Why Your Talent Program is Failing


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Sales VPs complain they need better talent.  They rely on a few sales people to make the number. The rest of the team misses it.  The reason this happens?  Having the wrong sales strategy.

SBI’s Annual Research this year focuses on the impact a poor strategy can have. We found over 78% of companies get it wrong.  Read our report to understand how this happens.

However, even the right sales strategies can fail with weak sales talent.  You need a great team to implement a great strategy.  Without this talent, the strategy you work hard to deploy is useless. You just can’t ignore how you source, hire and develop talent.  Yet most Sales VPs do.

There are three major actions sales teams take to deploy the right sales strategy.  They have a:

  • Talent Methodology:  Every candidate goes through the same process.  There are no shortcuts.  Each hiring stage is strictly laid out through the major categories.  These are sourcing, interviewing, offer and on-boarding.  Strict adherence to the methodology produces better sales talent.  But don’t be tempted to cheat. 
    • For example, one step in screening is to complete a Career History Form.  This form is a lengthy, detailed account of the candidates work history.  The information required is much deeper than a resume or CV.  Yet some candidates refuse to fill this out.  We get responses like:
      • “Can’t I just forward you my resume?” 
      • “I filled out most of the form.  You can get the rest from my resume.”
      • “If we get farther along in the process, I will complete it then.”

These responses are important clues in the screening process:

  • Is the candidate serious about the position? 
  • Do they brush over details easily? 
  • Are they trying to hide something?

These are all knock-out reasons.  But what happens if we allow the candidate to blow it off?  We lose this critical information.   And could get the wrong talent on your sales team. 

  • Effective On-boarding Plan: The quicker you get a new hire ramped the more successful they will be.  This is the best predictor of future success.  Great sales strategies have a rigorous on-boarding program.  Each day, week and month have activities and objectives that build on each other.  This results in the new hire achieving their ramp up quota at each milestone.  Again, no one takes shortcuts.
    • For example, great hiring methodologies make sure industry hires go through the process.  It could be easy to eliminate some of the activities.  But going through the entire program has proven to increase success.  It increases tenure and ensures the candidate learns the right way.  This is required for a new hire success long term. 
  • Formal Development Program:  Every sales person needs development.  Being stagnate really means falling behind. Great sales strategies embed development into their talent program.  They don’t fall behind because they are consistently training new capabilities to their reps. 
    • For example, social prospecting is a new capability.  Have you trained your sales people how to be effective with it?  This is not a new skill anymore.  It is required that all sales people be trained to do it.  Blowing this off is hurting their effectiveness.

Developing sales people is required to keep them successful. Create a formal program.  Voluntary turnover will decrease while sales results improve.

Great sales strategies also measure the results of their talent program.  There are some key metrics they measure to determine success:


Don’t know where to start?

Download SBI’s research report “How to Make the Number in 2015.”  Sign up for our free 90 minute strategy session.  This will help you know where your gaps are and how to fix them.  Or just drop me an email.  We can have a quick discussion to understand what needs to happen for your talent program.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Dan Perry
Dan is an industry thought leader with more than 25 years of experience in b-to-b field sales, sales management, and sales operations. Dan has delivered domestic and international results for companies such as Hewlett Packard, Terremark Worldwide, Dow Jones, Activant Solutions, Kronos, CDS Global, Microsemi.


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