May 182012

Hiring Sales: Hit Your Number by Hiring ‘A’ Player New Business Reps

Hiring Sales: By Scott Gruher on Tue, May 15, 2012

I continue to see sales organizations attempt to specialize by selling activity and fail to hire true hunters.  Furthermore, the environment they create isn’t conducive to retaining top performing new business reps.  If your sales force structure has been designed based on an effectiveness strategy (growing revenue and maintaining cost), specializing by selling activity is a great way to drive revenue.  In this article we will explore why mistakes are made when deploying new business reps and how you can begin to solve the issue. The result will be an uptick in new logo productivity.

Why do sales organizations make mistakes in regards to hiring new business sales reps?

  1. Not fully understanding what a hunter looks like
      • No process to identify hunters – just hoping they find one through referral or on an internal job posting.  Not likely.  Great hunters have jobs and you need to go recruit them.
      • Hiring internally – pulling new business rep candidates from service or operations is typically a mistake.  A good new business sales rep would not thrive in that type of role. These folks are more likely to succeed in an Account Management role
      • Hiring from within the industry – unless you are substantially behind your competitors, why would you hire the talent that failed with them?  Why would a great new business rep leave a competitor to come sell for you unless there was an issue?
      • Putting too much weight on referred candidates – while referrals are typically more successful employees, being referred doesn’t have anything to do with a candidate’s ability to persuade, handle objections, negotiate, and be resilient.
  2. The comp plan isn’t hunter friendly
      • Mainly base and little commission – great hunters want high risk/high reward comp plans that allow them to make a lot of cash if they blow it out
      • Doesn’t reward new logos – if you pay based on revenue stream and don’t incent opening new store fronts you may miss the boat
      • Capped Plan – no great hunter will accept a capped comp plan.  Why would they?
  3.  Value culture fit and industry knowledge over role competencies
      • I am not disregarding culture fit and industry knowledge as unimportant, but these alone have nothing to do with a candidate’s ability to go get business.  You need someone that has shown past success hunting and has the desired competencies.  Examples: Persuasion, Drive for Results, Resilience, Objection Handling
  4. Great hunters can come with some perceived baggage
      • Greed – hunters are typically financially driven.  They want to focus on new business sales and get paid.  They may not be as interested in collaboration or customer profitability
      • Sell and cut bait – great hunters don’t want to manage accounts that aren’t producing new business for them
      • Not Ops friendly – great hunters may cause some friction between sales and Operations because they want to sell everything.  Remember, they love the conquest of bringing somebody from No, to Maybe, to Yes.  You will have to provide the rails they can work within and redirect at times.  Your Front Line Sales Manager should help manage the relationship with Operation
  5. Lack of proper role support
      • You want new business reps focused on selling.  To ensure this is the case, they will need proper support from marketing, during the post-sale transition, and after implementation
      • Hunters are asked to manage existing relationships – this creates a lack of focus and corrupts the hunter job. This is a mistake

How to Make Your New Business Number:

  1. Develop a clear hunter role profile including the job description, scorecard, and competency profile   
  2. Define your hiring process for hunters.  This should include a sourcing plan, job tryout, and reference check
  3. Make the comp plan hunter friendly – high variable pay component with no cap
  4. Understand the leadership style and support necessary – hunters need help getting deals approved.  This typically involves more effort because the new customers don’t have a track record with your organization
  5. Focus hunters on hunting only.  Utilize marketing, remove admin functions, and transition accounts to Account Managers as soon as possible.  Focus = improved productivity

Hire the right talent for the new business role and you will see a drastic improvement in new business results.

hiring sales


To Discuss how these Solutions will add value for you, your organization and/or your clients, Affinity/Resale Opportunities, and/or Collaborative Efforts, Please Contact:

Tom McDonald,; 608-788-5144; Skype: tsmw5752

hiring sales, McDonald Sales and Marketing, LLC