Sales Hiring Mistakes to Avoid When Building a Sales Team

In the previous article, we talked about how to hire a phenomenal sales team. However, hiring sales representatives is no piece of cake and mistakes are bound to happen. As a sales honcho, you need to be extremely cautious and prudent while onboarding new sales personnel because wrong hiring decisions can jeopardize your sales.

As the saying goes, one rotten apple can spoil the whole barrel. Likewise, the risk of hiring the wrong person is high, and the cost even higher as they can leave a lasting negative impact on the company name as well as on the revenue.

There is no guaranteed process for successful recruitment, but if you're thinking about hiring sales reps, avoid these sales hiring mistakes and start hiring smarter.

Sales Hiring Mistake #1: Inaccurate Job Description

Hiring a candidate based on a poor job description is a mistake many sales managers make. A clear and accurate job description is necessary for an organization as it will help you envision this person's key areas of responsibility and what skills and experiences are required to do the job well. If your description is ineffective, you are more likely to attract candidates with the qualities and skills that you’re not looking for.

Sales Hiring Mistake #2: Too Much Focus on Experience

Sales manager often make hiring decisions solely based on the candidate's work history and lay more emphasis on experience rather than potential. Yes, past experience is an important aspect to consider while making hiring decisions, but it shouldn't be the deciding factor. Look for other traits such as conscientiousness, assertiveness, willingness to learn, etc. The learning lesson here is to be open-minded and look beyond the candidate's experiences and what’s listed on their resume.

Sales Hiring Mistake #3: Ignoring the References

Never ever ignore references. Check them! A good hiring decision or a bad one can be made by doing so. Most of the time, the work persona differs from the interview persona. Hence, references checks can give you much better insights about the candidate that you may not be able to discover during an interview alone. The right reference calls help you get a different perspective and let you confirm or eliminate doubts, if any.

Sales Hiring Mistake #4: Going with Your Gut Feeling

Letting your intuitive and gut feeling decide which candidate to hire can turn out to an expensive mistake for your business. This leads to about a 50% hiring failure rate. Often gut feelings can mislead and cause bias if the candidate’s style and personality are similar to the interviewer. Instead of connecting with the candidates on a personal level, it is crucial to set hiring criteria and evaluate the applicant professionally. Even if you have a great sense of people, balance it with hard data like facts, figures, and qualification.

Sales Hiring Mistake #5: Inadequate Preparation for Interview

Another common sales hiring mistake is being unprepared for the interview. The sales leaders often ignore the fact that even though they are interviewers, they need to be well prepared before the interview to make a good hire. It is common for candidates to speak success stories during the interview, however, by adequately preparing for the interview managers can dig deeper to unveil the true potential of the candidate.

Wrapping It Up

Sales hiring mistakes will not only cost you an extensive amount of time and money but also affect the quality of work of your organization on a large scale and slow down your sales momentum. Chances are that these mistakes will be repeated in future whenever new employees will be interviewed for any job profile.

Thus, taking important hiring interviews unprepared, ignoring references, taking decisions based on feelings, depending only on experience, etc. are recipes for the disaster which will brew silently, but will cause damage to your organization in the long run. Consequently, discover your mistakes and avoid them in the future. This will help you build a strong team with excellent sales professionals who can efficiently meet their sales quota target.

What are some of the ways you can avoid these hiring mistakes? Comment below what sales interview practices have worked for you the best!

Good Hiring!

About Author

Sumeet Shah

Chief Growth Officer @Incentivate, has over 15 years of experience in management consulting, product engineering, and analytics, working with clients across multiple countries, functions, and domains.