.” However, experience is a broad and subjective term that needs more clear definition.

You need to understand the types of experiences that make reps successful in your organization. Often, it is experience with the types of sales interactions and selling processes that makes for a good fit. Experience with your technology or products isn’t always necessary, but in certain industries it is. To ensure you attract and analyze the right prospects, make it clear what types of background experiences you expect candidates to possess.

Don’t Make Assumptions

Just like your management approach and sales process don’t remain stagnant, you can’t assume that candidates that fit your model today will fit the same in five or ten years. You need to constantly review and analyze the traits and behaviors of successful reps.

Over time, the solutions you offer and your selling process evolve. You may need reps with different characteristics to fit into your current system.

Test the Waters in Training

In high-end industries, it might make sense to use initial training periods as a virtual employment trial. While constantly hiring and losing team members is expensive, weeding out people who just don’t fit early is a benefit. Not all turnover is a bad thing. Be sure you have a process that plans for turnover, and minimizes its effects on the sales organization.