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Hiring Salespeople? It's All About Capability

by Doug Davidoff | Feb 16, 2012 4:14:00 AM

Business owners and executives regularly ask me for advice on hiring salespeople.  What’s interesting is that about 70% of the time, I end up recommending that they do something other than hire a salesperson.

It’s a myth that hiring salespeople means you’ll make more sales.  What I want you to understand is that you are hiring a capability not a person. Hiring a salesperson should actually be your last option.

Here are three of the most common reasons that owners and executives tell me are why they want to hire salespeople:

    • They need more opportunities in the pipeline.
    • They want to “get more feet on the street.”
    • They want a salesperson to set things up so that a senior person can “leverage their time.”

All three cases are ripe for a sales mis-hire.  Why?  Because all three are better served by marketing efforts than by hiring salespeople.


When you begin thinking about hiring a salesperson, it is critical that you ask, and answer, three questions:

    • What is (are) the specific result(s) you want from this position?  (Side note:  It is not enough to say you want to increase sales, you must focus on the specific efforts that will be addressed that will allow sales to occur.)
    • What options or alternatives could you use to achieve that result?
    • Which option gives you the best chance for success?

As the saying goes … Hire slow.

This post originally appeared in our Weekly Fast Growth Tips.  We got several comments on it and requests that we post it so others can link to it.  To get insights like this every week please subscribe to our weekly tips.  Also you can download our paper:  The 10 Most Common Sales Hiring Mistakes.