Our research shows that 46 percent of hires fail within the first 18 months on the job. Why? It comes down to a number of factors—from simple incompetence to misunderstanding the role—but possibly the most crucial is strategy.

If no recruitment strategy is used, you might as well fire paper plane job advertisements across the city and hope for the best.

Lack of a recruitment strategy is one of the most critical mistakes CEOs make when it comes finding top sales staff. For sales recruitment to be effective, the right parameters, a proven approach and a good process to determine skills and compatibility is needed—just like science. And like science, your recruitment strategy should not be influenced by perceptions or feelings.

The science of recruitment

Science is methodical, and the same should go for your recruitment strategy. To find team members who are able to deliver peak performance, you need to:

  • Define parameters and variables: clearly define the position and the unique selling profile within your sales team.
  • Follow proven methods: such as the SalesStar recruitment process, which uses the award-winning Objective Management Group’s Sales Assessment Tool, to narrow the field of potential candidates and identify those with the best mindset for the job (to an accuracy of 92 percent!).
  • Eliminate the outliers: choose the right questions to ask candidates to learn if they have the attributes to succeed in the position.
  • Have processes in place so the science can be replicated again and again: this will help streamline your recruitment strategy so everyone is on the same page. It also makes for quicker onboarding and lowers the time your business is at reduced capacity.

Mindset matters more than skill

As sales is still very much a candidate-driven market, it is imperative that either more flexibility is granted when hiring, or that there are adequate upskilling and development opportunities in place. Without these elements, most organisations will struggle to discover an effective recruitment strategy. After all, 80 percent of a salesperson’s success comes down to mindset, not learned sales skills.

The fact is only 26 per cent of people have the skills to succeed in sales, and salespeople with the right skills can often be uncovered in individuals who may not immediately be seen as potential candidates for a position. This is, in part, because hiring managers focus on their initial perceptions, rather than using science to find the right sales talent.

Identifying candidates with the right mindset can be difficult, and it’s where tools like the OMG Sales Assessment Tool come into their own. While the OMG Sales Assessment Tool can identify skill, it places more importance on mindset and whether a candidate has the desire and commitment to sell, a positive outlook and is able to take responsibility.

Keep it short

A prolonged, onerous recruitment process could end up costing you quality candidates. As mentioned above, sales is a candidate-driven market and if a high-achieving salesperson does become available, you can guarantee they won’t be around for long.

Keep your recruitment process functional, practical and with candidates in mind. After all, you want to secure the very best before they get snapped up by the competition.

Be proactive

On average, salespeople move on every two years. Most of the time organisations are only interested in recruitment when an employee leaves and end up rushing the process. Moreover, you will only be able to attract the candidates that are currently available at the time.

Avoid the rush and instead cultivate a “candidate bench”. And, of course, be on the lookout for your next A player. Remember, recruitment is a journey, not an event.

The importance of retention

Retention is also a crucial tool for recruitment. If a salesperson doesn’t feel the need to leave an organisation, there’s no need to use time and resources to fill their position. This means that sales leaders need to understand why their employees might want to move on—to progress their career for example—and find ways to negate the desire to leave.

The next time you find yourself needing new hires, use science and a robust recruitment strategy to make sure your sales team is resourced with the appropriate level of skill and expertise.

This article was originally posted on SalesStar.com. Ventas Sales is a Certified SalesStar Partner. For more information click here