We all know success will be a team effort. So you send your best reps into the battle. But what if you don’t have enough “best reps”? Simple. You hire more.


That may not seem so simple. But what if you had a defined process for bringing in the right reps? That’s what we’re going to discuss in this post. We’ll talk about how to hire pros who can get the job done as the U.S. basketball team performed in the Olympics. We will walk through how you identify, attract, and retain Kevin Durant-like sales talent.


Get out in front of hiring needs. Be prepared to put talent in place when a need arises.


We’ve identified seven talent strategy essentials. They are: profiles, assessments, sourcing, hiring, on-boarding, talent development and succession planning.


It’s difficult to grow revenue faster than your industry’s growth rate and faster than your competitors. Leverage the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook to access a revenue growth methodology to hit your number quarter after quarter, and year after year.





The seven essentials all are action items. They’ll help you bring in revenue-focused people who can get you to goal.


But it’s not enough to know what the seven are. Each is a separate entity with plenty for you to consider. In the end, they fit together into a unified whole: your talent strategy.


Talent Strategy 1: Create Sharply Drawn Profiles:


How would you describe the A-players for every vital revenue-growth role? Others, including HR, have their own ideas. Differences in definitions lead to lack of sustainability and scalability – and larger performance variations.


Combat that through process. Establish responsibilities and expectations. You need to be clear on these points:


  • Who defines the hiring profile?
    – Using one hiring professional brings consistency to the process.
  • How many unique profiles does your organization need?
    – Create one profile for each revenue-generation role — not each job.
  • How do you communicate the profile in a job description?
    – Clarity counts above all — the clearer the communication, the better your candidate pool.


Talent Strategy 2: Make Your Talent Assessments:


Evaluate your corporate, product, marketing and sales teams against your profiles. Strengths should stand out. But any gaps or weaknesses should also come into view. Once you see them, you can address them.


Here are key points for this phase:


  • Who is responsible for assessing talent?
    – The sales leader is in the best position to identify top talent.
  • How can you be consistent in assessments across all teams?
    – Becoming familiar with the profiles helps keep consistency in place.
  • What will you do with findings of strengths and weaknesses?
    – Coaching to reinforce or correct specific areas can be effective.


Talent Strategy 3: Go to Your Talent Sources – Now, not Later:


Get out in front of hiring needs. Be prepared to put talent in place when a need arises. And anticipate those needs. Have a constant supply of talent at hand. Get your “A” players lined up and ready. Find them in your organization and outside.


Here are important areas of focus:


  • What are your current sourcing needs?
    – To determine this, stay aware of morale, impending retirements, job performance
  • What’s your estimate of future sourcing needs?
    – Base this on projected company growth and attrition rate.
  • How do you shorten the time to fill a position with an “A” player?
    – Develop and implement a first-rate on-boarding program.


Talent Strategy 4: Test Talent Before Hiring:

Standard hiring practice is out of date and unreliable. Going with your gut is guesswork. Instead, challenge candidates to demonstrate they’re “A” talents. Present them with situations similar to those they’ll face in the job.


In hiring, know:


  • Who runs the hiring process?
    – Conventional wisdom suggests it’s HR, but it could be the hiring manager most directly involved.
  • Who is responsible for making the hiring decision?
    – This could be a joint decision of HR and the business unit director or manager.
  • How will you sell the candidate on coming aboard?
    – Explain that hiring is conducted carefully here, and offers go only to the best.


Talent Strategy 5: Make the Most of On-Boarding:

An investment in on-boarding pays dividends. You want your talent to get up to speed quickly. You don’t want opportunities lost while your talent gets ramped up. You have a number to make.


Ramping up is a vital concern. Here’s where to focus:


  • How do you use onboarding’s lessons to develop a ramp-up plan for the future?
    – Pay attention to successful and unsuccessful methods; they clarify do’s and don’t’s.
  • Who is responsible for ramping up a new employee?
    – Have a designated individual; this will get easier going forward as you see what works.
  • How long does a ramp-up really take?
    – That depends on the employee — and how well-defined your process is.


Talent Strategy 6: Time for Talent Development:

Once you’ve got great players in place and ramped up, look to the future. For every member of the revenue-growth team, develop an Individual Development Plan. That way, they keep pace with the field and ahead of the competition.


Build up your team’s leaders by focusing on:


  • How is talent developing relative to the market, buyers and competition?
    – You can see how top performers engage with customers and the company.
  • What training does your team need?
    – This could range from new equipment introductions to people skills coaching.
  • What is the role of mentors in developing talent?
    – Mentors are key players in every situation, from office machine questions to judgment calls.


Talent Strategy 7: Look Farther Into the Future – Think Succession:

People come and people go. If a leadership vacancy occurs, it can derail your progress toward your revenue goal. Think ahead to what you would do in that case. Who would you put in an important role?


Succession planning is readiness to keep the company operating at its peak. Key considerations are:


  • What performance management programs are in place to develop future leaders?
    – This is where your individual performance plan pays off by raising top employees’ profiles.
  • How do you identify internal staff for succession planning?
    – Staff who consistently exceed goal are prime candidates.
  • How will you transition people into their new leadership roles when it’s time?
    – Make colleagues aware of the change, provide mentorship throughout the process.



Within these core principles, you have room for interpretation and creativity.


Apply these seven essentials. You’ll strengthen your existing staff. You’ll add more top performers. You’ll position your team to bring that 2016 number home.


Take action.

Photo Credit: A.RICARDO / Shutterstock.com

RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL – Durant in the match USA vs SERVIA for Basketball OLYMPIC GAMES 2016



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.

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