Yankee Doodle Danger

Just for the record – I am not having a go at Americans in this post despite what the title might suggest.

But having worked with hundreds of Irish companies over the years and having been involved with selling programs such as SalesSTAR and the International Selling Programme I am only too familiar with some of the war stories that people tell about their experiences when hiring sales people aboard—and unfortunately some of the worst stories come from the U.S.

This is what I call Yankee Doodler Danger. Most of you will be familiar with what I mean—either you’ve heard the stories or had the experience first-hand.

Here is the scenario:

It’s an important new sales hire in the U.S.—the whole company is excited about it. It’s really going to help the business get a boost in growth. You’ve met the candidate; he or she comes highly recommended by someone on the board. They’ve got a great CV and have worked for some of the biggest companies in the U.S. They know the industry so they will able to open doors and use their network to get meetings from day one. All the reference checks went well—the compensation package is a bit high but the combination of your product, their experience, and their connections is bound to lead to deals—fast.

What’s not to be happy about? The die is cast and the deal is done!

Fast track 6 to 9 months. You’re tearing your hair out—there are no deals closed and a host of excuses as to why. The pipeline is looking seriously anemic; you’ve invested a fortune’s worth of time in on-boarding and support but are seeing no return. Worse still, the rest of the sales team have their hackles up and are not happy about carrying a highly paid under-performer on the team.

The fairy tale ending is that you fire the person you hired quickly and move on. The not so happily-ever-after ending is that you carry them for another 6-9 months, have your reputation damaged with a couple of key prospects and business partners and further disenfranchise the rest of the sales team. Plus … the board tells you, “We told you so!”

If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. Two out of three companies say they have blown it big time when it comes to getting key hires right. Hiring is an inexact activity. You win some and you lose some. But those who improve their odds tackled the challenge head on and didn’t leave it all up to guesswork and luck.

To find out more about what you can do to avoid the Yankee Doodle Danger join me in Dublin on the 17 -18th of April for a hands-on, realistic workshop about how to hire and keep smart, sharp sales talent. To find out what it’s all about click here.

Image source: © AOshlick – Fotolia.com

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