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:

Lack of available talent

There was a general attitude of surprise at the lack of available talent from the attendees who weren’t recruiting. The current rate of unemployment is 4%, its lowest since 1975; meaning that the best sales talent is already employed and secure in their roles, with multiple offers on the table. How do you make sure your company is the most attractive?

Best methods to find the right candidate

Finding the right candidate for sales roles is always a hot topic! Getting the best candidate with the right cultural fit can be challenging, especially in a candidate driven market. Asking candidates to demonstrate an understanding of company values was suggested as a good way to assess suitability. Agreeing what ‘good’ looks like before the selection process starts is also key. The essential skills required should be agreed up front along with any ‘teachable’ skills. An interview should be seen as an opportunity to assess someone’s ability to do the job, making sure that all essential boxes are ticked.

Change your interview process to improve diversity

A diverse workforce can increase the likelihood of outperforming against less diverse companies by 33%. Managers who continue to recruit in their own image not only limit the talent pool they’re recruiting from, but also their company’s profitability. What steps can you take to widen your recruitment net?

Everybody needs a mentor!

Both having and being a mentor are seen as positive in today’s workplace. A mentor who isn’t in your chain of command can challenge your way of thinking and working through situations, helping you strive to achieve more. Being a mentor can also be an excellent development opportunity for more junior members of the team. This also offers Sales Leaders insight into their potential to manage in the future.

Psychometric Testing’s place in the recruitment process

While Sales Leaders agreed that you can’t rely solely on psychometric testing to measure suitability they accepted it has a place in the recruitment process. It helps identify whether a candidate has the right combination of traits needed to be a successful salesperson. Gut instinct alone cannot be relied upon! Ensuring your candidates fit the company values is a good way to measure suitability.

People join companies and leave managers

In terms of management style a firm, but fair approach was seen as the best. It’s important to strike a balance between allowing a salespersons natural entrepreneurial flair to flourish and setting clear boundaries to prevent issues. Allowing freedom with clear guidelines sets expectations and helps build trust.