Hiring the Right Sales Team: Luck or Skill?

Just what IS the secret to recruiting, hiring, and developing a good sales team?

holistic hiring the right sales teamGreat sales people change the game and can be the key to the success of any company. Even companies with innovative products and services can fail without a solid sales team to sell, support them, and help the organization achieve their financial goals.

If your strength isn’t hiring, developing, and maintaining a great sales team, your pipeline will dwindle and growth efforts will stall altogether. So what is the secret to recruiting, hiring and developing a good sales team? Do you rely on luck or a defined and sustainable process?

Why hiring the right sales team is hard

Let’s face it. Getting the right sales team on board is why many organizations choose to outsource some or all of their sales to sales enablement companies that do “get it.” What’s their secret? I’ll give you a hint—it isn’t luck.

You have two fundamental paths to evaluate sales people:

A.    Most often, sales managers are disjointed from some or all of the hiring process. This leaves recruiting teams that may not be sales minded to find brand representative candidates upon which your company’s success is placed. And without knowing the prospective talent pool for the respective target market and customer, some recruiters tend to take a long time and only rely on technical analysis of quantifiable data like degrees, GPAs, test scores, and the like.

Will this unfailingly produce the right candidate?  No – because you know that a test, degree, or score does not the sales person make. To quote a med school joke, “You know what they call the person with the lowest graduating GPA in med school? A doctor.”

Passing on a fantastic candidate because they don’t fit the defined criteria can result in missing that high-potential sales person.

B.    The best sales teams are built on holistic analysis utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data. Even Google agrees on this approach.

Laszlo Bock, Sr. VP People Operations at Google said:  One of the things we’ve seen from all our data crunching is that G.P.A.’s are worthless as a criteria for hiring, and test scores are worthless — no correlation at all except for brand-new college grads, where there’s a slight correlation.

Google famously used to ask everyone for a transcript and G.P.A.’s and test scores, but we don’t anymore, unless you’re just a few years out of school. We found that they don’t predict anything. What’s interesting is the proportion of people without any college education at Google has increased over time as well.

So we have teams where you have 14 percent of the team made up of people who’ve never gone to college.”

What hiring practice gets best results?

There is no perfect way to predict the outcome of a new hire.  However, a holistic approach that allows you to know and evaluate the individual as a collection of personality, experiences, and accomplishments is the best way to find a great culture fit and a productive individual.


MarketSource has spent years developing our processes to find the very best field sales-minded individuals with the experience, talent and skill specific to each of our client programs. Partnering with global staffing leader, Allegis Group, and developing specialized recruiting groups gives us the upper hand at delivering the best candidates possible to the field. This is why we are known for being a sales-first organization, and why year after year, our clients rank our sales skills as one of the most valuable advantages we bring to the table.