As a sales leader, you may be familiar with the term ‘ICP’ – your Ideal Customer Profile. But here’s another ‘ICP’ to consider – your Ideal Candidate Profile. If you haven’t identified your target candidate profile, then you may be facing many wasted interview hours and a much higher rate of turnover.
Every sales leader’s ideal sales candidate will vary, depending on the culture, company and product or service. The key to creating a great Ideal Candidate Profile comes down to a few key data points:
What ‘great’ looks like on your team
Research your top performers (about your top 20%). Start by asking the following questions about your current top producers:
- Are they better at new, renewal or hybrid sales?
- Do they perform better under short or long sales cycles?
- Do they sell better if placed in a team or individual environment?
- Do they perform better within a certain ACV band?
- Do they perform better selling virtually or onsite?
- What common sales methodologies do they frequently use?
What ‘great’ looks like on your competitors’ team
Ask the same questions about the skill sets and experiences of your competitors’ top performers. If you don’t know some of the data, direct your talent team to interview reps who previously worked for your competitors. How is your ‘great’ the same or different, and can any differences be used to your advantage in hiring? Are there any qualities your competitors have that you need on your team? Use the answers to form a baseline profile for an ideal sales candidate.
Soft vs. hard skills
The data points above are considered hard skills – skills and technical knowledge acquired through training and experiences. But there are also soft skills that are critical to determining your Ideal Candidate Profile. Some of the most common sales-centric soft skills in sales include:
Determine which soft skills are most prevalent in your top performers and make sure any new candidate has a similar match.
Culture fit may be the most important (and hard to determine) data point in determining your Ideal Candidate Profile. Specifically, you’re trying to determine if a candidate fits into the sales culture you’re building. A few examples of sales culture include:
- Open lines of communication with executives
- Consistent training and professional improvement
- Team collaboration
Finding reps that fit into your sales culture is critical, because reps who don’t fit in can be disruptive to your team’s success.
Hiring for tech sales candidates isn’t easy. Most employers get it wrong way more that they will admit. That’s one of the reasons why the industry has such an alarmingly high turnover rate. But wIth a little research and brainstorming, you can build an Ideal Sales Candidate Profile that could bring you your next dream reps.
For more advice, check out the Three Reasons Top Salespeople Quit – and How to Keep Them