How to hire the best inside sales people
Don’t be quick to hire anyone that doesn’t know his or her number. Exceptional sales professionals always know their numbers
Everyone knows how difficult it is to find good Inside Sales Representatives. It’s tough out there. The numbers of resumes a hiring manager has to sort through can be daunting. How can you tell if a candidate is exceptional? How can you, the hiring manager, be sure that you are making the right choice? If you want to hire Inside Sales people, there is a sure fire way to separate the so-so candidates from the exceptional ones. Exceptional candidates know their numbers.
The numbers, I am discussing here, are metrics that Sales Managers call Key Performance Indicators or KPI’s. A Manager’s performance rating is, in most cases, tied to KPI’s such as pipeline growth and quota achievement.
What are the KPI’s for an Inside Sales Professional? KPI’s will vary, based on whether they do Teleprospecting or carry a quota. For example, if you, the hiring manager, want a Teleprospecting Representative (TPR) to focus on lead development, their KPI’s might include the following:
• Average Daily Dials: If the product is a high ticket complex solution that requires your TPR to have a conversation with a Senior IT professional, you should expect the call output to be between 40-50 dials per day. It takes dials and time to get past gate keepers and to get referrals into the correct IT contact. If, however, your product is a lower-priced commoditized solution and they can speak to a lower-level IT person/or business manager, your TPR may be able to make 60-100 dials per day. Exceptional Sales candidates will know their average daily dials.
• Marketing Qualified Leads (MQL’s) to Sales Qualified Leads (SQL’s) Conversion: Marketing Qualified Leads are the leads that marketing provides your team, each day. Depending on the type of solution and contact level your TPR must reach, your MQL to SQL conversion should be in the range of 10%-20%. If you don’t know these numbers check the conversion statistics for your team, over a 4-week period. See what the average is and report the information back to your marketing team. If the conversion is below 10%, you may want to reassess your lead generation strategy and determine how to get better quality MQL’s. Once you know your MQL to SQL conversion, you’ll be able to forecast your pipeline and revenue growth. Exceptional Sales candidates will know their MQL to SQL conversion ratios.
• Cold Call Ratio: Sales Managers are, typically, very interested in Sales Representatives who are not afraid to make cold calls. In general 20% of dials should be cold calls into target accounts. Exceptional Sales people will be able to communicate their cold call strategies and metrics.
• Contact Ratios: Dials and lead conversion are interesting to Sales Managers because Sales is a numbers game. The more dials a Sales Rep makes and the more leads they qualify, the greater the chances are of successfully meeting sales targets. A very important KPI is the contact ratio number. For example, if the daily dial average is 50, a Sales Rep should expect to connect with a minimum of 5 important contacts, or 10% of their dials. Ten to fifteen percent of dials should be with key contacts that can help move the sales activity to the next level or stage in the cycle.
Exceptional Sales candidates will not only know the contact ratios, they will also know their key contacts for each position that they held.
• Pipeline Growth: Pipeline is not just for quota bearing reps. Teleprospecting Reps, who generate leads for a Sales team, will have a pipeline of Potential SQL’s. Know the Average Sales Price (ASP) of your solution. Know your team’s quota. Once you have this information, you can start to build your Potential SQL pipeline. Typically 33 percent of deals will roll off the sales forecast, 33 percent will close and 33 percent will stall. If you are supporting a Sales Team, in general, you will need a qualified leads pipeline of 6X your teams’ quota targets. Once again, exceptional candidates will know their Potential SQL’s pipeline or Teleprospecting pipeline metrics.
• Emails: Emails are another touch point that connects your sales team to prospects. Although the phone is the primary way to connect with prospects, it is often necessary to stay in touch through an email. Know how many emails you would like your team send out, daily. Emails, when added to your average daily dials, increases the total number of prospect touches your teams will have, each day. On average, your team should send about 15-20 emails to key contacts, daily.
If you are hiring a quota bearing Sales Professional, your KPI’s will include:
• Average Daily Dials
• Cold Call Ratio
• Contact Ratios
• Average Sales Price (ASP)
In addition, quota bearing representatives have a revenue quota (monthly, quarterly, semi-annual, etc.). In order to achieve quota, it is important to build a large enough sales pipeline to help your team meet sales targets.
• Pipeline Growth: Depending on the type of solution you are selling (complex, high-priced or commoditized, low-priced) you will need to build a pipeline of 3X to 6X your revenue objective. Exceptional candidates will know the size of their sales funnels and close ratios.
• Quota Achievement: Every Sales Manager should ask a Sales candidate if they achieved their assigned sales targets. Every Sales Manager should ask Sales candidates how they made their number (pipeline growth of X times of Sales Targets, X Cold Calls made per day, 50-60 Daily Dials, etc.). Even if a Sales candidate didn’t make their numbers yet they can tell you why they didn’t, they should be considered viable candidates. If they didn’t make their numbers and were within 85+ % (an acceptable range) and can tell you what they did to get to that level, they probably are a very good candidate and should continue through your company’s interview process. Sometimes products or corporate strategies prevent good sales people from making their numbers and through no fault of the Sales Rep. Exceptional candidates will know why or why they didn’t achieve their goals.
Exceptional candidates are exceptional because they produce results. Results are produced by understanding the sales process, the numbers and KPI’s required to achieve a viable sales pipeline and hitting revenue targets, every quarter. Ask about the numbers, during the interview process. Spend time with the candidates who know their numbers and quickly disqualify those who don’t