Every quarter we run an informal dinner bringing together 12 to 15 sales leaders to openly discuss their challenges and share 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:

Attracting the best sales talent has got harder

Sales leaders appreciated that interviews are the main strategy for identifying and securing the best sales talent. It’s also where candidates assess whether they’d like to join a company. It’s key that interviewers give a good understanding of the role, and clear representation of the company culture. In today’s unsure market place people are less inclined to move roles. So, companies need to be prepared to discuss their contingency plans for 2019.

Getting to know the real person

Getting candidates out of ‘interview mode’ was one of toughest but essential challenges of the process. Getting to know the real person is the best way to make sure you avoid recruiting the wrong person.

How to identify passion at interview

When looking for a new sales person passion was one of the key traits that sales leaders are looking for. And there were a number of different interview techniques suggested to identify it! A role play where candidates are tasked with asking for a £100k donation for their chosen charity helped demonstrate passion, communication skills and sales ability. Giving a presentation on something their passionate about also helped to break down barriers.

Uncovering natural curiosity

Curiosity was also identified as a key trait for any talented sales person. One sales leader suggested setting up a discovery meeting role play to assess a candidate’s natural curiosity.
Aside from personality, assessing a candidate’s sales process was also discussed as it helps demonstrate their level of detail, thoroughness and how well they communicate.

Maintaining a clear career path

Keeping sales teams motivated can be challenging. So how do you make sure your team stay in engaged? Clear communication on what is required to progress through the ranks was seen as incredibly important. Creating motivational levers for career and personal development also play a significant role in employee engagement.

Getting the money right

Basic salary is a deal breaker for many people, so staying inline with your sector standard is essential to attracting and retaining the best sales people.

Team and individual bonuses were also discussed. Some liked the idea of a team bonus structure as this create a sense of working together. This can cause resentment if some team members work harder than others.

A combination of both individual and team bonuses was suggested as an alternative. Individuals can work towards and achieve their own bonuses. Teams can be incentivised to work together by offering team experiences if the team targets are met e.g. a UK based team meeting could be moved to Barcelona when a team hits their target.