The Best Recruits Could Harm Your Team

Michele Warg
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Although every sales manager wants the best sales team with the highest output, not every sales star is the right fit for your operation. Some superstars might even disrupt or harm your team. When looking for new recruits, avoid the temptation to try to find only the best and brightest. Instead, focus on what you need for each position, and avoid harming your operation with too much of the wrong kind of sales talent.

Sales performance is influenced heavily by company culture, the target customers and specific company policies. Each company is different, and a sales star for one enterprise may be a mediocre performer at another. Also, recruiting stars takes time and money, and in the end, there are unlikely to be enough stars to fill all sales team positions. Even if that were possible, it is not the ideal. Many sales positions do not require stars. If company policy heavily dictates the behavior in a position or that position is not highly responsible for sales outputs, focus your recruiting efforts on sales recruits who are the best match for the position, and save the stars for those sales team positions with both high strategic impact and the need for well-developed sales skills.

Instead of focusing on sales recruits with star experience, diversify your sales team. When interviewing prospective members, contemplate how each individual can make a difference on your team. Consider each recruit's special knowledge of your industry and the products you sell. Maybe a recruit has account management experience, organizational skills or a history of product cross-selling or upselling that your other sales team members lack.

Experience matters, but not all sales experience involves the same tasks. Good experience involves working with a customer group similar to yours, in the same geographic region, in a similar company culture or selling products in a similar industry. You are unlikely to find candidates with all those types of experience so focus on that areas that are lacking in your current team or the skills that matter most to increasing output.

After finding the right talent to match your openings, focus on smoothly transitioning the new recruits into your team. Too often sales stars are set in their ways, and they might not mesh well with your existing team. Instead choose sales representatives with flexible outlooks and great communication skills to help them quickly adapt to your culture and needs.

A great sales team is not built exclusively of high performers. Many times those who look like the best recruits at first glance are not the ones who can best move your team to the next level. Instead, focus on those with the right kind of experience to round out your sales team, and the flexibility and communication skills to move into their new positions quickly.


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