A different view on interviewing sales people

A different view on interviewing sales people


Recruiting by pattern matching leads to a lot of churn, especially in startups. "Gee, she was a Senior Account Exec and hit 130% of quota at <Google, Microsoft, et al.> so she should hit 100% here at our startup with only 3 customers, no models of business value delivered, no local presales person, a website that we know isn't good,......"


Having sat on both sides of the table, behavioral based questioning ** around a current sales challenge or opportunity ** seems the most fair, and the most objective.


Flip the classic script of interrogation and hypothetical stuff to see how the person will interact with YOU, at YOUR company, with YOUR team, in YOUR market.


As a discussion around recent, real sales situation(s). Let the sales exec ask questions, discuss goals & potential challenges, how s/he would orchestrate the process, whom s/he would want to help, questions s/he will ask, how s/he will qualify.


Then role play with different stakeholders on your side (business head, users, IT people, internal support at the customer, etc.) and see how s/he responds, guides, executes.


This shows how s/he approaches a challenge, leverages strengths, thinks on the fly.


Shows the sales candidate how YOU handle questions, listen, problem solve together, and what it will feel like to work with you.


"Tell me about a time when you lost a sale..." questions are handled well by any decent sales person, can't be verified without violating privacy and NDAs.


"Past performance is no guarantee of future returns." Context matters.