Why Hiring Gap Sellers is so Damn Difficult!

Hiring is a challenge for most departments across the globe. BUT hiring salespeople has some unique challenges. First of all, there is no university degree in sales. Unlike hiring a CPA or an engineer, sales doesn’t have any realm of formal certification, degree, or even agreed upon approach. The result in the sales world is a sea of salespeople, 80% of which don’t make quota, engage in high churn, and yet all somehow profess to be a top seller.

When 80% of salespeople are underperforming within their job role, how is it 100% of applicants will profess they are in the top 10%?

To overcome some of the unique challenges hiring salespeople, A Sales Guy has created a different approach to the process: no more job applications!

You heard me…

Rather than taking salespeople through the typical job application process with redundant questions and generally a waste of time, we decided to use our marketing platform / lead generation platform to get the same type of sales data that sales and marketing departments use daily for prospects.

Are you ready for some interesting data?

Thanks to this singular change in process, we now understand hiring data and conversion rates in ways we never had visibility before (like a candidate pipeline). And sorry salespeople, but the data is abysmal!

Even though our new process is considerably less effort than a traditional job application, we know that only 7% of people who view the job listing actually complete the 7 question form consisting of name and contact information. This piece of data is something we expected though. People need to see what the job is all about. So here, no big deal.

The scary part is that of the 7% of salespeople who take the time to complete the form, only 75% of salespeople actually open the email with “next steps.”

This “next steps” email is lined with URL linked call-to-actions leading applicants to the exact learning material to better understand the job and company.

Yet, only 23% actually click ANY learning CTAs.

While 44% of those who open the email, complete the “next step” portion, most of these people are wildly unprepared for an interview and generally fail the first “step.” And it’s not a hard step mind you! It is simply constructing an email stating “Why you.” Why you think it is a good fit for you and why you think you are a good fit for ASG. The easiest of tasks to complete with ALL of the information needed at the applicant’s finger tips…yet only 23% prepare.

I’m asked often why do we do this?

One of the most significant personality attributes to being a Gap Seller is learning. Gap Selling challenges salespeople to LEARN about the customer and the problems that customer may have that the product or service can solve. Nothing in Gap Selling can really occur without being a learner. The sales methodology pushes salespeople to up their game to being a sales professional. To approach prospecting from email to cold call to targeting around the buyer’s world. To structure discovery purely to understand that buyer’s business problems. To demonstrate solutions that are tailored to the customers problems. All of these steps requires a key ingredient: learning.

We built our hiring process to identify who is a learner. THAT is step one / test one.

I’ve asked many sales applicants the question around why they chose to not prepare or engage in learning about A Sales Guy or Gap Selling. The most common answer is that they figured if they could do a good enough job getting a call scheduled, they would get the needed information on the call.

Just like this is how they approach their own career and livelihood, they also approach with prospects.

“Good enough to get a call.”

Before we started this process, I would get interview after interview with salespeople who had GREAT resumes, GREAT LinkedIn profiles, GREAT references, and on and on…yet they would be completely unprepared for any realm of interview. Often, the first question would be “so what does A Sales Guy do?” Are you kidding me? One glance at our website menu should give you an immediate understanding of what we do.

But this is exactly how salespeople roll in their professional life too. We have all received the emails with offers of free trials or asking for meetings. They are generic and annoying. They are targeted to be “good enough” to get “enough” meetings. Whether those meetings have any realm of validity, no one knows. They were too general to yield any sort of intelligent decision making.

“Good enough” is really never actually “good enough.”

Maybe “good enough” to keep your job for a year (a VERY common tenure within sales). Or “good enough” that if you deploy enough lead generation tools you will statically and randomly hit potential sales from pure probability.

But for the realm of a sales professional, throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks does NOT qualify.

For all of the sales leaders, I encourage you to review your hiring process and decide whether or not your process tests for LEARNERS. In my eyes, you have to be a learner to Gap Sell. You have to be a learner to be coachable. You have to be a learner to help your buyer.

Do you think you have what it takes?

So what about you? Are you a learner? Do you prepare intelligently for your meetings? Do you prospect with the buyer in mind? Do you consider how to optimize your efforts? Are you among the 1% of salespeople who can influence the sale?

Try your hand at our hiring process! 

Braedi Leigh