We’re often asked…


What information should you collect about the prospect?


Is the new sales hiring decision a single person’s call?


A great hire or a dud comes down to digging into these two questions. Miss these and you’ll not get a full perspective of the prospect.


Your first step is collecting a complete picture of your prospect. You accomplish this with effective interviews and asking the right questions.


Smarter interviewing with a round-robin approach

Several people will interview each candidate across these fit dimensions. You certainly will learn a lot in the process. Try to avoid an emotional connection a single person might have with a candidate.


To mitigate any bias, you conduct an interview round-robin.


These interviews each explore different aspects of the competency, cultural, and performance fits. Let’s briefly explain the “fits” for candidate evaluation.


  • The competency fit – an alignment of skills to the job requirements.
  • The cultural fit – a understanding of personality aligned to company culture.
  • The performance fit – an evaluation prior sales against current job metrics.


All of which leads to identifying “who pulls the trigger” on the hiring decision. Many decisions depend on the prospect’s fit.


Next, we’ll outline why competency, cultural, and performance fits are critical.


The “Competency Fit” weeds out bloated resumes.

During the talent evaluation process, your sales team must be involved. They can complement the HR process by having two or three sales managers each do an interview. Each might cover a different set of questions.


Our team has uncovered 72 competencies that apply to different scenarios and organizations.  We’ve creates an outline that align these competencies by function and role.  Download and keep these tool handy when evaluating candidates.  


Click here to download the Scenario-based Competency Interview Guide.


Each gets a different perspective of the candidate this way.


Remember, the more senior sales managers have the most valuable experience. You may have a sales executive with a good track record of evaluating his own sales talent. Let him keep doing it.


The “Cultural Fit” weeds out personality conflicts.

Interviews are in person. You rotate through candidates. You will get a perspective of the candidate’s true personality this way. The best person to evaluate cultural fit is a sales director or even the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).


The CEO is tenured, with a deep understanding of the company. They’ve worked with many sales associates. They’ll know quickly if a candidate will fit company culture.


The “Performance Fit” weeds out the liars.

The performance fit boils down to the metrics, targets, or sales goals. Someone may fit all other competencies but they’ve never SOLD anything. Bad news.


You will want to dig into their experience and see proof of prior success. You might even experiment with a test sales campaign. Bottom line is you must know they will deliver.


So, you’ve checked resumes, conducted the Meyers Briggs test, and had the prospect “show you the money.”


What now?


Next, we’ll discuss your hiring process and how to organize the team feedback.


Effective hiring improves with the maturity of your process

Ultimately, one person makes the final decision, armed with team feedback. This is usually the immediate hiring manager. To be most effective, they can leverage a decision making framework.


This is like a feedback matrix. Not unlike, a RACI matrix or responsibility chart describing the involvement of various roles in completing project tasks.


A feedback matrix captures details about who, what, and why decisions were made for each candidate. It also describes how the person actually performed during the different interviews.


All these details add together for a clear picture of the sales candidate. Once packaged and delivered, these details really help the person making the final hiring decision.


The final hiring decision comes down to the one pulling the trigger.

The task of hiring a great sales associate must not be delegated to a single person. You form a small group to help evaluate the right fit by competency, culture, and performance.


SBI bases its proven process on the Topgrading for sales team hiring. This hiring methodology evaluates talent based on your company’s competencies, cultural fit, and accountabilities.


In the end…


You do need one person (usually from sales) to make a final hiring decision.


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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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