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Inside Sales Hiring Strategies

by Trish Bertuzzi on Wed, Mar 18, 2009

I have shared my thoughts on several occasions on the characteristics of a great Inside Sales RepMost recently in Top 10 Competencies for Inside Sales Reps.

Garth Moulton of Jigsaw recently wrote on the very same subject: Profiling the Perfect Inside Sales Person-Part One.  What follows is his Myth #2.

Inside sales is for entry level employees. Actually, this is contradicted particularly by the consulting groups. Even when the goal is "simple" contact discovery, or finding out whom at a company might be the person to call, there are specific skills and experience necessary to complete the task. With all the information available on the web, your first contact with a potential customer has to be from a person very familiar with the market, the prospect's company, the seller's product, etc., or the target simply will not engage.  My advice is to match what most companies do and stick the newbies on the customer support line.


There is no doubt that Inside Sales has to be an integral part of every technology company's strategy - see IDC's Sales Barometer and Top Ten Predictions for more on why. 

Our 2009 Inside Sales Metrics & Compensation Study shows that the average level of experience when hiring an Inside Rep is 2.8 years.

Companies are hiring experienced Reps who have been individual contributors and successfully generated revenue for previous employers. 

So, how do you make a good hire? To hire successfully, it is imperative that in the hiring process you determine:

  • Similar functional experience
    Do the functions they performed previously match the functions you would like them to focus on now?  For instance: if you are hiring a Rep to generate new business revenue, you may not want to hire a Rep whose sole experience was selling maintenance into a customer base. 

  • Similar strategy experience
    If you are building a team that is focused on selling to the SMB space, you would be ahead of the curve to hire Reps that have sold into that space before.  They would understand the buying cycle of the space and be more attuned to the shorter sales cycles and how to effectively move a prospect through the sales process.

  • Similar activity experience
    Finally, will the role be primarily inbound or outbound focused?  Make sure to probe for similarities in overall go-to-market strategies.  If your organization will be required to do outbound calling as well as inbound inquiry conversion, make sure that your candidate has that kind of experience under their belt.  Inbound Reps sometimes struggle with altering their style and process to accommodate outbound cold calling.  You just need to identify the issue and get it on the table during the interview process and not at the end of a disappointing quarter!

So, thanks for listening and feel free to share your golden rules of hiring.  Happy Selling!

Topics: recruiting, best practices, inside sales hiring

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