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Don’t you wish hir­ing tal­ent could be more like the re­al­ity tele­vi­sion show The Voice? Po­ten­tial can­di­dates would ap­pear be­fore a panel of judges, and a few would ad­vance to the next round of the in­ter­view process based on the au­di­tion. Next, you spend a few weeks coach­ing and de­vel­op­ing the best can­di­dates to make them even bet­ter.


Can you imag­ine hir­ing sales and ser­vice pro­fes­sion­als in this man­ner? Not only would it be a com­pelling show, but new sales pro­fes­sion­als would hit the ground run­ning and would be at full pro­duc­tiv­ity in no time.

Un­der­stand­ing how to iden­tify and nur­ture tal­ent is vi­tal to any suc­cess­ful sales and ser­vice or­gan­i­sa­tion, and it’s one of the best ways to in­crease per­for­mance and drive rev­enue. So, what if I told you find­ing tal­ented sales pro­fes­sion­als could be just as easy with­out all the pageantry of a tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tion?


Tal­ent is re­oc­cur­ring pat­terns of thought, feel­ing, and be­hav­iour, and is an as­pect of a per­son’s makeup that you can’t just learn. It’s some­thing we have that is an in­nate and unique to

the in­di­vid­ual. These ap­ti­tudes can­not be cre­ated, quan­ti­fied, or ac­counted for by train­ing or

ex­pe­ri­ence. Peo­ple ei­ther have a cer­tain trait or they don’t.

Many sales or­gan­i­sa­tions ap­proach tal­ent all wrong. Typ­i­cal in­ter­views fo­cus on job fit, skills, com­pe­ten­cies, and ex­pe­ri­ence. While it is vi­tal to un­cover these qual­i­ties dur­ing the in­ter­view process, it’s not the best way to find top tal­ent. Sales lead­ers need to fo­cus on iden­ti­fy­ing can­di­dates’ in­nate traits – the things they nat­u­rally ex­cel at – that will help them suc­ceed in their sales ca­reer.

Or­gan­i­sa­tions that don’t fo­cus on can­di­dates’ in­her­ent strengths are miss­ing a big op­por­tu­nity.

In­di­vid­u­als are unique, so it makes sense that we all have unique gifts. Here’s what I mean: Adam Ash­leyCooper is one of the best rugby play­ers in the world be­cause he has spe­cific tal­ents that en­able him to ex­cel on the pitch. But those skills wouldn’t nec­es­sar­ily make him a top seller or ser­vice provider.


So, how can you find top sell­ers? First, you need to study your high per­form­ers, fig­ure out what drives them, and find out the char­ac­ter­is­tics they all share. Then, you ad­just your re­cruit­ing ef­forts to look for more sales­peo­ple with the same tal­ents and traits.

Once you find out what makes your top sell­ers – or outliers as they are known – great, you add skill de­vel­op­ment and a sup­port­ive cul­ture (train­ing) along with coach­ing, and you’re well on your way to sus­tain­able high per­for­mance.

Find­ing great tal­ent starts with study­ing your outliers to de­ter­mine the traits they pos­sess that drive high per­for­mance in your unique work en­vi­ron­ment and cul­ture.

When you have dis­cov­ered the traits that lead to suc­cess, you can mea­sure and hire for them. You do this by ask­ing can­di­dates spe­cific ques­tions to see if they pos­sess these high-per­form­ing traits. The key is to ask the right ques­tions.

When you un­lock the keys to iden­ti­fy­ing top tal­ent, it can be mag­i­cal for your or­gan­i­sa­tion. Re­search from CSO In­sights re­vealed enor­mous ben­e­fits when you hire the right peo­ple for the right po­si­tion and put them in a nur­tur­ing cul­ture. The re­search showed your peo­ple would:


Re­cently, we worked with a Global For­tune 100 com­pany study their high per­form­ers and de­ter­mine some key traits they should look for in po­ten­tial can­di­dates for sales po­si­tions. We started by mea­sur­ing every­one on their sales team so we could iden­tify the pos­i­tive sales-re­lated traits each of them pos­sessed. We dis­cov­ered mem­bers of their sales team fell into three buck­ets:

1. Those with all of the pos­i­tive traits;

2. Those with some of the traits; and 3. Those with none of the traits. Next, we stud­ied the rev­enue gen­er­ated against the quota for each group. To no one’s sur­prise, the group that pos­sessed all of the pos­i­tives traits we iden­ti­fied were two times more suc­cess­ful than those with only some of the pos­i­tive traits, and three times more suc­cess­ful than those with none.


To find top Sales tal­ent there are three core ideas to re­mem­ber: 1. Find and study your outliers 2. Ad­just your hir­ing ap­proach to tar­get the traits and tal­ents of your top per­form­ers

3. Men­tor and nur­ture these traits in your or­gan­i­sa­tion

We know this ap­proach de­liv­ers re­sults, but how can you be sure you’ve iden­ti­fied the right traits? How can you know if you’re track­ing the right met­rics to find the outliers? And how will you adapt your cul­ture and work en­vi­ron­ment to fos­ter these traits?

For the last 7 years, Miller Heiman Group has been run­ning our na­tional Sales and Ser­vice Sum­mit in Syd­ney where we ex­plore these ideas with hun­dreds of Aus­tralia and New Zealand’s high per­for­mance or­gan­i­sa­tions. The Sum­mit at­tracts busi­ness lead­ers in Sales, Ser­vice, Marketing, Op­er­a­tions, Ca­pa­bil­ity, En­able­ment, Trans­for­ma­tion, HR and Learn­ing & De­vel­op­ment.

If you want to start iden­ti­fy­ing, ac­quir­ing, and nur­tur­ing top tal­ents to sell more and ser­vice bet­ter, reg­is­ter for our 2017 Sales & Ser­vice Sum­mit at www.miller­heiman­ el­e­vate2017.

If you can’t wait un­til May 25th to dis­cover how best to as­sess your sales and ser­vice team, con­tact Ty South­ern of Miller Heiman Group on +61 400 649 641 or email Ty.South­ern@miller­heiman­group.

com for a dis­cus­sion on how you can se­lect and grow the right tal­ent to el­e­vate your sales and ser­vice per­for­mance.

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