Last week we wrote an article on How to Hire BDRs and SDRs. The response was overwhelmingly positive so we decided to do a follow up piece about how to hire Account Executives.
So… How do you hire Account Executives? This is a loaded question. Before we get started, it is important to know that not all Account Executives are created equal. What I mean by this is there are a number of things to consider before you set out to look for the next individual contributor to join your sales team. These factors will help you define the kind of sales professional you are looking to hire, what kind of sales skills are transferable, and what kind of compensation package will attract the talent you seek – some things to consider are Quota Amount, Average Size Deal, Selling Cycle, and Decision Makers they are selling to.
Now, how do you hire them? To help you learn how to hire Account Executives, here are 4 of the most common mistakes companies make when they are trying to hire. If you can avoid these pitfalls, you will be setting yourself up for success:
Looking for a great resume, not a great candidate. Do not get distracted by a resume – not all great candidates have great resumes. Look for achievements, look for progression, look for the story. Do not miss out on great talent purely because their resume is not perfect – pick up the phone, speak to that candidate, and determine if you want to meet him/her.
No urgency. When you identify a candidate that you want to interview, get on the phone and talk to that candidate. Do not delay. Call and leave a voicemail, send an email, send a text. If they do not follow up with you in 24 hours…try again. This is a candidate driven market and it is incredibly competitive. You have to check your ego at the door, go after the sales candidates you want with energy and get them into your process quickly.
Don’t Talk to Candidates. Much like any sales role, activity breeds success – the same can be said for sales hiring. The more candidates you speak with the better you will understand the market and be able to make a great hire. Our most successful clients understand this and spend time with candidates to ensure they build a strong pipeline.
Don’t Sell Your Opportunity. Candidates want to know that they are going to join a company that believes in them and will give them an opportunity to be successful. Show them why they should consider your role over others. All the other companies they are interviewing with are hard selling their opportunity – don’t get out sold by your competition.
Summary to Successfully Hire Account Executives
The overall approach to hiring sales people is probably the single biggest shift in the recruiting industry in the past 15 years…in order to hire successfully, it is essential that you shift with the market.
You have to be a sales person to hire a sales person. You have to email, call, and text your prospective candidate. If they are unresponsive, you have to give a few more attempts to get them into your pipeline.
Once you get them into your pipeline, you have to move quickly with a sense of urgency to get them scheduled in your interview process. Once you have them scheduled, you have to build rapport, show them love, and clearly articulate why your organization is a fantastic opportunity for them. All the while you are doing this, you also have to unabashedly qualify and vet this candidate to see if they are a good fit for your open role.
If the candidate is not a good fit, tactfully usher them out of your process without insulting them. If you have the bandwidth, provide candid and helpful feedback to the candidate. This helps to keep your brand in good standing as candidates who do not have a good experience in an interview process take to the different message boards online and will bash your organization.
If the candidate is viable – refer back to initial advice “move with a sense of urgency” to get them through your process. You should be able to effectively build a strong pipeline of candidates and have a short list of potential hires. As you move towards the end of your interview process you should be probing into their searches and where they are with other opportunities – do not make a blind offer. The companies who have the highest closing ratios on their offers, collect a significant amount of intel from the candidate on their current job search status before making an offer.
Lastly, make an offer and set a deadline for an answer. If the candidate cannot meet your deadline, move on and quickly engage with another candidate on your shortlist.