How to Avoid Costly Sales Rep Hiring Mistakes

Hiring salespeople is typically among a company’s largest budget items, and the cost of a bad hire is immense. The average cost of a bad sales hire is more than $115,000, while the cost of a bad sales management hire can reach as high as  $3.5 million, as outlined in our recent blog post on hiring effective sales managers.

These numbers represent average costs; you can use this free Hiring Mistake Calculator to determine your organization’s specific bad hire impact, including your cost of recruitment, development and lost business.

And that’s strictly from a mathematical perspective – the overall impact is compounded when you factor in the loss of resources devoted to the bad hire, lowered team morale and performance, and the damage to your brand reputation among your clients and prospects. 

In this blog post, we examine why the wrong sales reps are hired so often, and what smart sales leaders are doing to reduce the risk and impact of hiring mistakes.

Wrong People Are Hired 77% of the Time

According to a recent evaluation by Objective Management Group (OMG), the wrong salespeople are hired 77% of the time. According to OMG, these bad hires: 

  • Make excuses for their lack of performance (60%)
  • Lack commitment to sales success (37%)
  • Are not motivated to achieve sales success (20%)

How to Avoid a Bad Sales Hire

When OMG compared data between all salespeople and the lowest-performing 50%, they found that the most significant differentiator among “good” and “bad” hires was their Sales DNA – the unique set of  traits and behaviors that influence a rep’s performance. 97% of weak salespeople lack the minimum required Sales DNA for success in their roles. 

In a detailed white paper exploring the science behind salesperson selection, OMG outlined five key components of a rep’s Sales DNA that signal a potential bad hire: 

  • Need to Be Liked – While it’s important for a sales rep to be likable, reps who demonstrate a need for approval usually have difficulty facing potential challenges like confrontation, rejection, and asking tough but necessary questions.
  • Tendency to Become Emotional – Reps with higher emotional involvement may struggle to listen and remain focused on the prospect, which can result in missing important details or losing control of a conversation.
  • Self-Limiting Beliefs – Ineffective sales reps exhibit a number of self-limiting beliefs that can sabotage their selling process, such as “I don’t like making cold calls” or “It’s impolite to ask a lot of questions.”
  • Bad Empathy – Sales reps who make their own major purchases using a non-supportive buy cycle (comparison shopping, heavy research, long decision timeframes, etc.) are more likely to empathize with prospects who engage in the same behavior, and are less effective at helping prospects move forward with the purchase decision.
  • Discomfort Discussing Money – When sales reps are uncomfortable asking questions about budget or a prospect’s financial position, they are unable to ask the necessary questions or make suggestions on solving potential budget-related objections.

Science-based sales assessments that identify a candidate’s Sales DNA, along with other sales competencies, can help sales leaders determine a candidate’s likelihood of success before making a costly hiring mistake. 

Build A Winning Sales Team

At HireDNA, we offer a range of science-based recruiting and assessment solutions for companies looking to hire and retain top sales talent. We help sales leaders determine candidates’ Sales DNA, among other competencies, and avoid costly hiring mistakes.

Why Choose Us?                

  • Our predictive candidate assessments eliminate 96% of hiring mistakes
  • Businesses hire 50% faster when they work with us
  • We have an 80% success rate for placements across organizations

Close Created with Sketch.

Your email address will not be published.

Ready to Hire Top Sales Talent?

See how the HireDNA sales recruiting platform can help your organization hire and retain top talent.

Not a hiring organization? Join as a Recruiter or join as a Candidate.