The other day, I read a post by Dave Kurlan on 3 Powerful Excuses for Maintaining Mediocrity in Your Sales Hiring. Quite a provocative title, no?
I read Dave's points from my perspective as s a former Inside Sales Manager. I have to admit blushing with a bit of embarrassment as I recognized past mistakes in his points.
To set the stage, Dave presented on a Sales hiring webinar and was asked:
If your recruiting process works so effectively, and your assessments are so predictive, and they save so much time and money and consistently identify top performers, then why don't more companies use them?
It is a key question. Dave responded with three reasons (highlighted sections below): ego, money & fear.
Most sales managers simply have a mindset that they should know how to do this without asking for help, relying on tools, or following someone else's process.
If we didn't have well-developed (putting it mildly) egos, then I don't believe we'd be in Sales. Fortunately, a well-developed (ok, big) ego, can be necessary in business success. Unfortunately, when in management and responsible for a team's success, ego needs to be shelved in order to take advantage of tools, processes and perspectives from other sources and experts in these areas.
Eventually, we call have to embrace our own "ego-management". Think of a ship's Captain in distress refusing help from the Coast Guard (professionals, experts in their field). The end result could very well be a sinking ship. Seeking out and tapping into resources is the sign of strength, not weakness.
Every company pays their worst performer far more than it would cost to get the right process, tools and skills in place. Even though every hiring mistake costs as much as hundreds of thousands of dollars, some companies simply don't view those losses as line items.
It's always baffled me how some Managers will continue to hire people who just aren't the best fit for the position and the culture. Similarly, I've seen managers have great and expensive sales meetings to get the team motivated, and once they're back in the office, everyone goes back to the same routine and same processes. A better ROI would be to invest in re-evaluating your sales process and ensuring that your messaging and tools are geared towards how your buyers want to buy and not how you want to sell.
Fear of the unknown, of being wrong, of change, of losing control, of being criticized, and of a learning curve.
Fear of criticism from Senior Management, your team, fear of change, and fear that the people you hired and the processes you've implemented just aren't going to work. Fear can make a Manager become distracted. Sales Managers, and people in general, are not all-knowing and can't be experts on everything, contrary to what we may think about ourselves.
A good Manager will admit these realities and turn them into 3 powerful reasons to utilize every tool available. It is a different world we sell in now so what you used at another company 5 years ago may not work now. Your product offerings may be changing, your markets may be evolving, your sales goals may be higher, your team players may be different - so embrace that reality and create a new vision for success.
Are you ready to turn your negatives into positives for 2010?
(Photo credit: Troy Holden)