Industry Observations

It’s Time To Search For New Talent, But Not Without Due Diligence

The onset of the pandemic caused a high unemployment rate, resulting in layoffs that impacted various roles across industries. With vaccination rollouts underway and many businesses reopening as they look towards returning to “normal,” the number of job listings emerging from the pandemic is rising at a steady cadence as reflected in the 742,000 new private-sector jobs added in April. While many eligible and qualified individuals remain available on the market, the pool of potential new hires has become much more selective when it comes to accepting the next role offered to them, making it even more difficult for companies to fill open positions.

If you’re one of the many organizations looking to grow, it’s imperative to make sure you have the right talent in place and a clear idea of the strategy you’re going after before deciding on a new hire. It’s essential to do your due diligence to ensure that your next hire is the right fit so that both sides can be successful.

Here are my tips on what you need to know to create a hiring strategy and how to identify and select the right hiring profiles, particularly within sales and business development, to meet your needs.

Start by aligning your overall corporate strategy with your hiring strategy.

Hiring the right talent across departments begins with aligning your hiring strategy with your company’s overarching strategy. Whether you’re a large multinational company or a small startup looking at the types of hiring that needs to happen within your organization, the first step you must take is to identify your sales goals, segmentation, and ideal customer profiles (ICP) to determine the type of hiring profile you need. It’s critical to ensure that you’re clear on the ICP that you’re going after and match it with hiring talent that has experience selling to different sectors and understands the ecosystem.

Understand which segment you typically sell into to determine the hiring profile you need based on your ICP.

After you’ve aligned your sales goals to your overall business strategy, understanding the size of your business and taking a closer look at who you’re selling to should be next. This understanding and a closer look are crucial when it comes to your ICP, the segment you typically sell into and the hiring profile you will need to fill any necessary roles. For example, a multinational software company will have a different profile than a small startup looking to hire their first sales reps to build their brand in the market. If you’re selling to small- to medium-sized businesses, then you can take a chance on hiring entry-level sellers or folks who are in earlier stages of their careers. You can give them the opportunity to learn to grow and start closing business deals quickly because they are working with smaller organizations. If you’re selling to large enterprises where it’s a longer, larger and much more complex sales cycle that involves more negotiations, hiring a strong enterprise-grade seller or someone you believe has the aptitude to take that next step will be a much better fit. The profile of a sales rep is not one size fits all — success in one organization or role doesn’t translate to all organizations.

Determine the type of roles you need to hire.

Taking a step back to look at your ICP and the hiring profiles needed comes full circle to determining the actual roles you need to fill. Closing new logos or expanding coverage for existing customers requires different profiles and background experience. New logo wins will usually require a unique profile of sellers focused on opening new accounts. On the other hand, if you’re looking to provide support and grow your existing install base, this could look like a traditional customer success role. In this role, an individual can balance driving success and value for clients, has the aptitude and the talent to be able to sell, is genuinely interested in wanting to take on this role and can identify gaps or opportunities to grow the existing business and sell various products across the platform. Combining all these qualities into one role can be challenging, so organizations must realize if they want a centralized sales team for customer success and account management or if they want to split them for specialized talent in each. The benefit of splitting is that you can have more focused groups that are truly there for each specialty. The downside is that doing so can be expensive because you’re doubling the size of the team.

Provide continuous support for new hires.

The final piece is ramping up your new hire as quickly as possible. It’s important to have the right onboarding program, enablement program, coaching and inspecting programs in place so that you can determine if your new talent is accomplishing their deliverables.

At WhiteHat, our approach to hiring varies based on the individual’s personality. Not only is their experience and background important, but so is their understanding of our market and how they sell. One thing we also consider is if they’re coachable and willing to learn. It’s also important to know if they have a sales process and methodology that they follow — and it doesn’t necessarily have to be the “WhiteHat way.” Most importantly, we find value in new talents that we feel have the right DNA to be a seller. It needs to be someone with a competitive edge who is driven by more than money. This last piece is hard to measure because it’s more of a gut feel, but if they have the intrinsic willingness to be motivated, then that can be the right path to success.

In conclusion, there will be times when you may make a bad hire. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the bad hire is a bad seller but could be that the person is just the wrong fit for the role. Taking the time to align your hiring strategy with your business goals and identifying your ICP and matching it with the right hiring profile will help protect you from setbacks that may impact the success of your company.

This article originally appeared in Forbes