What do you want this person to accomplish? I asked my client. “I need this person to hit the revenue mark for their territory,” he stated.
“So, if they do this by giving away margins, or most of revenue coming from one or two customers, while not doing their sales reports, failing to turn in expense reports on time, and being late for sales meetings, under these conditions would hitting their revenue mark be ok?” I asked.
My client responded, “No, I didn’t say that!” We then, spent time identifying what specifically they expected from the person that filled the role of Regional Sales Manager.
In 1989, Stephen Covey’s published the book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It has sold more than 25 million copies in 38 languages. Most hiring managers today have not read the book or it has been a while for the ones that have.
Here’s a quick refresher from his book on Habit #2: Begin With The End In Mind:
As with my client, having your salespeople hit their annual sales mark is an important goal and one reason why the sales role exists. At the same time, it is equally as important to identify what elements of success are needed along the way towards hitting the annual revenue goal.
Typically we recruit people from within our industry. When you do, we often assume that these candidates share our insights into what it takes to be successful in the role. This assumption leads to a lot of false starts and misaligned expectations.
Here’s how to make it clear what you believe are the required success elements.
Imagine you are meeting with your new hire on their employment anniversary date. You say to them that you are happy with their progress. Not ecstatic but also not disappointed, just happy. What would have to happen in order to get that response from you? Write down whatever comes to mind.
After you have written everything down review your list and check the ones that can be measured quantifiably.
Here are guidelines to make this an effective exercise for you:
- Happy with their progress is they key. Not the result, the progress. It could be that they can demonstrate they know your product lines and its applications by making a presentation to the staff within sixty-days. Maybe its completing the top 10 customer reviews within the first six-months.
- Your success elements must be objectively and quantifiably measured. If they are subjective I’ll guarnettee you will be disappointed and your employee will be frustrated.
- There should be no more than six success elements.
- For each one ask yourself, “Has anyone ever achieved this before?” If no one has, I suggest you have set the bar at ecstatic not happy. Adjust your expectations to a happier level.
- Keep in mind that you are not setting career expectations, just expectations for their first year. Surely the expectations you have for a new employee would not be the same ones you would have in their 3rd year. You should expect people to continue to grow and develop their skills. Especially your salespeople. Reset your level of expectations to each year.
Start with the end in mind by defining what success in the job looks like and then recruit, hire, onboard, and manage towards those goals.
Having identified your elements of success you can incorporate them into your job posting and your screening process. This way you will:
- Attract candidates that want to meet those expectations.
- Not waste time interviewing candidates that wll disappoint you by not meeting your expectations.
- Save yourself from hiring someone you’ll spend endless hours coaching.
- Free yourself up to do what you really should be doing – leading and directing instead of babysitting and being your team’s best closer.
At Performance Group, we have identified 62 measurable expectations (in 12 categories) which you can set for your new hire. If you want to learn how you can leverage this into building a stronger sales team than the one you currently have, contact us.