416-433-1261 sean@salesacademy.com

Does Every New Sales Hire Feel Like a Gamble?

by | Feb 7, 2016 | Sales Hiring, Sales Recruiting | 0 comments

Last year over 110M viewers tuned into Super Bowl XLIX, not even accounting for groups at bars or at viewing parties.

With the storyline of Cam Newton, the young, brash and soon-to-be-named MVP leading the Carolina Panthers and Peyton Manning, the aging field general leading the Denver Broncos and trying to win his second ring and end his Hall of Fame career in storybook fashion, advertisers are expecting an even bigger audience and CBS is seeing strong demand for Super Bowl spots. A 30-second Super Bowl ad is selling for as much as $5 million, an 11% increase year over year.

One of the advertisers placing a big bet on Super Bowl is Adobe, with their latest ad for Adobe Marketing Cloud.

In case you miss it on Sunday, they are supplementing their Super Bowl spots with targeted placements on LinkedIn. If you’re a sales or marketing professional, you’ve probably seen the YouTube video in a sponsored feed. If not, here it is:


The ad’s message really connects with me for a couple of reasons.

First, I spent almost 8 years at Bodog, one of the biggest players in online gaming. During my tenure there, our sportsbook saw more traffic than just about any other and I saw my fair share of gamblers putting down large sums on games and I can only imagine what it felt like sweating out large 4-,5-figure bets. Exhilarating when you win, absolutely gut-wrenching and crushing when you lose, I guess.

Second, despite just leaving the comfortable confines of a high-paying and rewarding 7-year career in sales leadership at SAP to join the entrepreneurial ranks and start my own company, I’ve never considered myself much of a gambler. I’m an INTJ personality – I prefer to take my time, look at the data and architect a plan before making big leaps. It took 2 years of hemming and hawing and plenty of cajoling from my good ol’ buddy Jon for me to finally pull the trigger and put in my notice! It wasn’t until I started to see a number of people register for content on my website, including a number of President’s and CEO’s, that I figured there must a strong market for my offering.

If you’re like me, you like to make decisions by justifying your gut with data and you equate pure gut decisions as gambling.

And Adobe’s ad does a really good job of getting inside the head of INTJ’s like me who want insights before placing big bets.

If you’re a marketer, placing $4M down on a 30-second Super Bowl spot to capture the hearts and minds of a mass audience and catapult your brand into the mainstream is the very definition of a big bet. And it’s one that you probably don’t want to place without having done some research before hand.

If you’re the founder of a company or in sales leadership, ramping up headcount and scaling your sales team to achieve high double- or triple-digit growth plans can feel like an equally big bet. Also one that you probably don’t want to place without some data in hand on your candidates.

After all, the cost of a bad sales hire is often at least 3-4X a salesperson’s base salary. Not to mention the grief that you’re going to get from investors from whiffing on your monthly growth targets.

If you want to avoid that fate and the fate of this company who scaled to a 300-fold inside sales force where 48% of them were either fishermen (would only follow up on a lead, would not do proactive prospecting) or PETP’s (People for the Ethical Treatment of Prospects who would not hunt no matter what), I, like Adobe, advise you to leverage data and implement a proven sales-specific candidate assessment as an integral part of your sales hiring process so that you get insights into the strengths and weaknesses of your candidate before you place that $150,000-$200,000+ bet.

Oh, you may say “I’ve got a really good sense for people and I rarely make a bad sales hire.” Maybe you have more gamble in you than I do and that may indeed be true – you are the 1 in 1,000 unicorn with an unfailable read on sales candidates. But could it be that the law of large numbers hasn’t kicked in yet and maybe you’ve been just been lucky? Remember, Vegas always wins. And the odds of hiring a sales rep 100% of the time who will consistently achieve or exceed quota without using an assessment are not nearly as good as the odds on the Strip. There’s a huge built-in house edge fighting against you with studies consistently showing only 26% of the entire sales population delivering acceptable results. Do you think your ability to screen and decipher the promotional piece known as a resume is really that good? How about those reference checks? Have you ever received a bad one?

Hogwash, you say? What about as you scale the business? You won’t be able to be involved in every single sales hire. Your VPs, Director and Managers will be making those decisions. Maybe they don’t share the same eye for talent as you do. Wouldn’t it be nice to have some piece of mind that they are following a proven system for hiring so that you can focus on vision/strategy and not fight fires in sales? A system that’s proven the test of time over the the law of large numbers (over 11,000 companies and 1,000,000 salespeople) and that accurately predicts 92% of the candidates who will rise to the top half of your sales force within 12 months. Or more importantly, predicts 75% of the candidates who will fail within their first 6 months.

I don’t know about you but this INTJ will take the dealer up on his offer for insurance on that one. I’m not a betting man, but when I do, I like to do it with data in hand.

P.S. If you’re still not convinced about the value of using data in your sales hirng process, here’s a link to test out a free candidate assessment: Free Sales Candidate Assessment Trial