The end of the selling year brings turnover.  You will have reps and sales managers leave your organization.  Some will be voluntary, while others were on a plan and didn’t make it.  As you look forward into next year, you need a plan to fill positions.  Waiting for the notice is the wrong approach.  Our research shows it takes over 60 days from sourcing to have someone start.  That does not include training and ramp time.  Q1 is here and you are already going to be behind. 


Turnover in your team is like death and taxes.  It’s going to happen.  You need to accept it and plan for it to happen at any time.  One way to help soften the blow is to have a virtual bench.  A virtual bench is defined as:


A prospect list of potential candidates you haven’t hired, but are actively communicating with.


If you have one in place, great; it’s time to start using it. If not, it’s time to get an alternative plan in place.  There is no time to delay.  Here are four key success factors to focus on now.


  1. Position Profiles– Assess your current top performers and build a scorecard of key competencies. Competencies are traits and skills required to do the job.  Once you have established a baseline, you can use them for developing job descriptions.  Profiles should include competencies that are relevant to the role.  Some examples would be: 


    • Phone Selling: Achieving call/connect volume; meeting phone-based communication requirements; converting cold calls to warm leads; handling prospect rejection; adapting verbal style; giving up call control. 


    • Active Listening: Capturing verbal cues; repeating back input; working with reluctant talkers; obtaining (and documenting) insight; interrupting; interacting with peers, superiors, and subordinates. 


    • Email Prospecting: Creating e-mail copy; conducting e-mail prospecting campaigns; using a “system” to scale prospecting efforts; integrating e-mail efforts with internal lead nurture and/or demand generation programs; generating new opportunities through e-mail prospecting efforts. 


  2. Compensation– Make sure that you have a competitive compensation plan designed for the role. Ensure that it meets the guidelines for your corporate budget.  More importantly, build it so you are attracting and retaining your top performers.  Match the compensation to the candidate’s experience and expectations of the role. 


  3. Sourcing– Use social media, colleges, employees and events to find good talent. If you work with recruiters, get them into the loop now.  Anticipate that you will have openings. Start utilizing your network and resources to identify candidates.  LinkedIn is a great place to source candidates.  Now is also a good time to start building your virtual bench. 


  4. Hiring/Interviewing Cadence– Build a dedicated team and recurring interview day. Mark it in your calendar and stick to it.  Create a manager rotation that doesn’t overburden your team.  Make sure you build interview questions that are tied to competencies mentioned above.  You should be using the standard set of interview questions across all the managers.  Remember, having a conversation about someone’s resume is not an interview.  After that is completed, debrief with the team and see how they scored against the competencies.  This will help you assess a candidate through multiple perspectives.  The competencies and cadence should be reviewed at least every six months. This will ensure it’s current and adjusted for changes in your business. 



Next Step

Once you have the individual hired, you can turn your attention to onboarding and coaching.  That is the next step in the talent process.  If you want additional hiring best practices, download our 8th Annual Research Report.  This gives additional insight into how to hire, onboard and coach your team. 


You will have openings in the next few weeks. Set yourself up for success next year.  Plan for it now.  Don’t get stuck with a revenue target and no one to assign it to.


Josh Horstmann

Brings a deep level of experience and insight in helping organizations develop and execute their corporate, sales and marketing strategies.

Josh specializes in helping clients solve demanding sales and marketing challenges through aligning functional strategies within an organization. He has worked with clients in manufacturing, ecommerce, software, financial services and technology sectors.


Recently he helped transform an international services company ‘go to market’ strategy, which included assessing talent, re-organizing the sales force, increasing team productivity, reducing the cost of sale and aligning the marketing and sales strategies.


Josh continues to provide thought leadership to his clients advising them on how to build inside sales teams, develop compensation programs, share best practices on social selling, transform sales organizations, drive demand generation programs and acquire and cultivate talent. Along with this he helps organizations align functional strategies.


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