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You have a shortlist of candidates for your next sales leadership position. Choosing between candidates based on a few interview meetings is risky. You must understand how the candidate’s leadership skills and strategic thinking will apply to your context. The solution is to invite your top sales leadership candidates to present a sales plan for the organisation.
There are a few reasons adding a sales plan presentation to the process of finding the right Sales Leader for your organisation can help you to make a good hiring decision.
1. You Can See The Candidate In Your Company’s Context - Asking a candidate about their past sales leadership experience is helpful. For example, you can learn about their strategy to coach salespeople. However, each company’s sales situation is different.
For example, your company might need help retaining skilled salespeople. A Harvard Business Review estimate in 2017 found that the annual turnover of salespeople can reach 27%. If high turnover is a challenge for the sales organization, mention this challenge so that the candidate’s sales plan can consider hiring and retention strategies.
2. See The Candidate In Action - For years, companies have offered free samples to consumers as a marketing strategy. It lets the customer directly experience the product. In a hiring context, some organizations give coding tests to technology professionals. It isn’t easy to simulate a leadership situation with a test. That said, seeing how each candidate thinks about the process gives you insight.
3. Speed Up The Onboarding Process - Ideally, the sales plan presentation should be something other than a theoretical exercise for the hiring process. Instead, encourage candidates to view the sales plan as a valuable document to help them onboard to the company. Further, the sales plan will help the candidate feel an immediate sense of ownership when they start because they will execute a strategy they have developed.
That said, a sales plan presentation represents a significant effort for the candidates and the hiring company. Use the following tips to fine-tune your process to make the most of this process.
1) Outline Your Sales Plan Expectations
Providing a few simple guidelines to sales leadership job candidates will make the process unfold more smoothly.
2) Limit The Sales Plan Presentation To Your Shortlist
Sales leadership candidates are busy people, so asking them to spend several days on a sales plan presentation is a significant time investment. Asking ten candidates to prepare a sales plan presentation is unwise. Instead, we recommend only asking a maximum of three candidates to prepare a sales plan
3) Invite A Few Key Stakeholders
Having three people listen to the sales plan presentations and provide feedback is helpful. Specifically, invite stakeholders likely to interact with the new sales leader regularly, such as the CEO, head of marketing, and customer success. Inviting multiple stakeholders will also help to gauge how the candidate may interact with their future colleagues.
4) Use A 0-10 Scoring System
Rather than relying on highly complex scoring systems, use a simple 0-10 scoring system. Use the following definitions as a starting point:
A candidate who has met your other hiring criteria and scored about 7 is well worth pursuing.
Transition To Onboarding
Now that you have selected a sales leader to join your organisation use the sales plan document as a resource during onboarding. Provide your new hire with additional sales data like customer lists, sales statistics, and sales representative performance reviews. With this additional data, the new sales leader can fine-tune their sales plan and start to grow revenue.
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