How Your HR Department Can Drive Sales Success

BY Kathy Crosett
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In many organizations, the human resources department can drive sales success. The HR department is the link between outside candidates and the sales manager who needs talent. To attract the best talent, HR must position the company as a place that sales professionals will want to work. And they should use a sales hiring assessment for human resources that brings the right candidates to the sales manager for further vetting.

HR and the Public Face of the Organization

Leaders can improve hiring outcomes for all departments by giving the HR department a mandate to maintain a positive company image. While the PR or marketing departments often lead the charge in terms of showing prospects and customers an organization’s best side, they don’t always focus on future employees. Proactive HR departments can change that.

Technology makes it possible for current employees to rank their organizations in a very public way. The ratings and reviews can impact who will apply for open positions. The HR department can sway opinions by making sure the company’s social sites highlight the best aspects about working for the organization.

Beyond that, the HR department can operate at a level of professionalism that candidates expect. One of the biggest complaints applicants have these days is that they never hear back after they apply for an open position. HR departments can show they are part of a caring organization by improving communications with candidates.

They can even manage potential employees the way the sales department manages prospects and leads, by communicating at regular intervals. “Best-​in-​Class businesses are 21% more likely to invest in proactive recruitment technologies like CRM and talent communities, allowing them to handpick the best candidates from their talent pipelines when positions become available,” reports Aberdeen. With technology facilitating this process, it’s easier than ever to stay in touch.

Hiring the Best Candidate

There’s no substitute for making the right hire. But entrenched hiring practices can sometimes result in the wrong person being given a sales position. To cut down on this problem, HR departments could take a more proactive stance and corporate leadership should encourage them to do so. Otherwise, a sales manager will come to HR with a ‘favorite’ candidate, an individual who may have been referred by a friend of a friend. These candidates may or may not work out in the position. One way to increase the likelihood of a good fit and to drive sales success is to insist on making every candidate take a sales assessment test before they are granted an interview.

When sales managers need to fill an open position, they’ll often tell HR they'd like to clone their top salesperson. They might even use a job description that’s been around a while. After all, that process worked pretty well, didn’t it?

The flaw with this approach is that the HR person may screen out individuals who lack the right educational credentials or desired experience. Or they might interview an individual who has the right job history and is excellent at selling themselves, but also has a tendency for engaging in toxic behavior. That person gets passed on to the hiring manager for another interview. 

At that point, the candidate practically has a rainbow shining over them. The harried sales manager might assume that since HR likes the candidate, they should too. This kind of interview bias can continue until the person gets hired. In too many cases, it becomes obvious that a hiring mistake was made, because HR wasn’t looking at the right information.

Drive Sales Success

More organizations are starting to use a sales assessment test to improve their chances of hiring candidates who will be a good fit for the organization. One study shows that employers have invested in AI or analytical tools to:

  • Screen resumes 25%
  • Analyze top performers to detect similar traits in candidates 9%

The truth is “performance in sales is …quantifiable.” When the HR department teams up with the hiring sales manager and they focus on the details that analyze the complete candidate objectively, they can drive sales success.