What You Need to Know About Hiring Sales Warriors

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Nov 14, 2015

First, no apologies about the term, "Sales Warriors" since some may not feel that it is not politically correct.  
In fact, I did learn long ago that this wonderful profession of Sales is not about "doing battle".  It's not about negotiation or manipulation or trying to outwit the person on the other side of the table.  It's no longer about "good-old-boy" relationships

The true excitement about Sales today is the realization finally that the real job of all of us as sales warriors is not to do battle, but to deliver to our customers one simple word:  "VALUE".  And, the other equally important realization that if I cannot provide true and long-lasting VALUE to those new prospects and existing customers, then I'm going to ultimately totally fail in my job.  

But, of course, warriors do not fail !

Taking this concept of sales warriors one step further, my own experience as a coach is that success comes only to those sales leaders who...

  1. ...hire the best
  2. ...train relentlessly 
  3. ...reward publicly 

See Through the Resume Dust

To the #1 bullet, of hiring the best, if I review the stats from our own practice and the guys and expertise at Sirius Decisions, (you should sign up for their blogs at the very least) as sales managers in general, we do a really poor job of hiring.  We way too often hire on superficial gut feel and resume dust, while not going through an analytical assessment and testing process.

Sales Retention Rates, Sales Terminations

As a result, plus the fact that most managers do an equally bad job of providing consistent skills training to our warriors, the turnover rates of the typical B2B sales team, combining Voluntary and Involuntary averages 20% plus.  In the tech space, where we focus a lot of our time, we know that the number ranges from a low of 20% to 35%.  

How could anyone live with even 20%? 


The 3 Prong Hiring Triangle

Sales HiringWe believe strongly in breaking down our warrior hiring process into three critical segments that form our Sales Hiring Triangle, and then we stringently test and analytically measure all of our candidates to the criteria of each segment:  

  1. Selling Skills: What are the exact sales skills (examples: Closing, Discovery, Value Prop) we must have?
  2. Selling Experience: What are the minimum number of years in and references we want to talk to from our direct industry? 
  3. Selling Attributes:  What are the personal values (examples:  Work Ethic, Drive, Passion) we must have?

  • Experience is easy to measure since the category will be measured in numbers of years of relevant experience and the references that are supplied.
  • Selling Skills can also be directly and easily measured during the second face-to-face interview by having the candidate present to a case study that you have provided at the end of the first interview, or by having them present their own selling process, their personal use of sales tools and selling technologies and, most importantly, how they specifically market, discover and close on their own definitions of selling value to their customers
  • Attributes can also be easily and analytically assessed by looking at the analytical results provided by superb assessment tools such as Skills Survey, and Caliper, just to name two of the best. 

Derby Management Sales Productivity and Business Planning For more on this subject, we have a detailed Three Step Sales Hiring Solution on our  Derby Management Website under "Our Sales Solutions Section"

Click on the link above and then just page down a little to Section 4, Hiring Sales People the Right Way.  Make sure that your speakers are turned and sit back and enjoy!


Pay formal attention to the Skills, Experience and Attributes Triangle, and you will immediately increase your ability to hire and retain the very best while significantly reducing that ugly haunting churn rate that plagues all of those other guys.

Just to leave this discussion, take a quick look at the following very compact and thought provoking HBR blog, which arrived this week, on The Best Ways to Hire Salespeople for their own perspective and related stats. 

Sales and Business Planning for 2016 Finally, as you move through your own 2016 sales hiring planning at this time of year, if you have specific planning questions that you want to bounce off me or the other Derby Management Coaches...

-George for Finance & Sales Effectiveness
-Bob for Entrepreneurship and Business Planning
-Steve for Organization & Management Development
-Jan for Marketing

... and, of course, for Sales Productivity Improvement, just email me, and we'll set up a time to talk. 



Tufts Sales and Marketing Project-Entrepreneurial Leadership Studies ELSI'm in my second week of continuing to look for solid marketing projects for my spring Tufts marketing class at Tufts, where I'm a professor.  A unique and highly successful opportunity for your company to ring out a new product idea or a fully developed marketing plan with The Tufts Best & Brightest from one of the leading universities in the country.  This semester-long program is designed to incorporate marketing projects from companies ranging in size from venture-funded startups to divisions of major corporations.  Last semester, we had 22 companies apply for the six positions.
The deadline for submissions for this spring's semester is December 15th.  Projects will be sent to the students for assessment and team creation at the end of December.   

If you're interested in finding out more, just email me at jack@derbymanagement.com.  Of course, I'm biased and, yes, more than a bit passionate about Tufts, but I must say somewhat objectively that our results, as attested to buy our customer companies, have been outstanding with many companies coming back year after year.  

Good Selling!

Every single day now counts as we move through this last quarter of the year!

  Jack Derby 

Head Coach  

Derby Management...for 25 years
-Sales & Marketing Productivity Experts
-Business & Strategy Planning Specialists
-Senior Management Coaching for CEOs & VPs

Box 171322, Boston, MA 02117
Jack's Cell: 617-504-4222 

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Tags: sales, sales management, sales plans, sales hiring