Interviewing potential salespeople

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The time taken to screen and interview a new salesperson can be substantial, so how can a hiring manager ensure that this time-related cost is made up once a hire is made? One way is to improve the interview process by introducing sales-specific behavioural interviewing strategies.

Hiring a new employee can be time-consuming and expensive, so it’s in the business’s interest to make it worthwhile by employing the best possible candidate. For sales, one way of doing this is to use the concept of behavioural interviewing with a specific focus on things that are relevant to salespeople.

The accompanying resource tool includes 7 questions to ask, as well as an explanation as to why each is important. The 7 questions are:

  1. Revenue Attainment – What is the highest revenue achieved by the candidate?
  2. Revenue Velocity – How many sales closed per year, per quarter, per month?
  3. What Business Owners and Managers were called on and closed?
  4. What standard milestones in the selling cycle does the candidate track?
  5. What are the candidate’s experience and proficiency in lead generation? In final sale negotiation?
  6. Phone or Field sale? Virtual/Home office or centralised shared office?
  7. Are technical or specialised skills required to sell your offering?

Adapt the questions and answers you expect to fit the needs of the business, as well as the role you’re hiring for. Past experience isn’t always an indicator of future behaviour, but it still is one of the best ways of finding the right employee.

Business tools

Interviewing potential salespeople

The resource document includes 7 questions to ask, as well as an explanation as to why each is important.

Interview template

An important part of business success is surrounding yourself with the right people. Use this interview template to help you decide who the best fit for the role is.

This tool covers some generic overall assessments, including general strengths and weaknesses, before going into detail and providing example questions. Each of these questions is accompanied by an explanation of what the question aims to discover, which will help you to interpret the answers given by the candidate.