Suffering from Sales Team Turnover? Rethink Your Hiring Practices

Jul 21, 2015

Suffering from Sales Team Turnover? Rethink Your Hiring Practices

Sales employees are in a unique position. While money isn't everything, it is the reason why many salespeople go to work—to have earnings directly linked to their performance of selling products or services. But, when individuals are not a good fit for sales, or when they lack important core competencies to be successful, companies run into problems: decreased sales, decreased profits, and the high costs of sales team turnover.

Do not assume that low productivity and the resulting high turnover are inevitable. They are not. Many executives are willing to accept, as a cost of doing business, the unending expenses of recruiting, selecting, and training the continuing flow of newcomers into the sales rank. Instead, recognize that the poor productivity and high turnover rampant in the sales field are the result of faulty hiring practices.

Certain sales hiring assessments and sales tests can shed light on key core competencies found in productive and competent salespeople—the type of individuals you should be hiring to begin with. So, what should executives look for in potential sales team hires? Research has indicated that 80 percent of the essential competencies required for success in the workplace can be determined through emotional intelligence—which is far greater than intelligence quotient (IQ) or personality traits. What is emotional intelligence? It includes an umbrella of things that include emotional empathy, attention to and discrimination of one's emotions, accurate recognition of one's own and others' moods, mood management, appropriate emotional and behavioral response to various life situations, and a balance of honest expression of emotions against courtesy, consideration, and respect (i.e., possession of good social skills and communication skills).

Emotional intelligence quotient (EQ) is an individual's ability to recognize and regulate emotions in themselves and others. In practical application, it is one's ability to understand how our emotions and the emotions of others impact action and performance. EQ has no greater application than in a sales position.

Research indicates that individuals with strong EQ competencies make better salespeople. Different sales roles require most of the same competencies, but five core competencies are consistent among all sales roles.

  • Intuition and Empathy —Awareness of the prospect's feelings, needs, and concerns.
  • Results Orientation and Decisiveness —Adeptness at inducing desirable responses from the customer or prospect (i.e., sending clear communication and using effective techniques for persuasion to obtain desired results).
  • Self View —Courage and self-esteem to overcome obstacles and recover and restart from rejection as well as the ability to flourish in a social arena.
  • Self-Awareness —Knowledge of one's internal states, preferences, resources, strengths, and limitations.
  • Self-Expectations —Emotional tendencies that guide or facilitate reaching goals and having a sense of personal commitment to responsibilities (i.e., achievement-driven and having initiative).

These core competencies are essential in sales. The salesperson who knows the product or service inside and out will not succeed in the long term without possessing these core competencies.

Emotional intelligence preemployment assessments can be used to determine whether potential hires have the necessary capabilities to be successful in a sales role. ZERORISK HR specializes in assisting companies with human capital solutions for preemployment assessments; we can help you with your hiring practices, and we also specialize in posthire employee development. The Clear Direction Individual Contributor Development Program is a 6-month program that provides objective descriptions about the individuals' biases in their thinking, as well as the clarity within those biases (i.e., emotional intelligence) that allows for accurate decisions in their daily work and interaction with their peers and direct managers. By working through this program, the participant will develop greater self-awareness by working on personalized development suggestions and receiving ongoing reinforcement to encourage personal growth and development, giving employees the tools to become better salespeople. Let ZERORISK HR assist in developing your sales team.

ZERORISK helps organizations build great cultures by identifying, developing, and retaining top talent. The ZERORISK Hiring System blends a revolutionary behavioral science with state-of-the-art technology to reduce unwanted turnover and improve employee performance. For more information contact us at (800) 827-5991.

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