The Impact of Sales Leadership and Priorities for Accelerated Growth

This post is a recap of The Impact of Sales Leadership and Priorities for Accelerated Growth program on May 4, 2018 with Phil Kash of Kash Development Corporation. This event was part of Crain’s Small Business Week 2018.

Building a resilient salesforce is harder than ever. Having an appealing job opportunity with a rockstar culture and team are required to land the most desired candidates.

In this article, we've summarized tips on recruiting top talent and the importance of accountability from sales development expert Phil Kash.

Sales Recruiting

Statistics show that for each quality candidate there are 5 available sales jobs. Quality is determined by what Phil calls The Crucial Elements for Success – Desire, Commitment, Outlook, Responsibility, Growth Potential. On the other hand, beware of candidates with The Major (Often Hidden) Weaknesses:

Buy Cycle: What are the candidate’s buying habits? If they spend a lot of time shopping around before deciding, it’s likely they will let prospects shop around, too.

Need for Approval: This is the hardest weakness to overcome. When one needs constant approval, they are often hesitant and fear rejection.

Emotions: Being too emotionally invested in ideas and projects causes poor listening skills.

Inability to discuss money: Some people are uncomfortable discussing money, making it hard to handle cost objections.

Limiting beliefs: The “can’t do” attitude.

If these weaknesses are often hidden, how can we uncover them? The key is putting time and energy into the recruiting process.

The Proprietary Process for Sales Recruiting

  1. Identify flaws. Continuously improve recruiting efforts by evaluating prior experiences.
  2. Identify requirements. Think about the purpose of the position and what the candidate should achieve.
  3. Write a killer job advertisement. The best candidates have a clear idea of what they want in their next job.
  4. Source using top sites. There are dozens of online tools for recruiting. Conduct research to determine the best fit.
  5. Test candidates. Many companies will send assessments after the first interview or when deciding between final candidates. Phil prefers to lead with assessments to sift through applicants and find the best ones to interview.
  6. Use automation. It’s easy to automate tasks such as sending follow up emails, assessments and requests for phone screenings once a person applies.
  7. Phone qualification. The initial phone call should run for a maximum of 12 minutes to put some pressure on the candidate and simulate a call with a prospect. Nearing the end of the call, Phil will say "I'm not sure you’re a 100% fit" and pauses. It’s a sales position after all—see how they sell themselves!
  8. The first interview. Phil calls this the "challenge interview." It’s an opportunity to see how the person handles tough questions and discomfort. Again, this tactic is meant to create a similar environment to meeting with a prospect. Ask for the contact information of their previous reporting manager, their previous pipeline and calendar, and what are the “must haves” they are looking for in their next job.
  9. The second interview. Now it’s time for the company to sell the job and opportunity to the candidate. The 3 must haves in their next job? Those will be fulfilled in this role by doing x, y and z.
  10. Check references and make an offer. Ask their references, “Would you hire them again for a sales role?”
  11. 90 day ramp up. Together, set and discuss the expectations for the next week, month, 6 months and year.
  12. Success conditioning. Hold them accountable and be supportive. Encourage questions and feedback to continue to raise the bar.

The most important thing to remember when recruiting for sales, or any position, is to avoid rushing. Putting in the effort today will save exponentially more effort in the long run.


“If you couldn’t use that excuse, what would you have done differently?”

Excuses are the opposite of accountability and responsibility. Sales management exists to motivate the team, act as a coach and hold them accountable to a measurable goal. Yet 52% of salespeople feel that management does not help them succeed. In addition to management, veteran sales employees are role models to the new hires. They must be held equally accountable for high performance.

Raise your expectations of the team, then raise their expectations for themselves. If there are goals they are excited to achieve and you hold them accountable, you will find success.

About Phil Kash

Phil Kash is Managing Partner of Kash Development Corporation and has consulted business development professionals for over 20 years. He is passionate about working with organizations to uncover their unique needs and use techniques backed by research to improve sales performance.

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