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5 Mistakes Businesses Make When Hiring for a Inside Sales Team Resource

If set-up effectively, your inside sales team can be a critical piece of your organization’s go-to-market strategy.  Your inside sales team can positively impact your brand and drive revenue growth.  A position with that level of importance warrants some time and attention to recruiting and hiring the best-fit people.  Below are five common mistakes you should avoid when building your inside sales team.

  • Looking for people with telemarketing experience.  People with telemarketing experience often come to their new jobs with a lot of bad habits.  Most telemarketing call centers offer little skills training and foster a culture of mistrust with their “big brother” management style.  They don’t typically offer a culture of coaching and continuous improvement.  It’s also important to understand that often the most successful inside sales people don’t have any telemarketing experience.  However, they do exhibit the following traits:  perseverance, professionalism and the ability to ask good questions and listen.
  1. Leverage Staffing firms to fill spots.  Your inside sales team is often your first opportunity to make a good impression with your prospects.  Why would you want to hand-off control of recruiting and hiring the people so critical to your future success to someone who doesn’t understand your business?  Staffing firms usually only have experience hiring for the call center “junkies.”  These are individuals who are rotating through every telemarketing job in your community and are always looking for their next telemarketing job?  Sure they have telemarketing experience, but they might not be the best fit.  Instead, organizations should invest the time to develop a direct hiring model with a detailed screening process that’s customized for their specific requirements.
  • Hire part-timers.  Do you want a professional who is willing to invest their time helping you meet your business objectives or do want someone who will simply do the job until the next one comes along?  If you treat this position like it’s an integral element of your sales and marketing strategy, you will attract the type of career professionals you need to be successful.  Aim high.
  • Don’t leverage behavioral interview techniques.  Most organizations who are hiring for an inside sales team usually don’t give much thought to the process they will use to identify the best candidate.  Often hiring managers will use the same process they have in place for other functions on their team or they simply wing it.  Their typical interview questions include, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” or “Where do you see yourself in five years?”.  These are perfectly fine questions, but they give little insight into how a prospective employee will behave on their new job.  In a behavioral based interview, the hiring manager should first identify the skills that are needed for the person to be successful.  Then ask questions to uncover whether or not those skills exist in the potential employee.  Offer potential scenarios they could encounter in their job.  Ask how they will respond and ask them to provide examples of how they’ve responded to similar situations in the past.
  • Limited skills training provided.  The “old school” mindset says that you can just hire a body, give them a script and point them toward the phone.  The good news is that approach leads to a very quick ramp to building an inside sales team.  The bad news is that the team will probably not be very successful.  Organizations need to invest in their onboarding process, and training new team members should be a priority.  Many organizations limit their training to teaching their team about the features and functions of their products.  Then they get a team that just wants to talk about their products when they get on the phone.  They don’t have a clue how to actually have a consultative business discussion with a prospect.  The training curriculum should include a focus on sales skills like getting through the gatekeeper; leaving an effective voice mail message; asking probing, drill-down, and clarification questions; listening skills; identifying the decision making process; and overcoming objections.

Making these common mistakes in the hiring process can lead to bad hires.  Bad hires can cost your organization time, money, and missed opportunity.  It’s worth the extra effort and time to think through your hiring process and build a model that fits your unique requirements.


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