If you’re managing a sales team you’re probably in constant hiring mode. Whether you’re at an early-stage startup or a Fortune 500 company, competition is fierce for high-performing sales reps. You probably know the typical traits, but here are five less-common traits that are equally important.
5 Traits to Search for When Hiring Sales Reps
1. Loves to win more than hates to lose
Sales reps with a “love to win” mindset are going to be more motivated to excel than the rep who is trying to avoid looking bad. A desire to win is a more consistent driver of success as it motivates a sales rep in both good and bad performance periods. They also won’t be content with being #2, while the less desirable candidate who hates losing may be happy so long as they are not in the bottom tier of performance.
2. Self reflective
Self-reflective salespeople will improve at a faster rate. They will constantly question their own behavior and your team’s sales strategies, because they already understand what’s going well and what isn’t. Self-reflective reps will be the best addition to your team, since they’ll naturally take a scientific approach to what’s going on around them. A more reflective rep with less experience is more valuable than an experienced rep who is less reflective – without reflection, your reps won’t improve.
3. Embraces change
Candidates who are okay with ambiguity are going to be better hires. They’ll be able to thrive with little formal sales training because they’ll be willing to figure it out themselves. Between new sales processes, changing comp plans, you name it – your reps will face change. Look for the people who can embrace these changes, rather than simply adapt to them.
4. Highly organized and process driven
Sales requires careful timing, and top sales reps have an organized system and set of processes to keep themselves constantly performing. The sales cycle already has a lot of uncontrollable factors, so the reps who can effectively manage what’s in their control will outperform the rest.
Empathetic sales reps are better at detecting how their message is being perceived. Your reps will be in constant communication with multiple stakeholders, and the reps who are able to see themselves from the perspective of their customers will be more effective communicators. They’ll have more thoughtful sales messages and make stronger connections with their clients.
While the above qualities indicate a great sales hire, they’re often difficult to quantify. I encourage every company to develop their own system of evaluation. Having a grading rubric will help your team learn over time whether your candidate evaluations during interviews correlate with the candidate’s performance.
About the Author:
Jordan Wan is the Founder/CEO of CloserIQ, the sales recruiting platform connecting top sales talent to tech companies. Previously, he was the Head of Analytics at PayPerks, Sales Manager at ZocDoc and Trading Strategist at Bridgewater Associates. Follow the CloserIQ blog for additional insight on sales strategy, talent management and recruiting.