Over the years, I’ve been involved in hiring new VoIP sales reps to help drive new VoIP/UCaaS sales. I find the process very entertaining — it’s great for my stand-up comedy. One woman had a little spider crawling around the bangs in her hair, doing little trapeze acrobatics right in front of her face. She had no idea. I had a hard time paying attention until we took care of that. But I digress.
I have found that, in addition to some really good, general questions to ask a candidate, there are some specific questions you can ask when it comes to the specific job description of a VoIP sales rep. Here are a few I recommend:
- Tell me about your numbers. Here, you’re looking for how well they knew their sales funnel in their last position. I have seen so many slick talkers talk themselves into a hole here. I learned this question from a super smart VP of Sales in a past job. He would always wind up those that were clueless about their funnel activities. We weren’t trying to embarrass anybody, but if a resume says, “90% close rate” or “200% sales growth over X months” then the candidate better truly understand the numbers behind those claims. Aside from any resume claims, a sales pro should know the sales funnel numbers behind his/her success.
- What was your quota and how often were you above quota? You’ll learn a couple things here, that are somewhat obvious. Is the candidate aware of his/her old quota? And, how often did s/he fall short of it? Following up on the ‘why’ of not hitting quota will reveal quite a bit, most importantly whether or not the person owns his/her success and shortcomings, or if s/he blames others for it. It also is another angle into the numbers and how well this person understood the activity needed to achieve quota attainment.
- If you could change one thing about the sales process, system, or team at your old job, what would you change? The point of this question, once again, is to find out if s/he is the type to own his/her success, or is one to pass the blame elsewhere. It’ll give you a really good idea as to what type of employee s/he’ll be — a team player or a back stabber.
- Tell me about a really huge mistake you made while working a deal. Oh, man, I love this question. I don’t even care what they did, as long as it’s not theft or some other ethical digression. Now, sometimes you’ll have to get them comfortable in answering this by sharing your own sales SNAFU. But, once they tell you theirs, just sit back and see how they handled the big mistake. I’ve had top candidates disqualify themselves by blaming their past bosses for their own mistakes, and I’ve hired folks right away because of how they handled taking responsibility and correcting the situation. I love this question.
A common mistake I see managers/owners in the VoIP/UCaaS world make is asking technically focused questions rather than sales focused questions, because that’s what you know. It’s easy to get bogged down in your own expertise, rather than focusing on the job requirements for your candidate.
Once you’ve asked these questions and are satisfied with the responses, your next step is to follow up on references. Please, please, please do this. It is so easy to rest back on your gut instincts, but making these calls is important. When you call the references, ask specifically about any claims made in the interview or on the resume: “So, s/he increased sales by 200%, eh?”. Also, ask their former manager if s/he’s hire that person again today.
Last piece of advice in hiring a sales rep: never have just one on payroll. It’s a competitive sport, sales. The reps need competition. A lone wolf sales rep will have to be a unique individual to be a success and help your company achieve it’s financial goals.
Contact me today if you’d like additional information or help in building and managing your sales team.