Unbound Growth Blog

What chickens can teach us about hiring salespeople

Posted by Carole Mahoney

 9/14/19 7:20 AM

hens and hen house and sales

How many salespeople are you thinking you need to hire? It's that time of year when many startups, small businesses, and companies who are hoping to ramp up sales fast are looking at headcount. Let's get some people in seats!

But according to CSO Insights, quota attainment has been around 50% for the past four years. As a sales coach, I get asked to sometimes coach salespeople are aren't the right fit for the role and as a result, they are frustrated, their company is frustrated, and more importantly, so is their customer.

It's like my chickens.

In the spring, I bought 12 baby chicks from a local farmer. Those first 90 days are critical to making sure they are strong enough to get established; just like your onboarding program for your salespeople. After weeks of carefully feeding, watering, and keeping them clean and dry inside- they were ready to go outside to the hen house.

Now, at this point, they all still looked the same. As the weeks went by, it became obvious that not all my baby chickens were the same. Some were more aggressive, had different looking feathers, and bigger feet. It wasn't until 6 months later when I heard that cock-a-doodle-do that I realized... Oh man, I have some roosters!

Months of investment in time and food- and instead of hens that would give me eggs, half of my cute fuzzy chicks ended up being roosters that would wake me up at 4 am, harass the other chickens, and cause my neighbors to complain.

Now, there is no way to really tell whether or not those baby chicks would turn into roosters. And you might think the same of your current team or hiring salespeople. Maybe you look for certain qualities like curiosity and attention to detail... And while those are important, have they been predictive of success in the role? Have you ever seen a salesperson with those qualities fail?

Identifying the hens and roosters on your team

So how do you identify who on your team is going to be a great producer and who is a rooster better suited for a different role, and better yet- hire with the confidence that you are getting the best fit that is most likely to succeed in your company and with your buyer?

If you are a startup or small business owner, or a CRO tasked with figuring out why forecasts are off, quotas still aren't getting met, or turnover is high, there is process that is scientifically proven to increase your likelihood of a successful sales hire from about 50% to over 90%.

It starts with using predictable hiring profile criteria that is customized to align with your business model and buyer. Certain chickens are better suited for certain environments...

Next, is removing bias' from the hiring process by screening candidates with a sales role specific assessment. Using decades of data on nearly 2 million sales professionals, you don't have to rely on any single person's opinion of whether your potential sales hire is a hen or rooster.

Finally, use your interview time to determine cultural fit and further validate the assessment findings. Even the best producing hens have to get along with the others in the hen house.

Struggling with hiring?

If you want to know more about how to cut your hiring time in half and increase the likelihood of success by over 90%- check out this on demand webinar.

Topics: sales hiring

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This blog is a home for the business growth lessons that we and our associates and clients have learned from the front lines.

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