Hiring & Managing Top Sales Talent

December 16, 2014

As HR professionals, we are often asked, “How can I get my sales team to become top performers?” or, “Is there a way to ignite a spark of enthusiasm and passion in my sales team?” Although sales consultants and sales trainers can definitely address this question, we as HR consultants definitely have a perspective since we’re talking about the people side of the business.  It may be the problem is a training issue or it could be that a sales representative or even an entire sales team wasn’t on-boarded and fully armed with the right tools to be successful.  Sometimes, a company may not have the right people in the right roles to begin with.  Bottom line, sales people need to have a driving passion for what they do and for what the company sells, and they should be as passionate about what their doing as the business owners themselves.  Their passion may be driven by money, but nonetheless, they are passionate and not blasé about their role.

Sales isn’t for everyone, and great sales people don’t necessarily become great sales managers.  More often than not, the performance issues we are asked to help with involve trying to ‘fix’ a situation by forcing an under performer to perform in a role that isn’t a good fit for that individual.  It doesn’t mean the person is not talented, it may just mean they are a mismatch for the position they were hired into.

Austin HR’s TalentWaves division can definitely help identify and recruit top sales performers, and our HR specialists can provide soft skills training or a performance management process to address these challenges.  Our best guidance is to hire top talent who can hit the ground running and when this isn’t happening, quickly determine if you have the right person in the right role.  Allowing mediocrity becomes problematic and a much more complicated HR issue to unravel down the road.

Although the traditional role of sales has changed dramatically with the Internet and technology, the fundamental of sales remains constant.  Sales is about trust, follow through, delivering a quality service or product and most importantly, about relationships.  If a company’s sales team or a particular sales individual doesn’t understand and embrace this, then it’s not worth forcing a square peg into a round hole.   In other words, great sales people typically hit the ground running and become successful fairly quickly.  Determining early on whether you have the right sales individual will save a business owner or manager a lot of time, money and grief in the long run.

If you’re wondering about the mindset and even passion of your sales people, try sharing some of the motivational sales quotes below with your sales team and see what kind of reaction you get.  These quotes can be used to drive a great discussion at a sales meeting, and the conversations that come about can be quite telling.  You may find you have training opportunities, and it may become quickly evident that behavioral issues exist or, you may realize you have budding stars that haven’t yet fulfilled their sales potential.  Whatever is realized, the fact that you’re discussing sales as a profession and a mindset is cutting edge, even in this technological world.

Jay Abraham
 Understand that you need to sell you and your ideas in order to advance your career, gain more respect, and increase your success, influence and income.

Roland Trimmel 
Listen very carefully to what customers say. There is so much you can do, yet communicating with your customers is the one thing you need to do on an ongoing basis.

Brian Tracy
 Approach each customer with the idea of helping them solve a problem or achieve a goal, not of selling a product or service.

Jeff Bezos
 If you do build a great experience, customers tell each other about that. Word of mouth is very powerful.

Gary Vaynerchuk
 “A story is at its best when it’s not intrusive, when it brings value to a platform’s consumers, and when it fits in as a natural step along the customer’s path to making a purchase.”

Mary Kay Ash
 Everyone has an invisible sign hanging from their neck saying, “Make me feel important”. Never forget this message when working with people. Not only will you succeed in sales, you will succeed in life.

Jim Rohn
 In the sales profession the real work begins after the sale is made.

Henry Ford 
If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

Zig Ziglar 
People don’t buy for logical reasons. They buy for emotional reasons.

Geffrey Gitomer
 “Know what you sell in terms of the customer. They don’t care about your product or service, they care how your product or service is used to benefit them. Are you telling them in terms of them or you?”

Joe Vitale 
”People need encouragement to take action.”

Jim Rohn
 “One customer, well taken care of could be more valuable than $10,000 worth of advertising.”

Brian Tracy 
”Hear your customer out completely, no matter how many times you’ve heard the same things before.”

Jerry Bruckner 
”Before someone will be persuaded by you they must trust you, respect you, believe you are very knowledgeable in the subject and that you are interested in, finding out what their interests and needs are, and are suggesting to them – not selling – the best solution to get the result they want or solve their need or problem.”

Dale Carnegie 
”Thousands of salespeople are pounding the pavements today, tired, discouraged and underpaid. Why? Because they are always thinking only of what they want. They don’t realize that neither you nor I want to buy anything. If we did, we would go out and buy it. But both of us are eternally interested in solving our own problems. And if salespeople can show us their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us. We will buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying – not being sold.”