Verifying the sales performance achievements of sales professionals is crucial in ensuring that you are hiring candidates who can genuinely deliver results. Here are some methods to verify their performance beyond just checking references, which in and of themselves are inadequate at best in most situations.
1. Performance Metrics and KPIs:
- Request candidates to provide specific Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) they've met or exceeded, such as sales targets, revenue generated, or client retention rates.
- Ask for quantifiable achievements, like the percentage increase in sales or number of new accounts secured.
2. Portfolio or Sales Reports:
- Request candidates to share portfolios or reports showcasing their sales achievements. Ensure confidentiality is maintained.
- Look for evidence of consistent performance over time, rather than one-time successes.
3. Awards and Recognitions:
- Verify any industry awards or recognitions the candidate has received for their sales performance.
- Check the legitimacy of these awards and what criteria were used for the recognition.
4. Case Studies or Project Summaries:
- Ask candidates to prepare case studies or summaries of significant sales projects they have led or contributed significantly to.
- Focus on understanding their role, strategies used, and the outcomes achieved.
5. Skills Assessment and Simulation:
- Conduct practical assessments, such as sales pitch simulations or role-play scenarios, to gauge their selling skills and techniques in action.
- Evaluate their approach to handling objections, closing deals, and building client relationships.
6. Behavioural Interview Questions:
- Pose situational and behavioral questions to understand how they have achieved their sales results.
- Questions can include how they recovered from a big sales loss, how they approached a new market, or how they retained long-term clients.
7. Social Proof and Online Presence:
- Review their LinkedIn profile for endorsements and recommendations from peers, managers, or clients specifically related to sales achievements.
- Look for any public recognition or mentions on company websites, press releases, or industry publications.
8. Peer and Team Feedback:
- If possible, seek informal feedback from former colleagues or team members about the candidate's sales performance and work ethic.
- This can be done through networking or industry contacts, respecting confidentiality.
9. Cross-Verification During Interviews:
- During interviews, ask detailed questions about their sales achievements and look for consistency in their responses.
- Cross-check these details with the information provided in their resume and cover letter.
10. Background Checks:
- Conduct a background check (where legally permissible) to verify employment history and any claims of sales performance.
- Ensure that the background check complies with local laws and regulations regarding candidate privacy and data protection.
Remember, while verifying past performance is important, also consider the candidate's potential to grow and adapt to your organization's unique sales environment.