It is critical that organizations have the talent to execute the functional strategies. Companies will make their numbers only if they place the right talent in the right performance conditions. So, what should your hiring and onboarding process look like? You must have your talent strategy in place. It will help you build a great team to lead the functional departments in the company.


This is particularly important inside the sales organization. This is one of the most talent-intensive areas. A certain type and quantity of sales people will be required to hit revenue growth goals. So, where can you find the best reps?


‘A’ Players

The first step is defining what an ‘A’ player is. This should be defined by your sales strategy. The definition is going to be very specific to the role and your company. This means every organization will have a different definition of an ‘A’ player.


Oftentimes, people think that there is one profile for a sales rep, almost irrespective of industry, or solution offering. Instead, ask yourself some important questions such as:  


  • What is the strategic value of the role to the company?
  • What are the unique competencies that are needed for this specific role?
  • What are the metrics of accountability for the role?
  • What is a detailed description of what the role will do on a day to day basis?


Once you have a profile in place, the next step is to hire these ‘A’ players. Here are some tips to ensure you hire the right rep:


  • Interview their last three managers. Are those people willing to take the time and effort to be part of a detailed reference interview?
  • Create a job trial. Artificially create a situation or scenario that they will experience as a new line sales rep. How do they act under the pressure?
  • Determine if they’ve previously been able to ramp up their game. Have they demonstrated the ability to go from mediocre to excellent in a previous role? This can either be in a professional or personal setting.


By following these steps you will know exactly what talent you need. And how to find them.


Talent Development

Once you have the right people in place, organizations must constantly develop this talent to keep pace with the market. But many times, this piece is overlooked. This is a mistake. Your talent strategy must create programs to support and enable the talent for the revenue growth team.


After the hiring process, an onboarding plan is the next key component. What does your onboarding program look like? Is it just a series of administrative events with some product training thrown in? It needs to be more than that. It needs to shorten the road to productivity by providing the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviors to perform the job. Some questions to ask yourself here include:


  • What is the manager’s role in onboarding? They need to have accountability in this process.
  • What are the interim milestones?
  • How do we use mentors to help new hires ramp up?
  • What are the key indicators that a new rep is fully ramped-up?


Once new hire onboarding is complete, employees next need an individual development plan. This will correct or reinforce necessary behaviors. Some questions to ask yourself here include:


  • How do we ensure our talent is developing as fast as the market, buyers and competitors?
  • What sales training programs do we need to develop competencies, skills and knowledge of the team?
  • What sales coaching program do we need to reinforce the right behaviors?


In the end, you need a talent strategy and program that supports the needs of the other revenue-generating functions, particularly sales. To do this, you need great talent in optimal performance conditions. If you need more help with your hiring and onboarding process, download our workbook, How to Make Your Number in 2016. We’ll guide you through the process of developing your talent strategy.


Mike Drapeau

Makes data and analysis come alive so clients can understand the “what” and “why” and design solutions that fit the environment.

Once the leader of SBI Delivery, Mike is now head of the firm’s internal talent development, so he has had the fortune to help some amazing sales and marketing leaders. He starts by earning their trust. Much of this comes from his deep base of experience. With more than 25 years in sales, sales management, pre-sales and sales operations, he’s never met a challenge he didn’t like. And with backgrounds in sales leadership, marketing, and sales operations, he shuns the idea of being a desk jockey and relishes the idea of living in the field.


Mike maintains, develops, and leverages SBI’s library of emerging best practices for sales and marketing, which leads to evidence-based solutions, custom-fit to each client. Maniacally focused on execution, Mike does not believe in giving clients fancy deliverables with no operational details. He knows that field adoption is key. After all, if behavior doesn’t change, the lift doesn’t come. Likewise, if those closest to the field adopt the solution, the client wins.

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