Many readers have probably seen the movie “The Recruit”, starring Al Pacino and Colin Farrell. The movie deals with the CIA and uncovering a ‘mole’ inside the agency and is memorable for one line spoken by Pacino’s character, a veteran agent. Here’s the clip–if you want you can skip right to the line at the 2:48 mark. After viewing it you’ll know where I pulled the title for this post.
How does this relate to sales selection? From working with sales leaders for the last 24 years, when they rely too many times solely on their judgment alone and have the mindset that they’re “a scary judge of talent”, it can get expensive…fast.
Have you ever hired a salesperson who didn’t work out? Beyond the emotional costs to a sales leader’s psyche (“Heck, I thought he was going to work out. I had such a good feeling about him and he interviewed so well!”) there are also the tangible, hidden costs of a salesperson not succeeding. Here just a few:
- Time spent on first interviews
- Time spent on second interviews
- Time spent on reviewing resumes
- Time spent onboarding a new hire
- Time spent on coaching
- Fees paid to a headhunter/recruiting service
- Cost of job ads
- Cost of training
- Average annual salary of salesperson
Now if you look at these costs over the last five years of your sales force and if you’ve experienced the average turnover, it doesn’t take long for the numbers to add up.
Companies have reacted in one of two ways when faced with the costs of hiring salespeople who don’t work out. Some have remained “stuck on stupid”, hoping that their next hiring round will be different and they’ll magically find their next sales superstar. Other companies have turned to sales assessments that leverage science and take the guesswork out of making their sales selection decisions. Of course, these sales organizations have drastically reduced their sales hiring costs, built stronger sales teams and experienced more business being closed.