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The Center for Sales Strategy Blog

The Secret to Finding Your Next Sales Superstar

finding your next superstar salespersonSuperstar salespeople have a unique combination of talents that lead to excellence, and this combination of talents is very rare. It can be tough to find the people with all of the right "stuff" who have the potential for greatness.

So how do you find them?

The Center for Sales Strategy just completed a two-year study to uncover the most popular ways managers have found sales superstars.

We asked managers who had hired a superstar in the past few years to share the inside scoop on finding salespeople how they found them.

Here are the top 5 ways managers found superstar sales talent:

  1. Referrals
  2. LinkedIn
  3. Networking
  4. Advertising
  5. Competitors

Referrals were by far the number one way that leaders found these superstars. In fact, managers found superstars through referrals twice as many times as any other way on the list.

Your Best Sources

If you are not already consistently asking for referrals, you might want to enhance your recruitment efforts by reaching out to people you know. Consider everyone who could serve as a resource for good referrals and create a list. People who are well-connected, natural networkers who know a lot of salespeople should be on your list.

Not sure who to reach out to? This should help!

All referrals are not made equal. Our research shows that some referrals are more powerful and more likely to result in a superstar hire.

Here are the top 5 ways managers found superstars through referrals:

  1. Other Sales Managers
  2. Current Employees
  3. Networking Connections
  4. Clients
  5. Former Employees

The Secret Weapon

Once you compile your list of people to reach out to, the next step is to ask the right questions. Using a nominator process can help you do just that. A nominator system is a list of questions for each sales talent that you can ask people when looking for referrals. So, once you nail-down your short list of “must have” talents, you can ask the right questions to find those specific behaviors. It makes fishing for talent much easier instead of just asking your sources, “Who do you know who’s a good salesperson?”

If you are a client of The Center for Sales Strategy, you can find a long list of nominator questions (Nominator System) in the Resource Center’s Library on the website.

If you are trying to find someone who can solve complex client problems, you can ask something like this, “Who do you know who asks well-thought-out questions to uncover needs?” or, “Who do you know who seeks to know the ‘why’ behind a problem to get to the root cause?

Now you know where to find them, but what makes them superstars?

These sellers are not just superstars in performance; they are superstars in talent.  We did not ask our clients to only send us superstars who had strong talent assessments. It was not even a requirement that they had a talent assessment, but the people our clients sent to us were extremely talented. After we received the names of these superstars, we started researching them and found that all but one of them was recommended on the talent assessment.   

That’s really something because their managers consider them to be superstars within their first two years on the job, and many of these salespeople were newer to the business. This research shows us that the people who very quickly become superstar performers are extremely talented.   

The manager’s talents make a difference!

We wanted to learn more about the managers who found these superstar sellers, so we researched them as well. Were they talented? Did they have the natural talent that makes someone a great recruiter? Here’s what we found. 77% of managers who hired these superstar sellers have the talent of Recruiter at an intense level on their Profit Center Manager Interview which means they are naturally good at identifying talent and putting people in the right positions.

It’s a good idea to make sure that the person leading your recruiting efforts has the Recruiter talent. Managers who are naturally good at networking and identifying talent are more likely to hire superstars.

Actively seeking referrals, consistently adding people to your Talent Bank, and holding out for talent when hiring salespeople and making hiring decisions are some of the strategies that the very best managers practice regularly in order to hire the right people who have the potential to achieve excellence in the position. Finding superstars isn’t easy, but they are out there and you can find them by setting clear recruitment goals and committing to practicing the strategies that will help you to attain these goals. 

 The Talent Bank Worksheet

Topics: hiring salespeople Sales