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Top Attributes of Sales Leaders #3: Hiring Ability

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Continuing my analysis of the seven attributes of great sales leaders, this week I look at “hiring ability”.

“The ability to hire quality talent will determine the success or failure of the sales organization” — Steve W. Martin.

Well, yeah. There’s a reason that the “R” in my sales methodology, RESCUE, stands for “recruit”. And it’s no accident that it’s the first letter. Sales organizations really only work when you have the absolute best people. More than any other field, sales operates under a “you eat what you kill” mantra, where only the strong survive. Ergo, from a managerial perspective, if you want to have a great team, you need to have great people.

I wrote about this more extensively in my post, Rockstar Recruiting, but the bottom line is this — like attracts like. Of course, other things matter. There are certain skills that are trainable (and some things, like product knowledge, which must be trained). And leadership matters quite a bit (just look at the impact that Jim Harbaugh has had at Michigan, or Bill Belichick at the Patriots). In fact, with both of those example, you can see how great coaching can turn a good team into a great team. But just imagine the impact great coaching can have if you start off with a great team.

That’s where recruiting comes in. Not only does it give you the best initial players on your team, but, as I said, like attracts like. If you go and recruit a great salesman and he walks into a mediocre team, he’s quickly going to realize it. And it’s going to be very hard for you to keep him. Conversely, if you hire a great sales rep an she walks onto a team of all stars, then both she and the rest of the team are going to inspire each other, and take things to the next level.

If you want a great team, start by hiring a great team.