Should experience be the only judge while hiring sales personnel?

In short, who’d be the real asset to your company when it comes to making the final selection? After years of “Experience” in sales and having started my own sales consultancy a few years back, I think I’m in a better position to help my industry folks make an informed decision when hiring sales personnel for their organization. But before we proceed further with why experience shouldn’t be the only criteria when hiring a sales professional, here’s something that I want you to ponder on. In today’s technologically advanced world, it’s no surprise that anyone could do a better job if they are fully equipped with the right tools and methods. All you need is to find people who truly are passionate about their job, with or without experience. The new generation of the workforce is not driven by monetary rewards, they are hungry for knowledge, growth, and most importantly, recognition.

So, as long as your organization stands tall on these barometers, you’ll be able to foster a team, experience or otherwise, that provides better ROI. Now that you’ve made yourself aware of the current dynamics of the workforce and the kind of people who may be dealing with in the coming months or years, I’d like to take you through a few points that should help you make wise decisions based on factors that you may not have explored or thought about in the past. I promise to make this read a worthwhile one.

Employee Engagement

According to a recent study on Employee Engagement, only 15% of employees are engaged with their work. So even if you are rewarding your employees with all the perks and benefits that they should be entitled to, they are still actively or casually looking for a job. Retaining is an altogether different ball game with companies spending about $1.1B per year to retain experienced employees. Ouch!

Should experience be the only judge while hiring sales personnel?

Source: Accenture The engagement should not really be a problem if your organization is already providing them with the a-class employee experience. If you keep your employees happy, their engagement levels must skyrocket. But that’s not always the case, right? Why is that so? Because…. You’re not hiring the right people – and by right I mean people who are involved in, enthusiastic about, and committed to their profession. According to a report by Gallup, employees who are engaged are 27 per cent more likely to report “excellent” performance, regardless of their experience or tenure in the organization. So focusing on the workforce that’s fighting the “war of talent” and is geared up to win the “number game” is your best bet in the modern world.

Technology Dilemma

In today’s digital era, you really need a workforce that grew up with technology. Given the complex and uncertain times that we were living in, Digital Natives should make at least 40% of their team strength if you want the sales graph on the whiteboard to move in an upward direction. This generation understands the technologies, methodologies, and strategies of the modern world. They may not come with ample experience, but they are focused and fluid. Most importantly, they are equipped to handle any kind of delays, distractions, or interruptions that can negatively affect productivity. Just to give you a perspective, a high percentage (56%) of customers are likely to stop dealing with the sales professionals if they don’t find them technologically sound during or after the sales. The on-the-go pros will be the true saviours in this situation.

Tenure Curve is for Real

I recently came across a Podcast on Quantum Workplace, where they discussed the relationship between the level of engagement and employee tenure. It has been observed that the productivity is highest for fresh talents and employees with less than 2 years of experience compared to people with five, six, or perhaps, fourteen years of experience. The engagement rate goes up again for employees with fifteen years of experience. But if you look at the chart below, the “goes up” rate of productivity is nowhere close to new talent’s productivity levels. Quite astonishing, right? So if you had just hired someone with 5 or more years of experience, you might want to closely monitor their productivity. ? Description: Tenure curve – a trend that starts high, goes down, and then goes up a little at the end.

Employee engagement by Tenure

Source: Quantum Workplace

Understanding the connection between tenure and performance

Even though the benefits of hiring sales personnel with less experience are clearly mentioned in many studies and journals published across the platforms, employers still deal with underperformance on a wide scale. Studies carried out by many organizations have shown the correlation between poor performance and an organization’s training models. One poor performance from any member of the team or department can bring down the organization’s productivity by 30-40%. Hence, the question is not about whether you should hire an experienced or inexperienced person, but rather, making a decision between a high performer and a poor performer in various aspects of the job. It’s primarily the job of the Sales Manager or the Department Head to segregate team members on the basis of their performance and create training programs to direct their energy and talent in the right direction. Care about My Two Cents? Taken together, the time has come for decision-makers to consider employees not merely on experience levels, but as individuals with distinct talents, enthusiasm, and dedication to significantly increase performance and productivity. By multiplying the experience, skills, and knowledge of individuals, employers can enable a work environment well-equipped to create new insights, strategies, and even business models that have a profound effect on the bottom line.

Kennect has helped hundreds of organizations with tools and techniques designed to help them leverage the strengths of the new talented workforce with effective training models, whilst focusing on new ways to retain the tenured employees.

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