Attributes required: Flexibility and ability to work under tight deadlines; ability
to multitask; comfortable with change; able to command
respect; high degree of integrity; creative, innovative, and
Education/experience: College degree or commensurate work experience
Position classification: Exempt or nonexempt
Exhibit 4.2 Standard Categories for Sales Job Description
specific sales job. This helps you to achieve a win-win hire, in which the new
hire understands his or her role clearly, and you have a clear road map as to
how this sales professional will fit into your organization.
Standard categories to include in your job description, with sample de-
tail included in the duties, skills, and attributes categories, are shown in
While the job description provides you with great insight into the skills
and attributes you are looking for, it is important that you stay connected to
the recruitment philosophy of looking for sales professionals. Do not try too
hard to make somebody into a sales professional. Key skills and attributes to
look for include:
92 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth
â€˘ Proven sales success
â€˘ High activity in past roles
â€˘ Fearless on the phone
â€˘ Hungry to learn
â€˘ Willing to be responsible for their own success
â€˘ Sturdy and relentlessâ€”not deterred by â€śnoâ€ť
SOURCING CANDIDATES. Now that you know what you are looking for
in candidates, where do you find them? Depending on the size of your
firm, you might have a human resources or staffing team available to help
you locate sales professionals, and help from these internal partners can be
extremely valuable. In addition, ways to source candidates for your sales or-
â€˘ Partner with recruiters. Donâ€™t hesitate to employ corporate recruiters
and outside recruiting firms; they form long-term relationships with
leading sales professionals and have the lead on when certain high-
performing individuals might be ready for a career move.
â€˘ Answer the phone. Sales professionals who are at the point in their ca-
reer at which they know what they want and where they want to go will
often target you. Respond to those who cold call youâ€”a new superstar
might be on the other end of the line.
â€˘ Institute a referral system. Referral programs teach employees to be in-
ternal headhunters and result in prescreened candidates for you. Cash is
the most popular award given to employees who refer individuals, with
awards varying based on the role being filled. For example, FTI offers
a bonus of $5,000 for any sales referral hire. In addition to being an ex-
cellent recruiting tool, the referral system also results in improved re-
â€˘ Remember who has called on you in the past and impressed you. Go
through your Rolodex and call those sales professionals you have met in
the course of doing business. Seek out those who have sold you, those
whom you wanted to buy from. Call them.
â€˘ Ask your clients. Reach out to your clients for names of sales profession-
als with whom they have been impressed over the years.
INTERVIEWING TACTICS. The next step in hiring sales professionals is the
actual interview process. Possible interviewing questions include:
â€˘ Tell me about a time you identified a problem and came up with the so-
lution? What did you do? Why did you follow that course of action?
Were there other alternatives you could have pursued?
â€˘ Whatâ€™s been the most difficult obstacle you have ever overcome? Why
was it difficult? What plan did you execute to get past it? Why do you
believe you were successful? Based on your experience today, what
might you have done differently?
Are you familiar with these questions? All of these questions focus on spe-
cific past behavior, and they come out of the structured behavioral interview-
ing technique, which I recommend for interviewing your sales candidates.
Structured behavioral interviewing is a standardized way of getting informa-
tion from candidates about their past behavior and performance. The premise
of this interview technique is that past behavior is the best indicator of future
behavior. According to Kathryn Neiner, principal with The Chrisa Group and
an expert on employment interviewing, two reasons for using behavioral inter-
1. Itâ€™s more valid than traditional interviews. Questions are designed to
evaluate only competencies that have been shown through job analysis
to be required for successful job performance. This prevents you from
assessing irrelevant knowledge or skills.
2. When used properly, behavioral interviews reduce legal risks because all
candidates are treated the same. Regardless of who conducts the inter-
view, all candidates are asked the same questions, assessed against the
same set of job-related competencies, and rated using the same method.
An effective structured behavioral interviewing program requires you
to develop job-related competencies (which you developed in your job de-
scription), write behavioral questions about those competencies, and train
interviewers to use the system. To institute this technique in your sales orga-
nization, donâ€™t hesitate to bring in outside consultants who will help you to
identify the key behaviors of sales professionals in your organization. These
consultants will rigorously detail the nature of the sales process and the be-
haviors that make an individual successful. For leads, ask your peers who
they use and search for vendors via the Internet. Find 5 to 10 people who
conduct interviewing workshops and talk with them on the phone, take a
look at their materials and approach, and meet with them. If after meeting
with the various vendors you find that you donâ€™t have the budget to work
with an outside consultant, through conversing with the various salespeople
and consultants, you will have already learned a great deal. You can use this
insight to inform and guide your interviewing process.
Professional services staff come to work every day wanting to play at the top
of their game. Salespeople are no different, and the aggressive ones are
94 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth
going to be demanding about what they need to deliver consistent, outstand-
ing performance. It is your job to deliver on resources and training. Donâ€™t
hesitate to give your people everything they need to succeed, if you believe
they have the potentialâ€”and the heart and attitudeâ€”to be successful. Train-
ing is core to your job as a sales manager; and to a willing heart and mind, you
can teach all the skills a person needs to succeed at selling. Although you
canâ€™t make someone a superstarâ€”you can help all of your professionals de-
velop along the lines of skills, knowledge, and process.
SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, AND PROCESS. Sales training needs to be focused
on three core areasâ€”skills, knowledge, and process. The skills component is
behavioral; for example, the ability to communicate, listen, present, and nego-
tiate are skills. The best training techniques for skills development are role-
playing exercises, video training, and group work. Regardless of industry or
company, sales-specific skills are universal and include:
â€˘ Precall planning/strategy
Knowledge is information and understanding, and the specific knowledge
areas on which you train will be unique to your particular firm. The best
training techniques for knowledge development are studying and reading,
video training, e-learning, and experiential learning, for example, accompany-
ing client service professionals to client meetings or client engagements. In
the professional services industry, knowledge includes an understanding of:
â€˘ The firmâ€”its history, mission, and key strengths
â€˘ The key service lines, or practice areas, that you are selling
â€˘ The consultants, or intellectual property and capabilities, that you are
Sales professionals at FTI, for example, are trained on the core knowledge
areas of litigation process, forensic/litigation, complex data, web hosting, and
trial services; they are also trained to â€śmineâ€ť consultants or know who their
key consultants are and what theyâ€™ve delivered. In this way, when an existing
or potential client has a specific area of inquiry, the sales professional can
immediately identify the proper expertise.
In addition to skills and knowledge, process training is another core area
for sales training. Process includes all of the structures, systems, or sales
processes unique to your firm, for example, account management, running
conf lict checks, or using customer relationship management (CRM) systems.
The best training techniques for process training are case study review and
experiential and workshop-based learning, in which you apply the processes
you are supposed to be learning to your own scenarios.
The following sections detail FTIâ€™s training programs, which are designed
to develop the sales organization along the skills, knowledge, and process
lines detailed previously. The FTI training program begins with new hire
Boot Camp and extends through the ongoing quarterly review process.
BOOT CAMP. Boot Camp is an organized training for new sales profession-
als. In keeping with its military meaning, Boot Camp is hard work; and to
complete Boot Camp, new sales recruits must take responsibility for their
own success. The duration of the training program is typically one week, and
the goals of Boot Camp are threefold:
1. Training: Boot Camp delivers extensive training across skills, knowl-
edge, and process areas. It provides new sales recruits with tips and
tools to succeed.
2. Testing: Boot Camp identifies the best. Because of the intense nature
of the training and the set standards that new recruits must meet, only
those who are â€śhungryâ€ť will complete the training.
3. Team building: Boot Camp training brings new sales professionals to-
gether, forging a team bond.
The steps to establish a new Boot Camp training practice in your firm are:
1. Set the dates: Dependent on the hiring frequency of new sales profes-
sionals, determine set times each year when Boot Camp will be held,
for example, quarterly or two times per year. Work to hire new sales
professionals in groups, or waves, so that Boot Camp is their first intro-
duction to the company.
2. Confirm a budget: Boot Camp training requires resources, but it can
be done inexpensively. Expenses include travel and accommodations,
facilities, trainers, curriculum development, and entertainment. To re-
duce your expense, before looking outside your firm for training re-
sources, look into your salesforce to identify a professional who is an
excellent mentor, is well-organized, and has demonstrated an interest
in developing people. Reach out to this individual to see whether he or
she would like to take a leadership role in running your Boot Camp;
offer a f lat quarterly fee for running the program. If you do not have
an internal resource, ask your peers for trainer recommendations.
3. Locate a site: FTIâ€™s Boot Camp is conducted on-site. Some firms prefer
to conduct this training off-site. The location is up to you and will be
inf luenced by your training budget. In addition to the training facilities
and technology capabilities of the site, consider the entertainment
96 The Front Office: Driving Sales and Growth
facilities. While Boot Camp is hard work, to meet the team-building
goal, outside networking opportunities should be included.
4. Design your training: Structure your Boot Camp as an intense gradu-
ate course in selling for your firm. Breaking down your firmâ€™s sales
process is a good first step. Once you determine the key categories of
your training, you can then determine specific content and identify the
5. Determine passing criteria: To retain only the best sales recruits, it is
important that you incorporate a testing and evaluation process into
your Boot Camp. For example, at FTI it is mandatory that new sales re-
cruits be able to deliver a strong demo and sales presentation in support
of one of their core service lines, TrialMaxÂ®. If a sales candidate does
not meet this expectation, he or she is deselected.
Exhibit 4.3 outlines the core sections that comprise FTIâ€™s Boot Camp train-
ing. Note that each section addresses skills, knowledge, or process, or some
combination of the three core training areas.
As you develop your new recruit Boot Camp, seek out insight from your
firmâ€™s consultants and current sales professionals regarding content. You can
also research the best practices employed at leading firms.
90- 100-DAY MARK: SALES PREFERENCE QUESTIONNAIREâ„˘ EVAL-
UATION. Each new business win begins with the sales call; without the
phone call there can be no connect and no win. Thus, for a sales professional,
ability to call and prospect is critical. After a sales professional is on board for
approximately one quarter, or between 90 and 100 days, the next step in train-
ing is to conduct an assessment that will analyze and predict the success po-
tential of the individual professional. The assessment tool that I recommend is
the Sales Preference Questionnaireâ„˘ (SPQ*GOLDÂ®), The Call ReluctanceÂ®
Scale. This tool detects and measures all 12 types of sales call reluctance. It is
a 110-question computer-scored assessment that was developed by behavioral
scientists George W. Dudley and Shannon L. Goodson. It is internationally
recognized and considered one of the most rigorously validated instruments
of its kind. The tool can be used to streamline selection procedures, maxi-
mize training, and improve sales productivity. As both a training and a coach-
ing tool, it is invaluable. It provides on-target insight into individuals and, if
used correctly, can help your sales professionals overcome potentially career-
limiting emotions and have a better chance at great success.
No More Cups
We jokingly refer to Elisabeth as having been â€śborn in the lobbyâ€ť of
FTI; she had been with the firm since its beginning and had performed
well in many different roles before moving into sales. As a manager, I con-
sidered Elisabeth to be a high-potential salespersonâ€”she had both deep
TRAINING SECTION CORE AREA DESCRIPTION
Firm Research Knowledge and Firm Research gives steps and tips associ-
process ated with researching your sales prospect.
Topics covered include locating firm
overviews and bios, locating a list of prior
engagements by client and recent news
coverage, and tips on managing a binder on