If you are expanding your team right now, in the midst of a pandemic that appears to be once again accelerating, the task can be daunting. Compound this with trying to figure out the nuances of what future sales excellence really looks like, and many companies may not be hiring well today.
While there are successful salespeople in every company, and the best are evolving their skill sets, finding one with the capacity to sell in the rapidly evolving life sciences market is not something you can expect to do well without great planning, process and precision… if you do find them. It takes a very special combination of social and remote sales acumen and cellular science to succeed in this arena.
What follows are the smartest ways to find the right sales expert for your next opening.
Make Sure There is Relevant Competency
When it comes right down to it, a sales Process divides into three stages: the value proposition, covering the bases and closing work. Finding a sales professional who basically understands what they are saying is therefore pretty easy: scan the resumes for those with academic knowledge of biochemistry-related subjects and strong sales backgrounds. This could be from an academic perspective or from previous professional experiences.
Why? Because if the experience is from an academic perspective, many scientific fields pay scales can be found wanting, leaving the graduate looking for something more lucrative. If it from previous professional experience, then they will have the necessary credibility to progress quickly with your current customer base.
Do some salespeople do well with zero technical experience? Yes, but if you are looking for someone who can “hit the ground running”, then look for a good balance between sales acumen and technical expertise.
Find a Person Who Completes the Needs of the Team
In the ideal environment, salespeople are left to their own specialties (namely, selling the product) while at the same time feeling like a part of the team. While some will remain fiercely independent, you want them engaged. Since salespeople generally don’t need much handholding, seeing how they interact with the team beforehand to ask questions, uncover where potential revenue streams can be found, and gain clarity as to how they generally participate is vital.
“The salesperson” who sits in the corner and doesn’t want to be bothered is far from the ideal choice. Also, diversity matters, so make sure you are not hiring a sales team of your clones. Differences in background, experiences, relationships and education can only add to the quality of your team.
Find Someone Who Understands What It’s About
There are many talented “generalist salespeople” who are focused on the close. Since that’s the job of a salesperson anyway, learn what they know and feel about what you’re doing in Clinical, Molecular or Genetic Diagnostics. It’s a common dictum in Sales and Marketing that “everyone needs us, and we can go anywhere”. To the degree that’s true, what you need is a salesperson who believes in your organizational goals and will evangelize to everyone.
You Can’t Teach Drive
And that is where the favorite interview question of our most recent podcast guest comes into play. “Passion, passion, passion,” says John Barrows, CEO of JBSales, who always asks potential hires, “What are you passionate about?”
We are all fond of saying past performance is the greatest positive predictor of future success. What may be even more true is to say that people will perform incredibly well when doing what they are most passionate about.
Peak Performers realize that to achieve maximum success demands their passion burns bright despite daily challenges. The true challenge is not finding passion, but rather aligning it to the job you hiring to and sustaining it. Do this, and you will increase your company’s performance, providing you countless opportunities to maximize success for the team and discovering new clients for your company.
If you wish to achieve peak performance,
· Plug into the individual’s passion, using it to fill their sails and fuel your sales
· Keep it aligned to your purpose and the call of your team, and
· Their well focused belief will catapult you to success.
Past Performance Predicts Future Success
It still remains true, even if passion may eclipse it. Especially in sales, closes are seen as victories or trophies (in some organizations people win trophies), and every salesperson will list off their trophy closes in their minds before you interview. Try to interview with a goal of finding how filled the “win” column is and how that matches your goals. Salespeople who begin to ask quota questions with positive implications are usually confident in reaching them.
They must have a set of core values that aligns with yours
When describing how he hires, Barrows also mentions his 12 personal guidelines to success. He always seeks in interviews to see that a person has a core set of guiding principles and that they align with the company.
“If you and I have a similar set of values,…we can do some really special things,” he continues. Recognize, this is essential in our remote, work from home world. Those you hire must be very clear about what drives and shapes them and have those things clearly baked into their daily work effort.
They must be coachable
John brought up a really interesting technique those of you hiring Sales Business Development Reps today might seriously consider. He asks for them to cold call him on what they sold before, give them feedback, ask them to do it again, and see if the direction is applied.
This takes the old “sell me this pen” to a new level, yet likely is a good exercise for some. Still, you do want to understand how they learn and have them indicate, throughout their interviews, they have a teachable spirit. Constant and continuous improvement, after all, will create continuous customer preference.
They must understand how to control the controllables
John closed our podcast with his EAT principles around ensuring you focus on what you really can control. It ends up being something we all should interview for, since, as leaders, I am sure we have sometimes found ourselves talking people out of a tailspin where they have spent tons of energy on something they literally cannot affect, in any way.
His EAT acrostic is this: Effort, Attitude and Treat. We have already covered effort above, and a positive attitude, especially in times like these, is essential. The T is the old golden rule, and we know this is a come to work MUST HAVE. How you treat others really does matter.
Two more essentials of the Interview Process
Conduct Reference Checks, and Do Them Early
Again, “sales and marketing” is a competitive industry where passions often run high. Check in with previous coworkers and colleagues to understand how potential employees will fit with your organization. Ask questions that are open and allow for dialogue to ensure that all claims are in fact true. Taking time now can save tremendous amounts of time and money in the future.
Be Consistent in the Interview Process
Salespeople are naturally genial people —that’s part of their job. When dealing with decent salespeople, they are naturally friendly and persuasive. While it’s ok to pick favorites, everyone on the docket should be given an even chance to make sure they work best with the team, not just the interviewer.
At CERCA Talent+, we have worked in your field as both leaders and recruiters. We know the space and the people that will help you attain your important goals. We exist to ensure you achieve Peak Performance. It is our passion.
Contact me, Scott Rivers, today: firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will begin helping you navigate the intricacies of hiring well and exceed expectations in the ever evolving life sciences market.
Scott Rivers is the Managing Director of Cerca Talent+, a talent agency for the Oncology, Genetics and Life Science Industries. Scott’s recruiting experience extends into the areas of Diagnostics, Equipment and Device, Genomics and BioInformatics. His team manages recruitment for businesses focused on these areas in all roles.
As a leader who has worked at every level of commercial, medical sales and global marketing, Scott is an intense professional who partners with organizations to fine tune talent branding. If you are a leader looking to expand your team with professionals who are focused on delivering work in which they take pride, and you can be proud of, every day, then Scott would be privileged to help you in the process. Having been a professional in the fields where you focus, Scott knows the ins and outs of the companies, the business and the customers you are working to come alongside.
Cerca Talent+ is a full-service Executive Search Firm with a strategic focus in the areas of Clinical Diagnostics, Molecular Diagnostics and Oncology, Genomic and Genetic Medicine. Our clients choose Cerca because of our deep understanding of the industries we serve. They continue to work with us based on our extensive market knowledge, vast connections and quality of results.
We Provide Top Talent to create Peak Performance. That’s a good match for any company. Partner with the group that can talk shop and gain rapport with the pros who will lead your business into the future. Email Scott Rivers today at email@example.com, or call direct at 201-594-2101, and we will begin the process of finding you Top Talent guaranteed to help you set records.