The problem was over 85% of this training was focused on how to coach vs. how to select. This is the key reason why the focus of the training must change; and the number 1 way to impact hiring in 2012 is master the job tryout.


ProblemOur sales force design study showed sales force turnover at just under 40%.  The average cost of a sales rep hiring mistake in 2011 is approaching 6.7 times base salary (up from 5.6). This alarming statistic will cause many sales managers and sales forces to miss their number. If you can’t select, it doesn’t matter how well you coach.


SolutionSpend at least 50% of your leadership sales training on helping the sales leadership improve their skills in picking ‘A’ players.  Some of you may be saying “yes, I know the importance of thorough interview process”. It is more than that; it is about staying current on best practices. It is about being able to explain why somebody is an ‘A’ player not just who the ‘A’ players are. 


In 2011, the number 1 predictor of ‘A’ player performance in a role was the job tryout.


leadership sales training

Job Tryout

While there is no silver bullet for talent selection, the job tryout is proving to be the best predictor of future success in a role. Here are a few tips to executing the best practices of a job/work tryout:


WhenThe  above graphic shows that the tryout is conducted late in the interview process so you only have potential ‘A’ players participating. This ensure it is not a time waste for candidates or companies.  You have to do this before the reference interview. Why? Because you can validate the performance of the tryout with past bosses. Was it a lucky day? Consistent representation of the candidate’s skills?


Wherein the setting of the job. If it will be a virtual job, have the person perform the job tryout virtually. If it is a face to face sales job, execute the tryout as an executive sales call in your company boardroom with a few people.


How—Provide the candidate with a scenario, key players, product background, business problem and potential competitors they may be faced with. Ensure people in the hiring organization act like realistic prospects/customers.


Why—all great roles involve tryouts. Actors read scripts. Athletes send tape, do physicals and run drills. Musicians play. Chefs sample their food. Why should a sales person be any different?


Call To Action


• Start this with your next requisition. You may say “I don’t have time to put a tryout together”. I would contrast this with the time and cost of filling your next role with anything other than an ‘A’ player. If your Leadership Sales Training focus shifts to 50% selection and 50% development, you will generate a higher and more consistent ROI in 2012. To learn more, download our Talent Management whitepaper.


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Matt Sharrers

Studies and works with the top 1% of B2B sales and marketing leaders who generate above average revenue growth for their companies.

Matt is arguably one of the industry’s most connected, and physically fit, sales leaders. He “lives in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. Because of Matt’s unique access to the best sales talent, private equity investors tend to turn to him first when they need to hire remarkable leaders to unlock trapped growth inside of their portfolio companies. Matt’s recent engagements include work commissioned by private equity leaders Permira, TPG, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.


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