Talent, fit, experience. All extremely important factors to consider when you are working to fill an open position. But where do you start?
A strong talent bank will be filled with a wide variety of people. Rookies. Veterans. Unique personalities. Those much like you. What is the most important thing to consider when you have the golden opportunity to fill an open position?
And here’s why:
1. Talent is relatively cheap. Experience is expensive.
When you hire someone with an impressive resume, you are paying for what they have already done. It’s hard to know what may have influenced their success and whether it can be replicated with you. While their success may have stemmed from their talent, it could have been a supportive manager, an outstanding list, or a series of lucky breaks instead. When you hire someone with innate talent, you are investing in their potential and in what you know they will be able to do in the future.
2. Talent is like land. You can’t create it. You can only develop what is already there.
While you can give someone experience and train them to master critical skills, you can’t teach talent. So you have to hire it.
3. The difference between your very best salesperson and your average Joe is mind-blowing.
Talent is defined as “the capacity for achieving excellence; a natural ability.” A strong talent assessment will give you clear insight into an individual’s thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, telling you how they are innately “wired” and their potential for excellence. When you have access to an instrument that can accurately predict a person’s future behaviors and their level of excellence in the role, why go in blind?
4. A person can get ten times better in an area of talent…but only 10% better in an area of non-talent.
Humans are resilient, and we can typically find work-arounds for our areas of weakness. If your job requires a lot of writing but you struggle with grammar and spelling, you might take classes to improve or ask someone else to edit your work. One way or another, if you work hard enough, you will probably get by—and improve by as much as 10%. Imagine if you spent that same amount of time developing an area of strength instead, doing something you love to do in an area where you have the potential to improve immensely with practice. It’s a win-win! Ideally when you make a hire, you want to match talent to task in such a way that allows your new seller to use their strengths every day and rarely have to depend on an area of weakness for their success.
5. Your management and coaching time is limited and you get the greatest ROI on your time when you spend it developing someone with talent.
Think of the best athlete or performer you know of… they have a coach. The more talented someone is the more valuable their coach! When you spend time coaching someone with talent, you will find that you both become more energized as they continually break barriers and achieve greater success. Time spent coaching someone who lacks talent will leave you both feeling frustrated.
6. When we use our natural strengths in our work every day we are happier, and happy salespeople don’t leave their jobs.
Turnover is the most maddening and expensive issues that a sales department deals with. The cost of replacement, lost training, and customer dissatisfaction is steep and the time necessary to fill a position can short-change the entire department. When you put the right people in the right jobs and you coach them to maximize their strengths, they are more productive and happier and retention rates skyrocket.
7. Highly talented people can easily spot talent in others and they tend to associate with other highly talented people. This can do wonders for recruitment!
In a performance study conducted with our clients last year, we learned that the number one way our clients found their superstar sellers was through employee referrals. Make sure you have a system in place to actively generate and follow-up on those valuable referrals. Reward strong referrals even if they don’t pan out and make sure to ask your excited new employees about their talented friends during their onboarding process.
8. Most of your competitors do not maintain a strong talent bank or hold out for talent. There is no better way to win in the marketplace than to win the war on talent.
Most sales managers know that the only way to grow a business is to recruit, select, and develop highly talented salespeople. But those responsibilities are always the first ones set aside or shelved when quotas need to be met, budgets need to be hit, and corporate is putting on the pressure. Build this kind of work into your schedule and don’t let anything get in the way. Set time aside to build a talent bank and connect with the people in your talent bank to nurture those relationships. Conduct talent assessments so you know exactly who’s out there and what they're made of. When a position comes open, you won’t have to scramble. You’ll be able to move someone off your bench and keep your focus on billing instead.
9. Highly talented people tend to expect more of themselves and they rarely feel fully satisfied with their performance. One less person to nag each day.
Those born and built for sales are filled with work intensity and drive. Intrinsically motivated to succeed and grow, they push themselves to make things happen. They naturally work long hours and they pour themselves into what they’re doing because… it’s who they are. When people tell them to “relax” it doesn’t compute! No nagging, threatening, or bribing necessary. Highly talented people who are lucky enough to be hired into a position that calls on their talents thrive. They don’t level off, they don’t want to coast, and they can’t let themselves stagnate.
At The Center for Sales Strategy we often say, lose sleep before you hire. Not after. That means a lot of due diligence and a clear understanding of the innate talents of your candidates, but that time and energy will pay off TEN fold!