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  • Writer's pictureKris Johnson

Creating a more inclusive and diverse sales team is high on the priority list for many companies. Not only has it been proven to boost profits, but it positively contributes to company culture, increases creativity, and promotes better problem solving.

If you are wondering whether your sales team needs an influx of diversity, that probably means it does. Here are 4 questions to ask yourself so you can know for sure.

1. Does Your Management Team All Look Alike?

The diversity of a business is usually reflected in its upper management. If you look around the room at an executive meeting and it’s all middle-aged men, that’s not a good sign.

The makeup of managers and executives sends a message to the rest of the company about how much you prioritize diversity. In many companies, there is a lack of women and visible minorities in executive positions. In other cases, all members might have a specific professional background. Watch out for similarities and actively look to add new faces.

2. Are You Always Hearing the Same Responses to the Same Questions?

Diverse sales teams are more innovative and flexible in their approaches. Due to the variety of backgrounds, cultures, and experiences in a diverse team, there is naturally a range of responses to the same question. If you find that your brainstorm sessions and strategy meetings are becoming stale and repetitive, you might be lacking different viewpoints.

Also, if your customers and leads are consistently repeating the same questions or having the same problems, it could be that your salespeople are all selling the same way. They might be all approaching prospects with a similar set of views and outlooks on the market. If all your sales reps are men, for example, they may be highlighting features female prospects are uninterested in and thus not answering their objections in a helpful way.

3. Are Your Meetings Dominated by the Same People Every Time?

No one wants to feel like they are the odd one out. When there is a sense of “sameness” within a sales team, members who are in the minority are less likely to speak up and be heard. If the same people are always coming up with ideas and speaking up, it might be because the others feel out of place.

Diverse sales teams are an excellent foundation for creativity and problem solving. With an increase in the number of viewpoints, everyone feels like they have something new and exciting to contribute. With a reduction in a feeling of majority and minority, everyone feels equal and that their ideas hold more weight.

4. Do You Have High Sales Rep Turnover?

Younger generations place high value on the inclusiveness of their workplaces. A Glassdoor survey found that two-thirds of people see company diversity as a defining factor when making a career decision. Minority groups and millennials in particular value this trait in a potential employer.

If you are noticing candidates are joining your competitors’ sales teams or your reps are leaving after a few months, it might be time to consider a lack of diversity as the cause. Not only does an inclusive office culture entice new employees, but it also helps you retain the ones you have. The above-mentioned survey also concluded that 57 percent of workers think their companies should do more to increase diversity. That’s more than half the workforce who believe these obvious changes need to be made.

Does diversity matter to you? What do you think hiring managers can do to promote an inclusive culture? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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  • Writer's pictureKris Johnson

Transparency matters when hiring any position, but it does play a larger role in the sales world.

By now, if you have interviewed for a job in the last decade, you have encountered Glassdoor. In such an interconnected world, it is crucial for all businesses to be open and honest about their hiring processes, pay structure, and corporate culture. If not, people will find out about your dishonest ways on Glassdoor or social media.

Your business should strive to be as transparent as possible in all areas. The benefits aren’t just regarding your reputation either. Transparency in your hiring process is key to finding and retaining great candidates as well as streamlining your entire hiring process.

It Reduces Turnover

In many cases, once a candidate leaves an interview, they still have no idea what it would be like to actually work for your company. This is a problem. You want potential employees to leave with a real understanding of how your business works, what your organization’s values are, and how a sales position fits into the equation.

In too many interviews, candidates walk out with misguided expectations of the realities and responsibilities of the position. This misalignment between expectations and reality is the greatest predictor of high turnover.

By posting a transparent job description, you can avoid candidates only hearing what they want to hear in the interview. Another way to increase transparency is to add a trial period or job shadowing as part of the interview process. This removes surprises and weeds out those who aren’t right for the job. Plus, once you find the perfect candidate, they are already a step ahead.

It’s an Important Differentiator

A more transparent hiring process is a great way to reduce turnover, but it can also be a huge selling point when candidates are deciding to apply for your job opening. If you lay out your expectations as clearly as possible in a job posting, candidates will appreciate it. They will have a better picture of how they fit in and how their strengths can help your sales team.

If candidates can envision a day in the life at your organization, they will likely come into the interview more enthusiastic and confident.

It Creates a Defined Hiring Strategy

If a sales manager is dedicated to being as transparent as possible during the hiring process, it means they have thoughtfully considered the position’s responsibilities, requirements, and expectations. They will know exactly what they are looking for and be able to quantify those traits in potential interview candidates.

By doing this work ahead of time, you have essentially created a full hiring strategy built around finding a candidate that meets your specific criteria. It also enables you to create questions and scenarios to gauge suitability. You have now strategized for the long process of hiring.

Being honest and open about what you want will only weed out candidates that aren’t a good fit, while enabling you to build trust with the ones who are.

It Shows You Have Nothing to Hide

Being shady and unclear in your job description or hiring process can put off potential candidates immediately—especially salespeople.

A sales audience wants to know exactly what the job is and how they will be expected to perform. You should include not only a detailed description of the job requirements but also include the position’s career path and the company culture.

If you are transparent in your job posting, make sure to be just as transparent throughout every interaction with your candidates. Everyone knows there are pros and cons to every job, so be honest about them. A company that’s holding something back, even by mistake, will come across as untrustworthy.

Have you ever had a sales interview that wasn’t what it seemed? Tell me about it in the comments!

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  • Writer's pictureKris Johnson

Those candidates you just sent that mass rejection email to? Trust me, they are going to tell their friends and family about it. What impression do you want to leave candidates with? Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool, and a poor candidate experience can put a sour taste in their mouths for a long time.

Don’t underestimate the power of treating every candidate with respect. Show them you value their time and effort. It will go a long way to showing what your business stands for and attracting the type of candidates you are looking for. Here are some of the best practices to offer an exceptional candidate experience.

Nurture Candidates’ Interest

Maybe they’re interested in your company but you aren’t looking right now. Or perhaps you loved their first interview, but their follow-up missed the mark.

You need to have a way to stay connected with candidates, especially the ones who were so close, but just not there yet. Social media is a great way to keep in touch. Encouraging candidates to keep in contact makes your business approachable. Who doesn’t want to hire a candidate who is already engaged and involved in your organization’s community?

Put Process Everywhere

Unless your application process is a simple attachment of a cover letter and resume, make sure your application process is well laid out, easy to find, and straightforward. You need to make it as easy as possible for the best of the best to apply.

If you are asking candidates to follow a specific process, attach detailed portfolios, or understand a complicated interview process, consider using a video to show exactly how you want applications sent or include a FAQ section.

Personalize Your Emails

Let’s all stop it with the run-of-the-mill auto response. Sending automated emails is not technically bad practice, but putting in the time to make them sound human can go a long way. To go a step further, consider linking to your blog or an explainer video on the company, or adding social links.

Be in Contact

Recruiters and HR managers should remain in contact with candidates during the whole process. If the process is taking longer than expected, let the candidate know. Even if there is no news, checking in and giving updates is a way to show candidates you are taking the process—and them—seriously.

If you are unsure of timelines or things are slowing down because a new project landed in your lap, put the candidate in charge. Ask them to call or email after a certain time or in X number of days. This gives them a sense of control and gives you time to make your decision.

Give and Receive Feedback

The only way candidates can improve or refine their interviewing skills is to understand their mistakes and fix them. Letting a candidate know they are no longer being considered for the sales role doesn’t have to be awkward. It can be a constructive conversation so both sides can improve.

By telling someone where they fell short, they can learn and do better next time. How your company rejects candidates will have either a positive or negative impact on your brand. By trying your best to help those you reject, you can be part of their improvement process rather than a hindrance.

Also, make sure to ask candidates about their experience to help you tweak your hiring processes, re-evaluate your job descriptions, align expectations, and get a better sense of how your business is seen by job seekers.

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