If your organization has responded like many others to the COVID-19 pandemic, your hiring process may need an adjustment. Changing the product line and the focus of your business means you should shift your mindset about who you’re hiring. This is especially true if you’re not serving the same customer base.
The Pool of Talent Has Increased
Organizations laid off roughly 15 million employees earlier this year who had not been brought by to work by the end of June. The last report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics shows that the unemployment rate stands at about 10.2%. The rate for sales professionals is slightly higher than the average, 10.9%. In addition, the unemployment rate for sales professionals increased from 3.2% in July 2019 to 10.9% in July 2020. Some companies were likely forced to lay off top-notch sales professionals. Their misfortune can be your gain. But before you rush to hire candidates who’ve applied for your open positions, know what you’re getting into. The results of a sales skills assessment will tell you which candidates possess the characteristics you need to succeed in the future.
The Product Line Has Changed
As demand for goods in some markets remains depressed, think professional apparel, vendors are developing and selling new product lines. If your reps have been accustomed to selling a specific solution, they’ll need training on how to find and sell to new prospects for what you’re offering now. In some industries, reps are selling to different clients every few weeks.
If you’re in this situation, look for assessment results that show candidates who are most open to coaching and to a changeable work environment.
New Skills Needed
We all know the days of in-person sales may not return for a long time. After the novel coronavirus is neutralized by a vaccine, customers and prospects will be deciding if or when they want to operate in an in-office environment again. Some organizations may have realized they can sell more profitably by using an inside sales force. If you’re shifting to an inside sales force, you’ll also need reps who excel in a digital environment.
Not only that, “the old profile of a winning salesperson as a rugged individualist is giving way to a new profile: a team player who can collaborate with others,” says Andris A. Zoltners and fellow researchers.
A good sales skills assessment can show you the candidates who possess more than an average amount of creativity. This often undervalued skill can mean the difference between scoring a call with a prospect or being ignored. And further down the sales funnel, creativity plays a role in how well the rep can explain they way your solution will meet the prospect’s needs. Don’t discount creativity the way many sales managers do.
Your Hiring Process May Need An Adjustment
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown all of us a curve ball. As you change operating procedures to meet the demands of the marketplace, don’t overlook your sales organization. In particular, your hiring process may need an adjustment to enable you to bring top talent into your company.