How to build a selection engine for hiring the best salespeople

We were joined by our friends at Teamtailor to discuss hiring the best talent at scale for your B2B tech startups. Sales for Startups’ Founder & CEO, James Ker-Reid, unpacked the topic with their Head of Partnerships, Fredrik Mellander.

(If you’d rather watch the session, click here to view the recording via our YouTube channel.)

Founders often find that they’re able to source candidates for new roles they have, but that selecting them is the hardest part (and the most valuable for getting the best people in your company).

Fortunately, there are common and proven frameworks that allow you to do that, which we’ll cover in more detail.

Fredrick Mellander, Head of Partnerships at Teamtailor, will be talking about how to take those frameworks and apply them in practice.

Why are we here?

The average spend on wasted talent in the UK for small and medium businesses (SMEs) is £125,347 a year. When you look at the over 5 million businesses that fall into that category, that is a huge loss for the industry.

That’s the equivalent of one senior role (or up to three/four individuals salaries at some businesses) being wasted every single year at each SME in the UK.

Why is that?

It often comes back to the analysis that companies are doing when it comes to justifying the hiring of these roles. They’re not necessarily looking at:

  • Goals and outcomes that this role will deliver
  • Identifying the problems at their business
  • Identifying the root causes of those problems
  • Options and assumptions – is hiring the solution?
  • Machine design – what are you building and how does this job fit?

If those questions are being answered, and the role remains justified, then we can start to build our selection engine.

The Five ‘S’ Process

  1. Scorecard, and understanding why they’re important
  2. Sourcing talent, i.e. how you attract and multiply the impact of those adverts
  3. Selecting talent, the key and the most important of the five ‘S’s
  4. Selling the opportunity, how you close the deal and sign that contract
  5. Starting*,  how you ramp up those salespeople and get them up to speed

*This is a significant topic in its own right, and therefore something that we won’t be covering in this article. If you want to learn more about Starting, check out another post by Patrick Thorp (Head of Delivery at Sales for Startups) here.

An introduction to Scorecards

Why do we have a scorecard and why are they important to our roles?

First and foremost we need to create a fair and just process when it comes to hiring that great talent.

Secondly, when we go back and analyse the process as a business, we can understand what kind of outcomes we’re actually driving towards with that particular role.

What are those three to five outcomes that that person is going to be aiming towards in their first year in the role? You can measure against that and select against that by using your scorecard.

Fredrick told us:

‘One of the biggest things you need to understand is who you want to recruit before you’re recruiting. A lot of people start recruiting, saying they’re going to find a salesperson, and start looking broadly. They think that any and every salesperson is alike and that anyone can fit the role. 

This is particularly true for early-stage companies. You need to be really frank with what goals they’re trying to achieve, what issues they’re solving, and start building those foundations before you hire. When you start digging into your company you’ll find that what you originally set out to hire may not be what your business really needs. That’s why you need a scorecard and a process to follow.

Once you’ve mapped out the role, what this person will achieve, how much revenue they will generate for the business, etc. then you can go into the next stage.’

On top of this, a scorecard represents the opportunity to set the standard within your own company. We’ve mentioned goals and objectives, but there are other parts such as values and standards which are relevant as well.

Creating a scorecard

This high-level outcome is crucial, but so are the points underneath as to where this will come from. This is where you can really understand how this role contributes and how it will affect this target. This way it’s very clear what impact this role will have. You can show it to your board or investors and really justify why you’re recruiting for this role (as well as the time and fees associated to doing so).

That, coupled with some of the non-negotiables that you may have, can be taken into a platform like Teamtailor (see the right-hand side of the image above) where you can measure against those during the process.

Fredrick added:

‘In reality that’s where it all starts. You’re doing this even prior to publishing the job, even before you’ve written the job advertisement. Why? In order to write that advertisement, you need to know who you want to hire.’

Sometimes people think of scorecards as those ‘assessment centres’ where you just have a scale from 0-9 and on the day you’ve got (say) a panel of three interviewers, asking them how they would score that person.

That is relevant but that’s not what we’re talking about measuring here. It’s not the reason that we’re talking about leveraging the scorecard hire, as this crucially ties back to the wider business.

Next up we’ll be discussing how you go about Sourcing talent effectively in order to gain maximum coverage for your role. You can access our second installment with Fredrik from Teamtailor here or, if you’re keen to jump ahead, you can access the full recording of our chat here.

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