One of the driving forces of a successful sales organization is the ability to hire, retain and develop top sales talent.

If you want to hit your revenue goals every quarter, you need a process that prevents you from wasting money on miss hires and losing talent to the competition.

Chally research shows the cost of a bad hire can be as much as 3x the base salary of the position. Research also shows that the reasons people fail in a position are different than the criteria used to select them. Managers who identify these failure points and use them to guide future hires can reduce hiring mistakes by almost 25 percent.

So, why do new hires fail, and what action steps can you take to prevent costly mistakes?

1. Poor Hiring

The obvious reason why new hires fail is that the wrong people were hired in the first place. Make sure to screen not only for skills and experience, but also for behaviors, attitudes and habits. Predictive assessments can help you measure competencies against those that are needed for a specific position.

Articulating success on the job rather than describing broad traits like “extroversion,” will help you identify the specific skills and behaviors your organization should be looking for in new hires. It may be interesting to know a candidate’s energy level, for example, but it is critical to know that the sales candidate can successfully prospect, resolve objections, and close.

A predictive approach can help you identify core skill requirements for particular positions. The skill sets required for a Strategic Account Manager, for instance, are different from those required for someone in Inbound Telesales, illustrating that not all salespeople can fill all sales roles. This approach will pay off not only for sales, but also for management and other leadership positions.

2. Ineffective Onboarding

We are often so eager to get new hires up to speed that we tend to overload them with information during their first couple of weeks. Think of onboarding as an ongoing process over 6-12 months. Work with new hires to create their own action plans and encourage them to reassess often. Give feedback and help new employees strategize. For their first 12 months (yes, that long), build role plays of selling situations and post-mortems into your coaching.

3. Being Fooled by the New-Hire Facade

New hires want to look competent and make a good impression. Sometimes this means they avoid asking the “stupid” questions, or making requests for additional onboarding support. They put up a cheery facade while desperately trying to figure things out on their own. Here’s how you break through to find out how they’re really doing:

  • Set the expectation that they own their own onboarding, providing weekly status updates on progress and asking for what they need
  • Keep probing for concerns, suggestions, perceptions, and what else they need
  • Make continual improvement part of the norm

4. Lack of Feedback & Coaching

There are many ways to be a mediocre performance coach: avoiding, assuming, hinting, sugarcoating, crushing, etc… You have to adjust your style and approach to each person and situation. Sometimes you match up well with your new hires and sometimes you don’t. You are more likely to be successful in coaching sales talent into top performers with these 5 basic techniques:

  1. Set clear expectations
  2. Help them strategize
  3. Help them learn from their experiences
  4. Use a coaching model of Tell – Show – Observe – Provide Feedback
  5. Make sure your feedback is timely and actionable, so they can make an immediate change

5. Delegated Onboarding

Remember half of your new hires are likely to fail within 18 months. Replacing them is costly, not to mention the territory momentum lost. Effective recruiting and onboarding will make or break your sales team. It’s great to set up learning opportunities with other people, but as a sales leader you’ve got to own the onboarding plan, while assuring that your new hire takes ownership for successful progress. You drive the process. You identify how to get your new hire ramped faster. You make it happen.

How much does a bad hire cost your company?