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  • Writer's pictureBrian Shea

Expired Hiring Processes are Worse Than Drinking Expired Milk

#Geico has an amusing commercial titled "Aunt Infestation". Aunt Bonnie arrives and beings rummaging through the refrigerator yelling "expired!" as she audits the dates the contents. While humorous, we've all been conditioned to always smell the milk and double check the expiration date before consuming.

Imagine if executives took that same approach to their business processes. Recently, Jennifer Dublino published "5 Reasons Why Emotional Intelligence Matters In Sales".

Dublino states "Successful salespeople possess many skills. They need the confidence to present sales pitches, the motivation to increase sales for their organization, and the passion and knowledge to promote your product or service. However, their most essential skill may be emotional intelligence."

Research reflects that high-level sales involve emotionally connecting with customers. This begins with treating B2B buyers as individuals with emotions and unique needs. Today's #B2BBuyers struggle with the emotions that impact the decision making criteria around spending their company's money. Dublino says "Creating genuine connections means understanding and harnessing your own emotions as well as your prospects’ and customers’ emotions. These skills embody emotional intelligence."

Research also reflects the 80% of buyer's B2B buying journey is completed without any interaction with a salesperson. So, how do high performing sellers sell?

High performing sales people invest in understanding their buyers' challenges faced in their roles. They show empathy through all modes of communication. They make interactions personal, with personalized content or customized solution proposals. They tell compelling stories that resonate with the buyer's challenges. They build trust and credibility by proving valuable insights, industry knowledge, and thought leadership. They show genuine interest in the buyer, and their success. They invest in their buyers success result. As a result these high performers engage with buyers earlier than their competitors and secure a seat as a trusted resource to the buying team.

Seems pretty straight forward, right?

During our early 2024 conversations with Founder-led CEOs, we ask about how their revenue generating roles are designed. We probe on how sales and account management position descriptions were designed and which competencies and skills the CEO requires in their team. CEOs often identify their desire to build a team with many of the traits of high performing sales people.

And then, we channel our inner "Aunt Bonnie".

Together we review their selection process (the hiring process). We start by asking recruiters what does "good look like", we review position descriptions, the role definitions, and the interview questions asked throughout the process. What do we find? A huge gap between the desires of the CEO and the type of revenue generating personnel their team is actual hiring. Aunt Bonnie's frequent assessment of most CEO's hiring process is "EXPIRED!".

In #GoodToGreat, Jim Collins wrote that one key tenant of high performing companies is TALENT. Summed up, he wrote "First Who, Then What". Collins emphasizes the importance of getting the right people on the bus before determining where to drive it. How?

CEOs must get their "WHO" communicated. It starts with the CEO communicating what good looks like and requiring their team to execute.

If the five components of emotional intelligence are Self-awareness, Self-regulation, Social skills, Empathy, and Motivation, then the talent strategy must identify revenue generating candidates who have these, or most of these components. This builds a candidate assessment program that finds the talent with high emotional intelligence versus finding talent that reminds the CEO of EXPIRED! milk.

This is hard. But we can help.


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