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In this episode of the CPSA SalesProTips show, we consider what it takes to find, attract and retain sales talent in an increasingly competitive job market. The guest this time is Leadership Agency President Jamie Hoobanoff.
Listen to this episode and discover:
* What are the professional qualifications top sales candidates need today?
* What are some of the characteristics of the best candidates for sales leadership roles?
* Should companies embrace the idea of hiring those purple squirrels? What can maverick leaders bring to the growth of a business? What are the dangers?
Want to hear more? Check out these bonus insights:
* Why do you believe that great sales leaders are born, not made?
* How can sales leaders position themselves as respected thought leaders and trusted resources? (e.g. by speaking at events, blogging, research etc)
* Why is sales a good career choice?
Read the edited transcription:
Kristen H: In this episode of the Sales Tips for the Pros Podcast, Jamie Hoobanoff will join us to have a discussion around finding and nurturing top sales leadership talent. Jamie, welcome to the show. It's so great to have you here.
Jamie H: Thank you Kristen, it's great to be here.
Kristen H: Please briefly tell our listeners about yourself, including your achievements in sourcing top sales and leadership talent.
Jamie H: Great. I am the founder of The Leadership Agency and we were founded really with one purpose and that's to help our clients lead. We truly feel and believe that we get to help build some of the most impressive companies of our generation. Prior to founding the leadership agency, I was the first vice president and partner of a previous agency and I used to be a corporate recruiter with 1-800-GOT-JUNK and I worked directly and alongside Brian Scudamore as the company grew from a ten million to a hundred million dollar company, and I got to hire over 100 sales people for him. I've been in this industry for over 10, 12 years and I've had the chance to place over 3,000 sales people in the North American sales community and personally, I'm also the founding member and contributor to The Big Push, which is a female led and founded accelerator that supports female founded tech companies go from their seed round to their A round.
Kristen H: Wow, so you've had a lot of experience with recruiting sales pros. What are the professional qualifications top sales candidates really need today?
Jamie H: The reality is is what you're looking for in a sales professional, or what a sales professional should be looking for in an opportunity is where somebody or somebody has gotten repeated sales process experience. This is the most valuable piece of advice we can give anyone who's either a sales professional or looking to get into sales, is find an opportunity where you can get two to three years of repeated sales process experience.
This can be what is measurable and it has to be business-to-business. This is really the difference between becoming a professional salesperson and not becoming a professional salesperson. It's a whole other world where it's complex and it's dynamic and you're selling some of the worlds most creative and disruptive technologies to other businesses, whether it's technology or its product or its service, but regardless, what you're looking for from a sales professional and what a sales professional should be looking for in an opportunity is where they can get the two to three years of repeated sale process experience.
Kristen H: Yeah, I love that. When you think about specifically leaders in sales roles, what are some of the characteristics you think they need to posses?
Jamie H: It's something that we see all the time at the leadership agency, because we're dealing at a material impact level, so 90 percent of the people that we're working with are leaders, or are candidates who are ready to take that next step in their career so maybe they've been developing their leadership experience by leading without title, and that's something that's really important for companies to look for.
Has this person led without title somewhere? This will indicate that they are incredibly motivated by impact and that they are just a natural leader. That is where there is really high potential to develop this person and/or take a risk on this person if they don't actually have the defined leadership experience, but character wise, it's the same as a sales person. This person has to have undeniable amount of drive. They have to be somebody who will drive the business forward and not only the business, but the people, the sales people. They have to be people who can lead others into unchartered territory whether it's the company is pivoting into a new line of business or the company's gone through acquisition, or the companies at a really groundbreaking disruptor and these sales people really have to truly believe in the vision and the mission of the company and have to sell it.
There's so many different ways that that skill set and that characteristic will be important to an organization. The person has to be undeniably driven, they have to have so much empathy that it's so categorically clear that this person is empathetic and so that's something that is really hard to define and hard to measure, but a good leader has to have a high level of empathy and I think that in today's world, especially in the Canadian tech community, we're young, we're growing, we're solving problems. This person, this leader that you're going to bring into your organization, especially from a sales perspective or from the line of business of sales, has to be able to solve problems and really be able to navigate, not only internally, but in the marketplace as well.
Kristen H: So companies embrace the idea of hiring those purple squirrels. What can Maverick leaders bring to the growth of a business and what are some of the dangers?
Jamie H: That's a great question and it actually is a great segway from the last point that we were just discussing. A mis-hire in an organization, and it doesn't necessarily mean a mis-hire was a maverick. We've all seen these people. They're phenomenal sales people, phenomenal sales leader, but they probably lack, if they're a maverick, either that acumen, or that empathy and they will almost burn things down around them, but they'll hit their target better and bigger than anyone else, but they don't necessarily have the long game strategy attached to their profile.
The cost of a mis-hire, especially when it comes to leadership can range anything from $50,000 to $250,000 for an organization and the mis-hires that have the biggest price tag attached to them are the ones that do damage to your culture internally. It's hard to measure what that actual cost is, but that mis-hire can be felt for years to come and so somebody who's a maverick, it really again comes down to the empathy piece.
If they're a maverick and their ideas and they're a visionary and they are somebody who can break down walls to make things happen, but if they're lacking empathy, that will really affect the people and not only the people in your company, but the end user of your product or service, because how you do one thing is how you do everything.
I think that when it comes to taking a risk on a maverick, you really have to be able to measure, do they have enough empathy to keep that hire at least safeguarded from having that type of damage. I don't necessarily advise people from...I say take risks on people. I really believe in it. I can really be a game changer for your organization but really understand the opportunity costs that could be attached to that.
Kristen H: So the leadership agency focuses a lot on finding tech expert candidates. Paint me a picture of how Southern Ontario's tech sector is booming in the opportunities this really presents for those who want to move into sales positions within the tech sector.
Jamie H: I love where we're at in the Canadian tech community right now. I think that Canada in itself, regardless of the province, I think all of our provinces has some really unique and fascinating tech companies, and have their own tech communities, but the one thing I've seen really consistently and the message that I think is shared is that Canada in itself and most predominantly, Toronto being the tech community, is that we're moving away from being a resource based country and becoming resourceful. I think that we're more creative than we've ever been when it comes to disruption. I think that there's more risks being taken and there's a lot more investment in Canada in the tech community.
Some really great examples of that are companies like League. Michael Serbinis. The previous founder of KOBO now founds League and raises second largest A round. We've got artificial intelligence, Element AI who received a massive A round. There's so much happening in terms of investment, in terms of disruption and in terms of creativity when it comes to the tech community. There's so many different companies being created that aren't trying to take up a whole industry. They're really specializing in their segment and disrupting and solving problems and challenges, but from a salesperson’s perspective, this is the best time to look into getting into business to business sales, because you have such great opportunity to really build a sales career and get in at the ground up. There is never a better opportunity to build a sales career and to join a company, when you actually get to be a part of the growth and have direct access to leaders, because once a company reaches X among in revenue or x among in employee size, you start to lose access or direct access to leaders and to really be impacted by them directly. Working for a company that's just starting and is growing you'll get to interact, and be trained and coached indirectly by the leaders of that company, so there's a lot of options and so much opportunity for people looking to get into the tech community sales.
Kristen H: Finally, any tips for developing sales talent from within?
Jamie H: I think that developing sales talent, whether you're looking to develop them into leadership, if that's the roadmap and if that's the long term strategy is to develop these salespeople into leaders, that's a pretty unique strategy. If you're looking to develop them into being the best sales people they can possibly be, that in and of itself is a separate strategy, whether that's helping them go from BDR to SDR to small business account executive to mid-market attached to that, but the number one thing that's consistent between those career paths is transparency and accountability.
Salespeople and sales leaders, the common language is numbers. You always want to know what is expected of you, how you're going to get there and how much money you're going to make also. Commission plans and compensation plans need to be really transparent, but the number one thing is really defining how a sales person is going to get there and giving them the opportunity to get there.
Kristen H: Thank you so much for being here today. I loved this conversation. As we wrap up the podcast I'd love for you to let our listeners know how they can find you.
Jamie H: They can follow us on Twitter, they can connect with us on Instagram, LinkedIn, but we have a rule that if you reach out to us we will get back to you in 24 business hours.
Kristen H: Wow, well thank you so much for being on the show today Jamie.
Jamie H: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it.
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