Never hire the kind of salespeople who may need to be laid off in the future.
You know what scares the hell out of me? Mediocrity.
I have seen way too many good companies half ass their sales teams when they are drunk with success. During the heady times companies often enjoy, I see salespeople hired blindly based on gut decisions. Later, when a speed bump or a giant pothole comes along, all hell breaks loose.
"Always hire salespeople as if the worst is headed your way in a year." [Tweet This]
When the economy and/or your industry falters, you do not want to be slogging through salespeople you wished you had never hired.
Companies end up laying salespeople off when:
The economy falters. Usually the bottom performers go first, then the next tier, etc.
- Their business model falters. Business models falter when the product / service / branding mix is out of alignment with what Customers need and want. Business models also falter when your competitor is winning the best sales opportunities that you should be winning. When your competitor wins the best sales opportunities not only do you lose, but they really propel their business model.
- They make poor sales hiring decisions.
Hire only the best salespeople possible and there won't be layoffs.
The salespeople who are never laid off under any circumstances are those who are consistently and profitably winning sales.
If you never hire the kind of salespeople that you may one day be forced to lay off, you will create extreme shareholder and Customer value AND you will weather practically any economic storm.
Only hire the best salespeople possible. By "best", I mean a "sales wolf" - a salesperson with the potential to consistently perform in the top 20th percentile in their industry. Notice my language. You do want just any top performer. You must hire and retain sales wolves who have the potential to consistently perform in the top 20th percentile in the industry.
The only way to consistently hire those who consistently perform in the top 20th percentile is to use a valid sales personality test with validity backed by brain research. If you are hoping to hire sales wolves through the interview alone, you are preparing to lose.
Hope is not a strategy.
Let your competitors hire the average salespeople.
I know I know. I am going to get some comments that every sales team needs average salespeople.
If you believe every company needs average salespeople, you are horribly wrong. Only your competitors need average salespeople.
There are three powerful reasons why you don't want average salespeople.
- Average salespeople get you average results.
- Average salespeople often lose when competing against a sales wolf.
- When the economy falters, average salespeople quickly move from value add to a serious drag on the bottom line.
Companies are in the business of maximizing profits.
Many companies have some type of sales welfare program. Why on earth, I don't know. A "sales welfare program" occurs when salespeople are paid more than what they are worth and it is allowed to continue. Low performers act as a drag on the sales performance of the company, drain morale, tie up valuable sales management time, and miss critical opportunities to add value to the Customer.
My accountant once told me, "Chris, companies are in the business of making a profit. If shareholders want to donate, they can donate from their earnings, but companies do not donate money."
I agree completely.