Why Sales Hires Fail

Based on informal surveys that K&A has conducted each quarter since 2001, we have observed that companies that hire sales staff typically achieve a success rate of only 20% - 30%. Additionally, many companies keep most of their hiring failures on their payroll for 12 - 18 months.

Here are the top 5 reasons that many companies experience such a low hiring success rate, based on K&A's experiences:

  1. The company does not understand, nor has defined, what the key requirements, the key responsibilities, and the key sales production goals, are for the targeted sales roles.
  2. The company does not use a consistent process for evaluating all candidates for its targeted sales roles.
  3. The company does not start generating candidates for its sales roles until they are ready to fill the related openings.
  4. The company overvalues the candidates' skills, and experiences, and undervalues their attitudes, behaviors, and motivations. Additionally, the company does not validate the candidates' prior skills, experience, or compensation. 
  5. The company does not have an effective startup program for its new hires.

K&A defines "sales staff" to be the human resources that sell the company's products or services to the company's customers. These resources can be directly managed (they are on the company's payroll), or they can be indirectly managed (work as independent entities, or work for MFG Rep Firms). These resources generally can not be identified by using their job title.