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Profiling for Profit: Hiring the Best Sales Reps


Fredrick was hired as an appointment setter for the inside sales division of a medium-sized company. After a few months, he realized the job wasn’t a good fit and quit.

This is an example of the biggest challenge facing the rapidly growing inside sales industry–hiring and retaining quality reps.

During his presentation, “Profiling for Profit,” at the Inside Sales Virtual Summit, CEO and founder of InsideSales.com, Dave Elkington, explains how to recruit the right people for the right positions using data and analytics.

Elkington’s presentation is embedded below:


Who Are Inside Sales Reps?

Elkington says there are three categories of inside sales reps that are generally recognized throughout the industry: appointment setters, closers and account management personnel.

Depending on company size and need, there are meta sets and subsets of those categories. However, those are the major categories recruiters look to fill with the right people who can be effective quickly.

Trick to Hiring: Create a Hiring Pipeline

The trick to effective hiring is using data. “You need to treat your hiring process like a sales pipeline,” Elkington said. “What that means is that you need to analyze the key steps in the sales pipeline, facilitate optimal processes and know the right data at each stage.”

Hiring the Right Salespeople

The applicant pool should be narrowed down as much as possible before the interview process starts. People in leadership roles usually conduct interviews: sales managers, sales directors, VPs and even executives. Using their time is extremely expensive. If a company invests leadership time heavily in the interview process and the hire rate from the initial interview is around 5 percent,  that’s money, energy, time and opportunity costs lost that could have been used sourcing new revenue and customers.

Instead, create a pipeline of candidates with the steps below:

1. Gather Applicants

Just like at the top of the sales pipeline, the hiring pipeline starts with gathering a broad group of applicants. This is the data collection step, and companies should aim for a broad net of applicants who have had successes at various stages across different industries to get a good sense of who they are looking for.

2. Collect Information to Qualify Applicants

Score applicants based on their resumes, background and LinkedIn profiles. Determine how likely they are to be successful in your environment.

A company may start with roughly 600 applicants. The scoring process should narrow that pool down to 80-100 potentially qualified people.

3. Hold Open Houses

Those who made it through the scoring process should be invited to an open house where they are able to explore opportunity within the company.  This process should narrow the pool down to 40-50 who are a good fit.

4. Administer Personality Assessments

Personality assessments can be a valuable tool for filtering applicants before the interview process begins.

Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment

The Myers-Briggs personality assessment has four key categories of personalities.  Those four categories are broken down into 16 sub categories.

InsideSales.com had its clients’ sales reps take the Myers-Briggs assessment.  The company found that most of the reps are caregivers and guardians.  The caregiver has a lot of loyalty built in. They are good citizens. These people have a well-developed sense of space and function.

There Is No Such Thing As An Ideal Sales Rep

InsideSales.com then analyzed the results for the ideal rep and found there is not one ideal sales personality. However, certain personalities are better at different sales positions than others.

Best Appointment Setters

The inspirer and the protector are the most effective at higher volumes of dials.  These people are who you want for appointment setting positions.

Protectors are forcibly quite, sensitive and tend to stick to things until they get done. They are concerned about other peoples’ feelings and have a well-developed value system.

Protectors are ideal if you sell a product that is a lower dollar amount or if you are looking for someone to handle more intimate situations. They are also good at dialing or doing preparatory sales support.  Motivate these people in a way that makes them want to stick around for a long time.

Highest Closers

Executives and visionaries close at the highest rates.  If they are given 10 deals, they are going to close more of those 10 deals than anybody else regardless of size, urgency and timing.

Executives are very outspoken. They are driven to lead. The have the ability to understand difficult organizational problems. They create solid solutions. They are well informed and good at public speaking.

The visionaries are creative, resourceful and intellectually quick. They get really excited about new ideas and projects. These are the people who drive the bigger opportunities.

Best Under Deadline

Judgers are more consistent with deadlines.  These are the reps who thrive under a time crunch and are best motivated by frequent deadlines.

Persogenics

InsideSales.com also tested the Persogenics profile tool to see if the results were similar.  We found that almost any personality test reveals very similar results.

Persogenics has four personality categories: dominant, analytical, expressive and amiable. Dominant personalities are the drivers.  Amiable personalities are peace makers and process people. Analytical personalities are more detailed oriented.  Expressive personalities are extroverted and engaging.

Most Sales Reps Expressive Dominant

Most sales reps are expressive dominant or dominant expressive, meaning that they are extroverted, driven and very outgoing.

Assertive vs. Responsive

Persogenics also measures the assertiveness and responsiveness of a person. Assertive personalities are very outspoken communicators. They make quicker decisions. Responsive personalities prioritizes people before tasks. They are relationship and time oriented.

Most sales reps and also the most effective sales reps were higher on both the assertive and the responsive scale.

On the other hand, service employees are not very assertive, but they are responsive. Technologists are not assertive and not responsive. This is who we want them to be.  We didn’t hire them to close deals.  We want them to build technology.  Most executives are high in both categories.

Personality tests enable recruiters to narrow the large applicant pool down to a few candidates who are ideal for the position.

Applicants are interviewed, the interviews are assessed and the best person for the position is hired.

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2 thoughts on “Profiling for Profit: Hiring the Best Sales Reps

  1. Great article, Brittany! I just wrote an article on the Radius blog about how sensing/intuitive types can sell to their opposite dichotomy, so this is particularly poignant.

    How interesting that sensors are significantly more effective at making calls than they are at closing. I wonder if any organizational practices or other company-specific factors make an impact as well. We’ll have to test it on our team!

    Also curious about where the executives fall on the chart.

    • Thanks, Lisa. It is really interesting research. You should watch Dave’s entire presentation. There is so much great information, and I could only touch on part of it. I would be very interested to see what results your team turns up. Interestingly, the research found that executives are typically both highly assertive and highly responsive.

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