Find out how you can improve your practices when it comes to hiring sales representatives from PerceptionPredict® CEO Brett Morris. Read on to find out more.
RELATED: Why You Need Data Driven Hiring…NOW!
In this article:
- The Problem with Hiring Sales Representatives
- How to Hire a Sales Team: Why You Need Data-Driven Hiring
- How to Determine the Status of Your Sales Hiring
- What a Scientific Model for Hiring Sales Representatives Looks Like
- Why Organizations Don’t Apply Data-Driven Hiring
- How You Can Implement Data-Driven Hiring
- How PerceptionPredict® Is Different
Tips for Hiring Sales Representatives
Morris majored in Geology in college. He joined a mining company for a bit, just long enough to convince him that it wasn’t the right career for him.
Afterward, he started a career in sales as a door-to-door seller. It was a means for him to travel and pay bills at the same time.
Then, he got into B2B selling. Morris also worked in promotional programs, selling and conducting selling training events.
Before starting PerceptionPredict®, he worked on what he called “technology-enabled selling.” This was during the early days when CRM and other systems were not yet fully implemented, and sales had very limited technology.
Morris worked to help salespeople understand buyer behavior and the purchasing process. This led him to venture capital, which eventually evolved to PerceptionPredict®.
The Problem with Hiring Sales Representatives
As a solutions company, there’s a big problem PerceptionPredict® continuously tries to solve — the massive economic inefficiency in sales talent evaluation.
They’ve shared the idea of using data in hiring, and it puzzled Morris why no one else is adapting this practice. Then, he understood why — it was because data-driven hiring is tough, and sales hiring in itself is tough.
One of the main reasons for this is every sales hire is a test of both novelty and complexity. The same goes for each sales interaction.
Organizations hire people to perform a role where there’s a combination of novelty and complexity in the person and in their interaction with a buyer.
It produces so many different variables, and that’s why it’s very hard to evaluate who’s going to perform well in a role.
The sales hiring profile we rely on today are resumés, experience, skills, and education. Yet, if you’re hiring an SDR who doesn’t meet all your indicators, how will you evaluate their performance?
How to Hire a Sales Team: Why You Need Data-Driven Hiring
The question is, why should organizations consider transitioning to a hiring process that’s more scientific and data-driven?
Morris and his team believe that, in order to capture the economic inefficiencies in sales talent evaluation, we need to look at attributes first. People in charge of hiring sales representatives need to understand the individuals’ performance DNA.
This means being able to determine whether or not they’ve got what it takes to perform in a specific role in a specific context.
To do that, we need data-driven intelligence that rolls up into an adaptive learning system. The more data you feed it, the smarter it gets and the more predictive it becomes.
Essentially, that is what Morris and his team did with PerceptionPredict®. They built a global software platform, which is the most intelligent of its type.
As he said, there hasn’t been a truly intelligent system that’s managed to put hiring theory and knowledge into operation at scale.
How to Determine the Status of Your Sales Hiring
If you’re like me, you might be wondering how you can quantify and check the status of your own organization’s sales hiring. For this, Morris recommends looking at your most recent sales development report.
For instance, here at XANT, we have the annual State of Sales Development Report. In our 2018 report, we indicated that for the years 2017 and 2018, our turnover rate is steady at 28%.
Morris pointed out that our turnovers are costing us money, and the same goes for other organizations. Some companies may even have a higher turnover rate.
One of the indicators that will let you quantify the status of your sales hiring is your turnover and attrition.
Morris also mentioned one of the key points in our report he found interesting — the negative correlation between compensation and quota.
This stood out to him because of an observation he made. He said there’s a belief in sales that to get people to perform well, you need to pay them better.
Yet he believes that this may not be the case.
Instead, Morris advised building a sales machine on good, steady medium producers who turn up. By “turn up,” he doesn’t mean physically, but emotionally and mentally.
These producers turn up, do a great job, hit their numbers, and enjoy the process. Although he admits that this doesn’t mean that there isn’t a blind factor to it.
What a Scientific Model for Hiring Sales Representatives Looks Like
Another important thing to know is how the scientific model for choosing salespeople looks like.
Morris said that by comparison, the tools we currently use in hiring sales representatives are “essentially all cookie cutter.” This means they lack the capacity to distinguish the unique differences that enable individual people to perform in a specific role.
Morris and his team built a software system that combines advanced human and data science, which allows them to understand an individual’s performance DNA.
Take SDRs, for example. How will you understand the complex make-up of an individual that enables them to perform an SDR role even with no sales experience?
Morris then introduced us to the first approach called “attributes.” What they do is break down the performance DNA of an individual.
Then, they correlate that dynamically on a platform real-time, with actual performance data, pre- and post-hire.
They’re continuously calibrating the model with very rich performance data. They factor in things like the introductory meetings and qualified opportunities an individual can create.
They get this data and correlate them at scale with the individual’s performance DNA.
From there, their system produces job-role and buyer persona-specific algorithms that can run on an inbound job applicant stream.
RELATED: Salesperson Skills of Top Performers
Why Organizations Don’t Apply Data-Driven Hiring
I asked Morris why organizations find it difficult to adapt to data-driven hiring. He admitted that part of the answer lies in the fact that this practice is complicated.
He also recognized that buyer behavior plays a role in this. Buyers tend to absorb processes and systems that are simple, easy, and can quickly release reports.
They also prefer what they’re familiar with. If they’ve been applying a certain process or system for a while, it’ll be challenging to make them shift.
Morris also shared with us how PerceptionPredict® was able to help their clients. They gathered data on their clients’ SDR and Account Executive teams, and within 90 days, they produced a specific algorithm.
What the algorithm does is look for the performance fingerprint of the people who’ll succeed in their job role, selling their value proposition to buyers.
How You Can Implement Data-Driven Hiring
Aside from helping organizations in hiring sales reps, their platform also offers other helpful services. It can predict pre-hire how eligible for promotion to an AE position an SDR will be.
As Morris pointed out, we’re dealing with probability. Sales leaders who are really serious about hitting their numbers can benefit from this approach.
How PerceptionPredict® Is Different
You may be wondering how PerceptionPredict® is different from other tools in the market. Indeed, coming across a lot of different offers on how you can improve your hiring process can be overwhelming.
Morris asserted that what makes them different is that the tool they’re offering isn’t an intelligent system that gets smarter the more data you feed it. Rather, it’s built on human and data science in a unique way that rolls up.
As you continue to use it, you’re also building a system that becomes “aggressively smarter.” Eventually, it will be able to identify your good, steady medium producers and your liabilities.
Another reason why PerceptionPredict® is different is that it predicts actual performance pre-hire. Here is some useful data it provides that you can use in hiring sales representatives:
- The number of actual meetings the person can book
- The number of qualified opportunities they can create
- What sort of contracts an Account Executive can write
- The dollar value of the AE’s contracts
- How well the contract will progress into the sales process
- The individual’s attributes that come into play
If you’re expanding your team and hiring sales representatives, using a data-driven and predictive process is something worth considering. It’s an effective sales hiring strategy that will allow you to find better talent more efficiently.
Even if you’re still planning about scaling your sales team, it’s great to learn new ideas on how you can optimize your process of bringing in new and fresh talent.
In what ways do you need to improve your current hiring process? Let us know in the comments section below.