How to Make Your Number in 2017


The sales talent market is very competitive.  Startups are snatching up sales talent aggressively.  Corporations are investing more in talent development.  The amount of good sales people looking for jobs is low.  The war for talent is a tough one.  Are your sales leaders doing what is required to attract the best people? As a resource, download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017. Review the latest talent approach in the sales strategy section under people plan phase on pages 285 – 293.


Your leaders have people on their team that need to go.  They know it.  But they hold on because it is easier.  They make excuses for them and avoid the tough conversations. 


The fact is that most sales leaders aren’t investing enough time in recruiting.  They wait for people to apply or for a recruiter to find someone.  This is a mistake.  Your sales leaders should be spending time proactively sourcing candidates every week.  They should also be nurturing candidates that are long-term prospects.


Everyone knows success depends on who is on the team, so why the lack of focus?  Sourcing and hiring is hard work.  It takes cold calling and prospecting efforts.  It takes a lot of time and discipline.  But the impact of adding one ‘A’ player to the team can be immense. 


Your leaders allow tyranny of the urgent to take over.  Just like sales people reacting to customer issues vs. prospecting.  Your team has to deal with all the noise coming at them.  It is overwhelming and provides an excuse to not spend enough time sourcing talent. 


To fix this issue, you have to show you are focused on it.  As the SVP, demand that you are involved in hiring.  Have a consistent process and clear ownership.  Don’t allow sales leaders to cut corners, ever.


There are six core talent areas:


  1. Sourcing
  2. Hiring
  3. Onboarding
  4. Coaching
  5. Training
  6. Ongoing Development


We will focus on a few key components of best practice sourcing and hiring.




  • Clear hiring profiles and sources. Ensure the role requirements are extremely clear. This includes the value of the role, accountability, and necessary competencies. Then determine where these candidates exist. Many leaders fail to identify the best hiring sources.  Like prioritizing accounts reps should call, managers should spend time pursuing the best candidates.
  • Have your team use LinkedIn. ‘A’ player sales people are never unemployed. Have your team find talent and sell them on why they should work for THEM. This takes time and effort. But ‘A’ players like to be wanted. They also want the truth about the opportunity straight from the hiring manager. Set expectations on what the sourcing cadence should be for sales leaders.
  • Keep a virtual bench. Your sales leaders should be nurturing talent and have an active pipeline. Inspect for this. When someone quits or gets fired, they should have a replacement ready to go.




  • Dig into the candidate’s background and character. Learn about the decisions they have made during their lives. Do they take the easy road or tough road? Do they make sound decisions? You need to understand the character of the person you are interviewing.
  • Job Tryout. It is all talk until you observe them in action. Put together a simulation where the candidate proves they can do the job. Throw them some curve balls and see how they react.
  • Competency Assessment. Make sure they have the raw skills to do the job. Without these, they won’t have a chance and you will both waste your time.
  • References. Don’t be soft with these. Ask for their last 3 direct supervisors contact information early in the process. If they can’t provide it, don’t hire them. Any ‘A’ player can find this information.


Want to get a lift next year?  Hire better people and get rid of the C players.  The concept is easy, but the execution takes discipline and reinforcement.  What would happen to your results if you upgraded 20% of your team?


Download our 10th annual workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2017 to learn how your peers are upgrading talent.  The workbook outlines a comprehensive approach to building a world class talent program in the people plan phase on pages 285 – 293. If you would like to spend some time with me on this subject, come see me in Dallas at The Studio, SBI’s multimillion dollar, one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art executive briefing center. A visit to The Studio increases the probability of making your number because the sessions are built on the proven strength and stability of SBI, the industry leader in B2B sales and marketing.


SBI's Executive Briefing Center - The Studio


Scott Gruher

Orchestrates and designs the perfect project strategy, one engagement at a time, to ensure that every SBI client makes their number.

Scott joined SBI in 2010 with years of hands-on experience in sales leadership and enterprise selling. Since his arrival, he has helped dozens of organizations dramatically accelerate growth, from Fortune 10 organizations like Phillips 66 to fast-growing cloud service organizations like InfusionSoft. Scott specializes in cross-functional alignment. He helps leaders align around the growth goal and design the right processes to bring the strategy to life. His unique combination of real world experience and a pragmatic approach to problem solving have made him one of SBI’s most demanded resources.

Read full bio >