Last week I wrote about the challenges of hiring a salesperson for a startup. This week, I was lucky enough to come across a fantastic blog post by Ryan Holmes, CEO of Hootsuite, on the “The Unexpectedly High Cost of a Bad Hire and How to Avoid Them”.
According to Ryan’s post, “the average cost of a bad hiring decision can equal 30% of the individual’s first-year potential earnings. That means a single bad hire with an annual income of $50,000 can equal a potential $15,000 loss for the employer.”
These are costs that startups just cannot afford. At the end of the day, I’m a big fan of hiring slow and firing fast. Startups and growing businesses need to make sure they’re hiring B2B salespeople who can find success from day one.
Here are 5 red flags that should give a founder or manager pause when hiring B2B salespeople.
1. Frequent Moves
In B2B sales, the sales cycle is measured in months, not days. It’s often hard to get a good sense of a salespersons experience if they are moving on too quickly between roles. There are certainly perfectly valid reasons for leaving organizations, but for sales reps it is worth spending some extra time to explore why.
2. Not Being Prepared For The Interview
One of my big pet peeves is when candidates have not researched your company. This is one of the fundamentals of great B2B sales and if a candidate can’t be bothered to go to your website, read a couple blog posts, check-out your LinkedIn profile, or check out the company Twitter feed, then how would they prepare for a sales meeting selling your organizations product or service?
3. Does Not Like Process or Using a CRM
This is a tricky one to verify, but can be explored by asking situational questions relating to past experiences. The modern salesperson can no longer by-pass using the company CRM. It’s now a fundamental part of an organizations sales effort and candidates should at least be willing to learn.
4. No Questions For The Interviewer
In sales, asking questions is the key to moving opportunities along. A candidate should have at least a few questions to ask about your company and the role.
Lack of Past Sales Successes
Candidates should be happy to talk about their great sales successes in detail. It’s worth digging into those opportunities from the start to close by asking for specifics. A big win may actually have been from a customer renewal or due to some heavy lifting from a different member of their previous team. Dig, dig, dig for details.
Looking out for these red flags will help you avoid making bad sales hires. If you’re looking for other tips as you grow your sales team, download our free white paper Building a Startup Sales Team.