The most difficult sales position to fill is that of a hunter. A higher percentage of salespeople are cut out for account management, where clients already exist and the job is client retention and growth. The challenge is compounded by business owners’ expectations for the hunter role.
Because it’s new business development, executives pile on the responsibilities: cold calling, networking, event management, email campaigns, list development and online lead follow up. In addition to finding and uncovering leads, business owners who have never had a salesperson also expect management of the full sales cycle including solution identification, configuration, demonstrations and quoting without assistance.
In short, they’re looking for Superman in a sales suit.
Define the Sales Hunter Role for Success
When your hunter role definition is off, your interviews will be off, too. You’re looking for the wrong skills, and, as a result, hiring the wrong people.
What follows? Frustration and failure.
Before you consider the right interview questions to ask, define a role where an experienced sales hunter can be successful and excited to perform.
- Separate the marketing activities and outsource them to us.
- Portion off the support activities for a sales administrative role.
- Assign your most articulate technical staff to assist with the technical solution elements of the sales process.
Top Sales Hunter Skills to Hire
What you’re left with are the core skills a talented hunter thrives at – prospecting, networking, relationship building, trust development, team leadership and closing. These are the skills you are seeking in your business development rep.
Don’t waste your time looking for someone who can write a good email campaign or learn your quoting system. Look instead for a salesperson who:
- Thrives when talking with new people, fully understanding their business situation, and offering valued solutions.
- Gets a rush out of closing a new account, then immediately looks for the next one when their new client has successfully transitioned.
- Panics when their sales pipeline is thin with prospects, then dives in to fix the problem.
- Will happily pick up the phone just as easily as send an email.
- Focuses on both the minnows and the whales in your pond.
This is the Superman Sales Hunter you want on your team.
Superman Sales Hunter Interview Questions
Now that you’ve established what your Superman in a sales suit looks like, here are the top 10 questions to ask to uncover if a candidate will be your Clark Kent. (That’s Superman in plain clothes if any of you aren’t familiar with the series.)
- Describe your approach to find new prospects.
- Where do you get your target list of contacts if we don’t have any to give you?
- What do you find to be the hardest aspect of new business development?
- When nobody seems interested, what do you do?
- Describe your typical sales process for a new prospect.
- Where do you feel you’ll need help in the sales process?
- Describe how you present a proposal to a client and who is involved.
- What do you do when a prospect no longer responds to your calls and emails after you’ve presented a proposal?
- What do you think will be the biggest challenge selling our solutions?
- What concerns versus excites you most about this position?
The Sales Hunter Interview Objective
There are other questions you could ask covering closing, quota attainment and your solutions. You could even ask the “sell me a pencil” question. While all are good questions and add valuable information to inform your decision, your true objective is to identify if the candidate has the skills and experience to find and close new prospects.
These 10 sales hunter interview questions give you insight into how a particular rep candidate thinks and acts in a business development position. Use them to identify if a sales rep will be successful as a hunter, would make a better account manager or perhaps can’t really sell at all. References and proof of performance will validate your assessment.
If you are hiring a sales rep and could use assistance with defining the role, setting performance expectations, establishing a compensation plan or planning your interview and onboarding process, contact us. We can help. We’ll discuss your vision and how to get there.