26 September 2023 |

Identify Intelligence

By Alex Alleyne

The first step in identifying talent, the “I” in IDEAH, is determining intelligence. This isn’t as simple as IQ or standardized testing. Intelligence is demonstrated in the track record of projects, companies, or initiatives in which a potential hire has participated. Ask yourself:

  • Do they seek out challenges and complexity? 
  • Are they striving just beyond their experience? 
  • Will they be able to solve sales challenges by thinking creatively? 

You can use their university degree as a signal of intelligence, but don’t stop there; dig deeper and see how your candidates apply themselves to real and bigger challenges.

Determine Drive

The “D” in IDEAH is for Drive. Quite literally, how tenacious is the person you’re thinking of hiring? Will they go the extra mile, smash through obstacles, and do whatever it takes to succeed? Even the best salespeople will hear “no” regularly. Those with potential will use those no’s as fuel, while those with low potential will hear “no” as a failure and start to spiral. 

You want a sales team built of men and women with an innate drive inside of them. Anyone else isn’t suited for sales. 

Enter Experience

Next, we get to “E,” for Experience. But, —and I want to be very clear on this-–when I say experience, I do not only mean how many years a person has worked in sales. The best salespeople I’ve ever had on my teams were those with diverse personal and professional experiences. You want salespeople who are relatable and who can relate to others. High-potential salespeople are storytellers, and the best stories are true. How better to have stories to tell than to have lived them? 

A quick note: past success is a predictor of future success. So do not discount entirely anyone who has had a long (and successful) sales career. 

Access Adaptability

That brings us to the letter ‘A’ in our IDEAH criteria, which stands for Adaptability—the essential skill of navigating the ever-changing and continually evolving sales landscape. To stay agile in the face of adversity and to make their way forward, even when the path is unclear. Being adaptable is perhaps the most important of all the IDEAH Criteria in 2023, and it’s also the hardest to identify during the hiring process. 

Challenge your candidates, change direction during the interview process, and see how ( or if ) they can adapt on the fly. 

Highlight Hunger

And finally, we have ‘H’ for Hunger. Not simply hunger to close deals or hit the sales leaderboard. Real hunger is that itch for more. More challenges. More growth and more value to the team. During interviews or with team members in review sessions, ask what they’re most proud of or what goals they seek. If their eyes light up, you’ve likely got a real go-getter.

And there you have it—the IDEAH Criteria.

While we talked mainly about applying IDEAH to the hiring process in this email, it should not be limited to interviews and hiring. The concepts in this email should be a part of your baselining process and regular performance reviews. 

Speaking of the interview process… You cannot identify these traits in a potential candidate in one interview. 

One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to make multiple people in your organization part of the hiring process. Have different team members look for traits in the IDEAH Criteria, and take your time in deciding to approve or reject a candidate. 

Remember what I said last week. 

Hire slow. Fire fast. 

And use the IDEAH Criteria to help make fewer mistakes in hiring. 

Until next week, my fellow sales leaders.