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Stacking the Odds: Ensuring Sales Hire Success

successful hiring techniques from inspir'em

It’s often a daunting process for Founders to consider making their first sales hire. Stakes are high as Founders look to scale their business.

However - even for general hiring managers in scale ups and larger businesses - the process of considering how you make the right hire, and facilitate their success, is not always thought out as well as it should be.


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Getting the Basics Right

We all want choice in hiring, and we should never compromise quality for speed in order to fill an open headcount. So how can we ensure we have considered the right fit for the role?

To ensure consistency and quality in hiring, we suggest a simple Four Step Guide for sales managers.


Our Four Step Guide for sales managers:

Most hiring managers are never taught how to interview candidates, let alone prepare for an interview. It’s super important we know what we are looking for so a good candidate can be identified, and bad candidates don’t become bad hires. So here are our top tips:


1. Standardise Your Hiring Criteria 

Firstly, you need to standardise the criteria against which you are hiring. 

Territories will vary, but you need to have a core set of values, skills, and experiences which you look for on a regular basis. This ensures you create a habit and a skill for identifying these same skills and behaviours. 

Try not to deviate from this core set as the consistency will help you to compare candidates more easily. 


2. Interview Preparation 

Once you have the criteria, think about how you are going to test for the criteria in an interview setting:

  • What questions will you ask? 
  • What are you expecting as ‘good answers’?
  • How will you validate responses?


3. Interview Question Flow 

Next, create your own interview flow building in your criteria and tests. 

This should be a standard interview agenda and the question flow will make interviewing habitual. Building a structure will save you time and ensure the best outcome for the interview.

If you need help with this, download our Interview Techniques Guide.


4. Analyse Responses 

Finally, during and after the interview check the responses and your expectations against the criteria:

  • What are you looking for in the responses? 
  • Any risks in the responses or behaviour? 
  • How did they compare with other candidates or existing employees? 
  • Are you 100% certain to move forward with the candidate? 

Note down these responses in the interview so you can compare candidates afterwards. 

It sounds basic – however, it’s amazing how many people we have met who hire without a strategy!


If in Doubt, Say No Thanks

One you have conducted the interview, it’s important to reflect on the answers.  This will ensure you and the candidate are a good fit for each other.

As we have previously written about in this blog – bad hires are expensive, for both hard costs and opportunity cost.

In both small and large teams, there is always so much going on that by the time you realise there is a problem with a hire, the damage is done. Even more of a reason to consider your potential hire carefully.

That said – don’t take forever – candidates will want feedback within 24 hours. 


Onboarding New Hires

Once you have secured your hire, ensure you allocate the appropriate time to onboarding and expectation setting through regular 121s.

From an onboarding perspective, creating assets such as: 

  • videos
  • presentations
  • cheat sheets 

can be invaluable to new hires when they join a team. 

Often for start-ups these assets must be created and can seem like an overwhelming task. It doesn’t have to be!

For a best practice guide on running a 1-2-1, check out our 'How to Run a Sales 1-2-1' Guide.


Tips for creating a checklist for onboarding your new team member


1. Make a list of all the assets you would like to have to onboard your hire


  • company and solution presentations
  • winning proposals
  • customer case studies
  • call and demo scripts
  • core systems
  • sales process
  • key people to spend time with

2. Create a series of meetings where you talk through this information


  • Getting to know the culture
  • Learning about the key benefits of your solutions
  • Understanding the core processes
  • Roles and responsibilities of the different teams / colleagues

3. Hit the record button before you start so you have a record of this for every future hire

Onboarding is about the transfer and retention of knowledge. No one says the format has to be perfect.

Just ensure you have a list captured; assets created as you go.

We have created a customisable Onboarding Template to help you with this.


Setting and Managing New Hire Expectations

With expectation setting, it is key for new hires to have regular (weekly) 121s with their management. 

For Founders I hear you cry – ‘Really??’ Yes, is the answer.

The 121s are there for you to: 

  • Check knowledge and progress against the onboarding plan
  • Test your team members on their ability to tell your story

Without these checks – how can you know progress is made?

Sounds Like a Lot of Planning?

Not really. 

It’s a one-time activity for interview / hiring / onboarding plans. Again, no prizes for beauty – functional documents are sufficient. You can then use these again and again.


Sounds Like a Lot of Planning?

Not really. 

It’s a one-time activity for interview / hiring / onboarding plans. Again, no prizes for beauty – functional documents are sufficient. You can then use these again and again.

The alternative is no plan, unsuccessful hires and longer ramps to revenue – it’s worth the upfront investment to gain revenue in the end.




If you are interested in new ideas, inspir’em sales meeting exercises and lesson plans are available to continue the development journey of your teams.

Contact us today to further boost your sales and see your revenue grow.

For more tips on applying MEDDIC in the real world - join our community at inspir’em today.