How Do I Hire Right?

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“How do I hire the right person for my Sales position?”

I hear this from clients, I hear this at networking events, and I hear this from every business owner I run into.  Sales Professionals are incredibly important hires because of the impact they have on a business, positive or negative.  You need to do everything in your power to hire right, because if you have an unhappy salesperson, you have unhappy results.

The downfall, it’s pretty simple: we are lazy.  We complain about our struggles finding good people, but what have we really done to change our outcomes?  Here is what I typically hear:

  • “I just want someone who sells like me. Is that too much to ask?”
  • “Sales, how hard could that job be?”
  • “They can just learn as they go along.”
  • “We need to hire someone quick.”
  • “I’ll just hire someone with experience.”

I know this is often the voice of frustration that I hear, but these are not isolated comments–I have heard them all many times.  To solve the Sales hiring problem, I go back to basics.  I ask:

  1. Who you are selling to from a target client prospective?
  2. Who are your buyers? How many buyers are involved in your decision making process?
  3. How do you qualify an opportunity?
  4. What is the sales process someone has to manage in order to successfully close the business?
  5. Finally, and most importantly, what is the culture of your business?

Target Client

Who is your best client?  What industry are they in?  What size are they?  How many employees do they have?  Where are they geographically?

Now, you should be able to answer one or multiple of these questions.  If the answer is “every company,” then you have a problem.  If you have been in business a while, chances are there are characteristics, factual ones, not just esoteric ones, you can put together.  Even if it is one or two, there are patterns in your client base.


Who are the people you sell to inside of the target companies?  What is their title?  What are they trying to accomplish?  What are the barriers that get in the way of their goals?  Often there is more than one in a business to business sales process.  Who are they?  What is different about their priorities?  How do you sell to all of them?


What are the minimal acceptable qualifications of a company you want to do business with?  Budget?  Timeline?  Complexity?  Dedicated resources?  What are the questions a Sales Professional Needs to ask in order to make a good decision on whether or not to utilize your company’s resources to pursue the opportunity?

Sales Process

Do you have one?  Have you ever taken the time to understand how to take a prospective client step by step from initial contact through becoming a client?  How complex is it?  What decisions need to be made by the Sales Professional along the way?  What resources are needed throughout the process to ensure success?

Company Culture

Who are you looking for?  Someone who comes from a big company culture and can bring some best practices with them?  Someone from a small company who understands the ups and downs of small business and can be creative and flexible?  Will a hard-charging hunter fit, or do you need a farmer who is able to build relationships and trust over time?

Put It All Together

Now, take the time to put all of these elements together, and you will begin to understand the type of Sales Professional you need to hire.  There are so few companies who look at this as part of the hiring process, but it is if you are going to hire right.  Take the time to define these elements and they will give you clarity on who you are looking for in a Sales Professional.

Don’t be lazy. By taking the time to do this, you will be on track to finding the right person, who’s going to drive the right activity, who will manage your potential client in a positive matter, and close more business.

Jack Kelly
Jack Kelly
Jack founded the Corlea Group in early 2009 with his first client coming on board in January of that year. Jack loves to coach. He coaches his clients and he helps coach his kid’s teams – it’s his passion and has been for over 25 years as a professional, father and volunteer. Why? Because he likes to help a team succeed.
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