Every quarter we run an informal dinner bringing together 12 to 15 sales leaders to openly discuss their challenges and share their best practice and industry trends with their peers in a relaxed environment over some nice food and wine. Here’s a roundup of key discussions:

Rewarding graduates in line with their development is key to retaining them

Investing in the graduate talent pool is seen by many sales leaders as a remedy to the skills gap but there are still issues with this approach. Guests cited examples where they’d taken on raw talent, invested in their training and development only to see them leave after 18 months. One way round this was to increase their salaries in line with their own growth and therefore value to the business. Assuming they should be ‘grateful’ for the job opportunity and the investment you’ve put in is rarely enough. Is this a view point you agree with?

Training people on running interviews and competency based questioning is essential

Everyone agreed that assessing people on gut feel or how they come across resulted in poor decision making – missing out on people, or worse still, hiring the wrong person. Understanding competency based questioning and exploring answers to hypothetical situations gave greater insight into a person’s potential and ability to do the job. But it requires regular training of your sales managers. How well trained do you think your interviewers are?

Candidates considering an offer of employment from you can now read the reviews written by your past employees

Slow decision making and lengthy recruitment processes remain a barrier

All dinner guests were able to cite examples of where they had missed out on candidates because of slow decision making and lengthy recruitment processes. Some are looking at reviewing their processes, whilst others insist all are necessary to hire the right people for their businesses. How streamlined are your decision making and recruitment processes?

How to identify potentially ‘lazy’ sales people at interview stage

Everyone agreed that hiring a potentially lazy sales person had a detrimental effect on the business but all were able to cite examples of where it had happened. One tactic favoured was exploring a person’s energy and commitment to their hobbies and outside interests. Other sales leaders liked to give short notice for interview tasks to see how a candidate responded and the amount of effort put in. How do you identify hard working sales people at interview?

Social review sites like Glassdoor are changing perceptions on employer branding

Half the sales leaders were aware of Glassdoor reviews and the other half were likely Googling it the next day! Candidates considering an offer of employment from you can now read the reviews written by your past employees. Topics covered often include culture, salary levels, bonus schemes, management style and training initiatives. This is unlike any other social review site and is changing perception on the importance of employer branding. Have you been reviewed on Glassdoor yet?