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2 Advanced Sales Vetting Tips

Why do some sales reps with tremendous track records succeed in a new sales role while other equally accomplished reps fail? Predicting how a human being is going to perform in a new environment is a tremendously challenging proposition. Just ask any NFL talent scout. The easier piece in sales hiring is vetting out if a sales rep is a legitimate top performer (read our tips in our eBook on Selecting Top Reps). Assuming that you’ve verified that the sales rep in question is a top performer, the tricky part is projecting how they’ll perform on your team and the territory in question. We have 2 advanced sales vetting tips to help you with this.

Advanced Sales Vetting Tip #1.

Most sales leaders I’ve worked with like top sales performers from successful, name brand companies like Oracle, Xerox, ADP, Boston Scientific, etc. When facing difficult and risk filled decisions, human beings look for the sure thing. For example, if a sales professional was sharp enough to get hired by Oracle AND hit quota there; hiring them should be a safe bet. Or is it?

Proven companies with proven sales playbooks usually hire polished sales reps that will… follow their formula. When interviewed, their sales reps are almost always sharp and they can usually articulate a clear method to their madness. Without question, these are qualities to look for. But what happens when you place one of these reps into an environment without a proven playbook and/or one that presents tremendous obstacles? I’ve learned the hard way that some sales reps are only successful when they have a proven plan to follow and a proven name brand to sell.  Very few sales reps like and excel at trailblazing a path. After all, building a flywheel and getting it up to speed is hard! When you need to hire a trailblazer or a sales rep that will have to think outside of the box, look for past trailblazing successes and look for the One Trait Top Sales Reps Possess.

Advanced Sales Vetting Tip #2.

Did the sales rep in question inherit a plum territory, start from scratch or take over a lemon? Knowing this answer gives context to their sales accomplishments. Hitting 90% of quota might be a heroic achievement given the conditions they faced.

Context also helps us understand how they might fit into your organization. Uncovering the obstacles they faced and how they overcame them gives you an insight into their strengths and their thought processes. Sticking with the concept of context; a strength can turn into a liability or vice versa should conditions change.

Advanced Sales Vetting Requires Going Deep.

If you’re guessing that a 60 minute interview is insufficient time to go deep, you’re right. Peeling this back further, advanced sales vetting techniques require a big up front investment of time to design a sales hiring process that works. A good place to start is 4 Sales Recruiting Tips to Hire Top Sales Performers. Good luck, question everything and document the journey. Lessons lost are lessons to be relearned.

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Chris Carlson

My name is Chris Carlson and I’m the founder and President of Sales Talent. This blog grew out of my desire to document and share what I’ve learned in my two plus decades of sales recruiting and leading Sales Talent. We post a new blog once a quarter on the 3rd Thursday of every January, April, July and Oct. These posts are aimed at sales professionals and leaders that speaks to talent selection, team building, or career advancement. If you have a topic that you’d like my take on, please reach out to me.

You can find Chris Carlson on LinkedIn or contact him directly at: