A mid-size advertising and marketing firm were looking to expand. It truly needed an account executive to go out and call on organizations in the area to try to develop business for the firm. Denise was in charge of interviewing for the new account executive.
She went the usual route and put out some ads for a viable candidate. She was looking for someone with at least two years of sales experience within the industry, good communication skills, and a college degree.
So, let’s break this down:
- Sales experience in the industry. Why? Are you the same as everyone else? Do you want someone to sell what he or she sold before the same way they would sell your service? Are you sure?
- Good communication skills? Who’s going to say they don’t have good communication skills?
- A college degree. Now, don’t get me wrong: There are certainly pluses to having a degree – I have one myself – but I don’t think that is the reason I or most others are successful. I truly believe it’s the fire in their belly – and that comes from within.
Here are things to look at in benchmarking a candidate:
- What level of the organization does your business development person need to be talking to? Is it a CEO? If so, has this candidate successfully called on that person before and consistently gotten to him or her?
- What is the cost of your product or service? If the average cost is $10,000, and this candidate has been very successful at $500 but never sold anything much more than that, this could be an issue.
- Where is your product or service when it comes to pricing competition? Are you more expensive, about the same or the price leader? These are distinctions that need to be addressed.
- How long is your selling cycle? Is it one or two calls? Or is it intricate, long and has many layers of decision-makers?
If you can match up these things closely with a candidate, then that person is worth looking at seriously. There are other criteria, but first, address what you really need and don’t worry about the “experience” she has. If the person’s so good, why is she leaving?
Most organizations don’t take the necessary time or energy to do this step well.
If someone tells you he’s good, or if her resume says she has experience in your industry, that’s not enough. You need to first identify the qualities that will make this candidate successful for your company, not just any organization.
For more information on Sales-Hiring Benchmarks go to; www.SalesHiringMetrics.com