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Topics Covered: <a href='/resources/search/?query=hiring'>hiring</a> | <a href='/resources/search/?query=top sales performers'>top sales performers</a>
Talent & Recruitment
May 31, 2017 | Canadian Professional Sales Association lock

Hiring capable new team members is a difficult task and hiring top performing salespeople is probably even more challenging. After all, a high performing sales team will drive your business and make sure you can solve your customers’ needs. Trying to find top the type salespeople who can make an impact on profits can be one of the hardest tasks facing a hiring manager—especially for start-up companies.

A top sales team can be the difference when it comes to finding and attracting new clients, improving customer satisfaction, and growing your bottom line. There are key traits to look out for when hiring a salesperson, including persistence, authenticity and the ability to solve problems. All of these attributes (and more) will help make the transition smooth so that new individuals can easily contribute to your team.

Unfortunately, there are also traits or patterns to look out for when hiring sales talent which could have a negative effect on your sales team. The next time you consider hiring a new sales professional, make sure to look out for these warning signs:

1. Similar Industry Experience

 Of course it’s great if a potential candidate has worked for a similar company in the past but that should not take precedence over all other attributes. Just because a potential sales hire has sold products in the same industry as you does not mean they will be great at selling your specific product. After all, they still have to learn your product inside and out and solve customers’ problems which can differ very much even in the same industry.

While past industry specific experience can be a great bonus, it’s a safer bet to look at sales professionals who have sold products or services that are directly comparable in terms of offering and scope if you want to make sure of a smooth transition.

2. Hiring Superstars

 We’ve all seen this before in various industries, where individuals try to hire well known individuals with a track record of success. While this seems like a logical decision, you may want to think twice before you follow through with this.

It’s important to make sure the individual's’ past level of success is measured against what they will be able to realistically produce at your organization. For example, if they come from a big company with a well-known name and huge marketing budget, they probably had a lot more resources to meet their targets. If your company is smaller, strapped for marketing budget and can’t offer the same luxuries, then this individual may not be able to produce the same results they did in their past role. Make sure to keep this in mind!

3. A Non-Sales History

 While a candidate might have held sales related positions in the past, perhaps they don’t have the experience of acquiring new customers. While these positions are excellent, they don’t necessarily translate into skills needed to drive sales for your organization. A candidate who was in more of an Account Manager position in the past may not be best suited to close deals with potential clients.

How do you avoid this? Make sure to ask good questions so to get a feel for the individual’s experience and what type of sales they were really involved in. If they didn’t grow a customer base and that’s exactly what you need from them, then you’re better off looking for somebody else.


Finding high-performing sales talent is no walk in the park. However, if you watch out for these common warning signs above, you’ll be more likely to hire individuals who will be a good fit to help you drive sales and make an impact during their time with your company. 

About the Canadian Professional Sales Association

Since 1874, we’ve been developing and serving sales professionals by providing programs, benefits, and resources that help you sell more, and sell smarter.

Contact us today at or 1-888-267-2772 to see how we can help you and your team reach new heights in sales success.

Copyright ©2017 by The Canadian Professional Sales Association. For permissions, contact

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