Many companies don’t hire well for sales rep roles or even at executive level such as for a CRO or for a VP of Sales role. They focus too much on teachables rather than on unteachables. That’s one of the many mistakes to avoid.
Dan wrote about a couple of unique, counter-intuitive but very important insights which I also discussed several times in the past: “In my near decade at Salesforce, I’ve worked for, managed, and hired many a salesperson. Some of our best software reps had never sold software before joining us. In fact, some of our best closers had never closed a deal before working here. This may sound unbelievable, but believe it. What these individuals may have lacked in traditional sales experience, they more than compensated for with core qualities.” (Source: https://www.salesforce.com/quotable/articles/sales-skills-cant-be-taught/)
He also wrote: “We at Salesforce are very aware of what we want in a salesperson. When interviewing candidates, we evaluate them based on two categories: the skills we can teach them and the skills we can’t. … . If they have the unteachable qualities, that’s great news, because everything else — from closing deals to business and sales acumen — they can absolutely learn. ”
When you are hiring – focus on identifying great candidates with strong “unteachables” and don’t worry too much about whether they have experience with “teachables” because those can be easily learned.
Unteachable Qualities – Can’t be Taught:
- Resiliency (aka Grit)
- Emotional Awareness
Teachable Qualities – Can be Taught:
- Pipe Generation
- Time Management
- Business Acumen
- Sales Acumen
- Big Deals (see here – this is not hard to learn)
- Product Knowledge