Recruiting Strong Salespeople – The Sales Candidate Pipeline

salespipelineRecruiting Salespeople – again?

Yes.  I cannot write enough about this!

But, as usual, I’ll address recruiting from a slightly different perspective this time – the candidate pipeline.  Not to be confused with the candidate pool which is simply a single component of the pipeline.

Your sales pipeline should have four stages:

  1. Suspects (1st meeting scheduled)
  2. Prospects (need, compelling reasons, SOB Quality)
  3. Qualified Opportunities (fit, timing, spending, decision making, process, criteria, etc.)
  4. Closable Opportunities (committed to buying from you)

Your Candidate Pipeline should have the same four stages:

  1. Suspects (sent a resume – the candidate pool)
  2. Recommended (by the assessment)
  3. Qualified (for a face to face interview)
  4. Closable (you want to hire them)

Based on a specific salesperson’s KPI’s, each sold account/order could require that there be 2 closables, 4 qualifieds, 6 prospects and 9 suspects in the pipeline.  If the company requires 3 sold per month, then the pipeline should contain 6 closables, 12 qualifieds, 18 prospects and 27 suspects at all times to guarantee that the salesperson over achieves the monthly requirement.

What does it take to hire a single strong salesperson?  (and we are defining strong as meeting all of our sales capability requirements, your selling environment requirements, your sales experience requirements, your phone interview requirements, your interview requirements and your selection requirements.)  No compromises!

Using actual data from the last 3 recruiting projects that I personally conducted, your sales candidate pipeline, for each salesperson you wish to hire, should include:

  • 102 Suspects
  • 42 Prospects
  • 9 Qualified
  • 3 Closable

The last time you hired 1 salesperson, how did your candidate pipeline compare?  Did you have fewer Suspects and Prospects but more Qualifieds and Closables?

This is very simple.  If you don’t really care about hiring a strong salesperson, the best salesperson, the ideal salesperson or the perfect salesperson, pay no attention to my data.  But, if you’re tired of salespeople who take too long to ramp-up, fail to consistently achieve and over achieve, or just flat out fail, ask yourself how your sales recruiting process must change in order to change the results it yields.