Is there one neat trick that can help you revitalize your sales department and blow your monthly quotas out of the water? Unfortunately, the answer to this question is “no.” When it comes to building a successful sales team, there is no silver bullet that will help you achieve greatness overnight. A sales team is made up of people, and putting the right people in the right positions takes time. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to make this process more strategic and streamlined. In this article, we’ll be exploring four key things every company can do to enhance their hiring procedures to improve sales team performance. 1. Invest in Leadership Being a salesperson is tough work. Remaining positive and enthusiastic in the face of constant rejection takes a toll on even the most optimistic, and the temptation to rationalize a failure to meet quotas has a corrosive effect on the morale of the whole team. A good sales executive, director, or manager knows this — and also knows that it is their job keep their people fighting on even the hardest days. More than any other industry, success in sales relies on having leaders with the right habits and skills. Even the best sales representatives will struggle if they are given inadequate direction, and the head of the sales team has to be able to walk a fine line between keeping expectations high and being realistic about what their people can accomplish. If you want to build an effective marketing team that will be able to meet the challenges of the coming year, your first step should be to work with executive recruiters who can help you find new CSOs, Directors of Sales, and Sales Managers to run your team. 2. Target Hiring to Meet Your Marketing Needs A good leader can inspire a sales team to new heights, but a good leader with the great team behind them will be completely unstoppable. Finding the personnel who will do the hard work of building your brand day-in and day-out is probably the single most important task facing any sales executive, especially during an economic moment when experienced talent is hard to find. This is why it is essential to work with a sales recruitment company that can help you identify and hire the right candidates for the job. Most businesses understand the value of executive recruiters, but in the world of sales, using marketing recruitment agencies to hire lower-level sales employees is equally important. Sales recruiters maintain large databases of professional sales people with a wide range of experience, and can help you narrow your search to target the best candidates for your industry and city. 3. Get Serious About Soft Skills One of the things that makes hiring salespeople such a challenge is that the qualities that make for a good salesperson are often hard to quantify. Excellence in sales relies on wide range of soft skills, and it can be hard to distinguish a competent candidate from an incompetent one based on résumé alone. This leads some companies to hire candidates based on solely on their experience. But while experience is an important part of the equation, focusing on a person’s track record to the exclusion of all else can cause you to overlook promising junior salespeople who have a lot to offer. This is why a lot of marketing headhunters have developed sophisticated metrics for determining a candidate’s aptitude for a sales job based on soft skills as well as experience. Sales Talent Agency, for example, uses proprietary software called DNA/PROä to measure salespeople’s ability based on several different competencies, including: Drive Nature Acumen Performance Relevancy Opportunity management If you want to build a high-performing sales team, you can’t afford to overlook soft skills, so working with sales recruitment agencies that have found ways to quantify soft skills is a good way to expand your workforce. 4. Invest in Onboarding So far, we have focused on the importance of hiring when it comes to building an effective sales department. But hiring is only the first step: once you’ve found a promising group of candidates, you need to make sure they are properly integrated into your sales department and corporate culture. Time and time again, data has shown that proper onboarding procedures are essential to reducing turnover rates and building a sense of loyalty among your employees. Even the most experienced recruits need to be taught how an organization operates, and given the resources to flourish in their new positions. A good onboarding procedure should address things like: Acclimating new hires to the company’s mission and culture Outlining performance expectations Encouraging new hires to engage with the rest of the team Explaining the resources available to help employees achieve success A sales rep who has been thoroughly onboarded will be much more likely to stick around for the long term, increasing the effectiveness of your department and reducing the cost of constantly replacing personnel. Like many things in business, transforming an under-performing sales team into a marketing juggernaut takes time. But if you invest the energy and resources into bringing in strong leadership, skilled personnel, and integrating new hires into your company, the long-term benefits will be enormous.