Why Smart CEOs Are Actively Engaged In Sales Hiring

by Chris Young - The Rainmaker

CEOs are actively engaged in sales hiring because the cost of a single bad sales hire can be hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars.


Who in your company has the authority to sign a company check for $500k to $2.5m?

Very few people have the authority.

Yet in many companies sales managers and human resources professionals are essentially writing checks of this size every single time they make a bad sales hire. 


While no typical sales manager nor human resources professional can actually write and sign an actual check of this magnitude, they are instrumental in hiring salespeople who can easily cost hundreds of thousands if not millions when they fail to perform.

The costs of a bad sales hire are unreal.

Imagine investing in a piece of equipment that costs $500k to $2.5m over two or three years. What would happen if this particular piece of equipment produced only 20 percent of expected production? Someone is going to be held accountable. Assumptions are going to be questioned. That is real. 

Bad sales hiring decisions are "unreal" because those costs are hidden in multiple budgets.  

Until the hard and soft costs of a bad sales hire are made real, nothing will change. 

Take the time to quantify the following costs of poor sales hiring decisions.

  • Recruiting costs.
  • Training dollars. 
  • Compensation during ramp up.
  • Management onboarding costs.
  • Distracted management.
  • Lost sales during ramp up.
  • Damaged Customer goodwill.
  • Reduced margins.
  • Lost profits for sales that should have been won (sales opportunity costs).

Of the above costs, the most significant (by far) is lost profits from missed sales.  All of the other costs combined are insignificant compared to missed sales.

Retain that low performer for too long and even more lost profits from missed sales increases.


Smart CEOs are ACTIVELY engaged in sales hiring.

I am not saying the CEO must be actively involved in screening and interviewing salespeople. I am saying that Smart CEOs are ACTIVELY engaged in constantly improving sales hiring outcomes. Smart CEOs pay attention. They ensure there is continuous improvement in sales hiring by engaging in the sales hiring process and asking questions.

In particular smart CEOs are strongly dialed into the following:

  • Overall Job Fit of the sales team.
  • Job Fit of every sales hire.
  • EVERY new sales hire meets the hiring scorecard.
  • Candidate Risk Waiver sign off.

The overall Job Fit of the sales team signals the potential ahead. 

The Job Fit of every new sales hire is a signal of, "Are we improving or not?"


Every new sales hire must meet the needs of the sales hiring scorecard.

When a new sales hire does not meet the requirements of your sales hiring scorecard, a "Candidate Risk Waiver" must be signed by the CEO. A "Candidate Risk Waiver" is an acknowledgement by sales management, human resources, and the CEO that the particular sales hire does not meet the established hiring standards. This puts everyone on notice that there will be accountability for hiring a low Job Fit salesperson despite the warnings.

Few salespeople would be hired if they did not meet the standards of the sales hiring scorecard. 

Download the sales hiring scorecard


Autopsy the bad sales hires.

What gets measured gets managed. You cannot improve your existing sales hiring system if you are not measuring what went well and what did not.  

Every salesperson that is terminated must be carefully reviewed. 

A powerful place to begin the review is the hiring scorecard.