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6 Rules for Successful Inside Sales Hiring

by Trish Bertuzzi on Tue, Oct 21, 2008

Introduction:  This is the 2nd post in the series "How to Successfully Build an Inside Sales Team in Technology Companies". 

Part 1 - Your Inside Sales Strategy

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When building a new team from the ground up, or even expanding your current team, here are 6 best practices for hiring that will ensure success.

  1. Build out a Rep Profile that details the core competencies of the perfect candidate. Take the time to think through personality traits, required past experienceand desired skills. For a rule of thumb, create 4 bullets for each of the 3 categories. Documenting your thoughts will force you to think through the attributes of the ideal candidate and can later be converted into your job description. 

    Sample:
    Personality: Detail oriented, articulate, happy as an individual contributor, not deterred by change
    Past Experience: Carried individual quota of over $600K, sold software in the SMB space, minimum 2 year stay at all previous jobs, 3rd job out of college
    Skills: Understands SaaS, comfortable with intensive use of CRM, uses the phone as primary communication vehicle, great writing skills

  2. When building a new group, don't skimp on compensation. Find out industry standards and set your target incomes at that level or a tad higher. In this very competitive market, trying to save $20K now will cost you in the long run. We typically suggest you over-hire (at least your first 2 Reps) in terms of skills and compensation - this will pay off in spades for you down the road.

  3. Start to outline the sales process as soon as possible. You should document the sales process whether Reps will be responsible for qualifying leads or closing business. Then, when interviewing, you can ask about their past experience and compare it to your anticipated process.

    For example: if you assume your process will include technical demos but the Rep you are interviewing has no experience with presenting that type of information to prospects, are they really a good fit?

  4. Right from the get-go, think about career path. Inside Sales Reps often leave a company because there is no room for growth. Think through the logical next step for them in your organization and communicate your expectations as to the timeframe and qualifications for promotion. This will differentiate you in a competitive hiring market.

  5. Always conduct your first interview over the phone. You want to hear how articulate they are, how they think on their feet, their speech patterns, etc. You also want to gain an understanding for their command of grammar and vocabulary.

    You should prepare for this interview by creating a documented set of questions that covers: duties of last positions, sales skills, their past impressions of management and peers and a wish list for moving forward, long term career objectives, etc. Interviewing over the phone will allow you to focus on these traits as you will not be distracted by body language or appearance.

  6. Create a post interview checklist. There will be multiple people involved in the interview process and you want feedback based on skill sets and not personal likes or dislikes.

    Creating a skill set checklist will allow your team to prepare for the interview as well as deliver information back to you that is both consistent and can be used to rate candidates against each other. You can download a FREE Candidate Evaluation Sheet (Microsoft Word file) here.

Hiring decisions are the most important decisions you will make.  Invest the time in executing the 6 rules above and you will be well on your way to building a successful team!

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Topics: inside sales management, inside sales strategy, recruiting, inside sales hiring

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