Just like “sales” and “marketing” are not the same, “recruitment” and “selection” are fundamentally different as well. But I often hear managers use them interchangeably—an indication of a fundamental and expensive flaw in their approach to maintaining a talented sales force.
Think about a bank. Customers make deposits and withdrawals. So, it should be in your own organization. Build a talent bank. Sales recruitment is the process of making deposits to your talent bank and selection is the process of making withdrawals. Like any bank account, you cannot withdraw something you have not deposited. Accomplished managers maintain a well-stocked talent bank. They seek out highly talented sales candidates of various experience levels before they have an opening. They make deposits. When they have an opening, they simply go to their talent bank and make the ideal withdrawal.
Mediocre sales managers, on the other hand, don’t make deposits to a talent bank, but rather start looking when they have an opening. Under pressure to “fill the seat” they end up compromising on talent, experience, and skills with their new hires, and that portends poor sales performance. Coupled with the high cost of lost compensation and overhead, you have a toxic combination.
I have been consulting sales organizations for over 20 years now, and the biggest single factor that prevents them from reaching sales goals and net operating income numbers is the cost of open positions and hiring weak people. Treating recruitment and selection as separate activities and building a legitimate talent bank will help fix that.