Recruitment of sales professionals has always been challenging.
Finding the right person for the job, someone that will fit in with the team, someone that will be loved by our customers…someone who can sell!
I can categorically state that my earlier hires were more about, did I get on with them or were they the best of the bunch.
Intuition and gut feel perhaps, but deep down they were all in a likeness of me.
About my age and men. All liked sports, all were confident and all displayed that confidence.
They were what I thought a salesperson should be like…a dangerous starting point, but I didn’t know any better.
Back then people were more likely looking for a place to work for a full career with a hierarchy and a clear path for progression and most certainly looking to fit in and find people like them.
And so this bias was a self-fulfilling prophecy if you like.
We now know more. We know that people want different things and to attract the right person we must be deliberate in recognising what people want and need.
What do your Workforce want and what’s changed?
The chart above shows that we have an incredibly diverse workforce to select from.
Four generations working together for the first time, all with different influences. These influences determine their perspectives.
Their workplace expectations, ambitions and motivations are different. Driven by different experiences that shaped them (see below chart).
Actually, have you considered they are selecting you based on your ability to demonstrate your understanding of what matters to them?
Is it the career, the 9 to 5, the car…or is it more flexible working environments and a deeper connection to the company’s values?
If you’re not taking the time to consider this your bias is already kicking in.
Are you meeting the expectations of your workforce?
Take a look at this video where we talk through some of our thoughts on how you could become more inclusive of these different perspectives, expectations, ambitions and motivations.
How is your bias playing out in your recruitment?
Back to my gut feel method from some 30 years ago…
This has been refined somewhat over the years but I see bias playing out in sales recruitment far too often and clones of the hiring manager the default position.
Take a look at your sales team. What’s the gender profile, the generational demographic, the personality preference…look like the boss? *Gender bias will be a subject of a future article.
Aren’t we just creating images of ourselves and creating Agent Smiths everywhere? Agent Smith has been immortalised as the villain in The Matrix by Hugo Weaving.
Perhaps an inconvenient truth, perhaps you think your sector dictates, perhaps you think your industry needs more Agent Smiths.
I’d suggest you’re wrong and your bias is now in full swing.
Does emotion or logic dominate?
So, what do I suggest to help that bias?
First, acknowledge it and know what your bias is. From here you can actively do something about it.
Because, and for sure, you will not be in or leading a high performing team. You will not have a mix of perspectives. You will not have a mix of expectations, ambitions and motivations…you’ll have sameness.
I’ve come to use this trick to help me and it’s to know what the attributes of a good sales leader and sales professional are.
I look to find the right mix of IQ and EQ. Finding this will help you find that sweet spot ensuring you’re not building a team of thinkers with no doing or doers with no thinking.
IQ, or intelligence quotient is a measure of your ability to reason and solve problems.
EQ or Emotional intelligence (otherwise known as emotional quotient) is the ability to understand, use, and manage your own emotions in positive ways.
Check out the video below to how we articulate this and how it plays out to compliment your recruitment.
A few takeaways for you
- The 4 genreations have different expectations, ambitions and motivations. Understand what they are and use them to break down your individual bias.
- Unless you have a diverse sales team you wont be a high performing one. Your reference points and thinking will all be similar and not encouraging of different views.
- If you’re still going to enter the matrix, look out for Agent Smith whilst you’re there becuase you’ll have something in common.