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Hire Without Fear: 5 Questions to Ask

Sales Ops managers can find it very difficult to hire new team members. It’s not like job candidates have a degree that’s specific to sales operations. Instead, companies have to rely on resumes and interviews to help them find people with the right personality traits and attitudes to be successful in sales ops. And those methods are unreliable at best.

Complicating this problem is that fact most sales ops teams can’t afford a mistake when it comes to new pricing hires. When you have approval to grow the team, you certainly don’t want to end up making the wrong decision. Let alone the fact that putting someone in place who makes a major error can have drastic consequences for the sales team (and the reputation of sales ops).

If all this has you feeling a little stressed, don’t worry—we’re about to give you a tool that can make the hiring process a lot easier.

We’ve found that the hiring process goes much more smoothly when you start by asking the right questions.

But these aren’t questions that you are going to ask your job applicants. Instead, these are questions that you are going to ask yourself. And they’re going to set the tone for your entire job search. Here they are:

  1. At this point in your team development, do you need sales ops specialists or generalists?
  2. Should your role definitions be somewhat flexible or more highly defined and specific?
  3. Could you be adding too much headcount, too soon, and just because you can and want to?
  4. Are you adding human resources to perform tasks that technology should be handling?
  5. Are you thinking broadly enough about the skills that are necessary for success?

Why are these questions important?

Generally, you find what you are looking for. And over time, you get more and more of what you were looking for.

Say, for example, that your sales ops team has identified a particular need. Maybe you’re implementing a new CRM process. The natural tendency is to post a job for a CRM specialist. You’ll probably get job candidates who have done that before and are really good at it.

That’s great if you have a fairly large, well-established team and you want to have a team member who is devoted to implementing a CRM all the time.

But if you are a small, young team, you may need someone who has skills in addition to CRM implementation. It may be that after that project is done, you will need someone who can analyze sales data and identify accounts that are retention risks. Or maybe you will need someone who can work with the sales team and get them to do a better job negotiating profitable deals. If you’ve hired someone to be a CRM specialist, that individual may not have the skills—or the desire—to take on those other tasks. Instead, he or she may continue to focus on CRM—even if it is no longer the best use of his or her time.

Once you’ve started hiring for particular roles, it can be really hard to restructure your department. But letting people go isn’t good for you or for them. So it’s best to be really sure that you are looking for the right kind of person for the long term—and to make sure you really need a person. When a team is just getting started or is fairly small, we generally recommend looking for generalists who enjoy some flexibility in their job assignments rather than specialists with a narrow set of skills.

For more tips like these, join our next live webinar, How to Hire Great Sales Ops People.  You can also watch these on-demand webinars: How to Structure Sales Ops and Developing a Winning Sales Ops Roadmap. They covers lots of information on building and evolving a sales ops function–along with a host of strategies and tactics that other teams have found effective.

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