More than any role I am aware selling has little to do with skills, education or track record but that is exactly where most managers focus.
Study, after study has clear demonstrated that the most important aspect to success in life has little to do with education. How many people have you met with advanced degrees and even MBAs doing absolutely nothing? Education is a powerful tool and provides a great resource but is absolutely no guarantee of success at work; in fact many great entrepreneurs have struggled with school.
Track record, without understanding context also means very little. The worst salespeople can make a killing during an economic boom because everybody is buying – they just need to show up. Many of those very same salespeople will struggle in every other sales role because they actually can’t sell.
When hiring a salesperson the most important element is the hardest to spot – passion! Passion is easily confused with enthusiasm, which is pretty easy for a salesperson to muster during an interview. So many of these hopeful hires end up being disappointing at best and a disaster at worst.
If your business has invested in the development of a powerful sales process than the quality of the salesperson is less of a factor. If, however, your business is like most the quality of your sales force can have a dramatic affect on the performance of your business. Mediocre salespeople will be a huge drag on growth and hiring failures is disastrous!
I am not saying throw out the CV/Resume but rather consider it as a starting point. Also, keep in mind that someone may not tick all the boxes but may have the personal drive to out perform those with even a perfect pedigree.
Getting stuck on ‘requirements’ and overlooking or even discounting ‘passion’ can ultimately mean that you are working on creating mediocrity rather than meritocracy.