Mastering Sales Hiring with Data-Backed Candidate Profiles

Written by
Lucas Price
September 6, 2023
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Do you ever feel like you might be missing out on the best candidates when you’re hiring for a sales role? You’ve interviewed some great candidates, but you can’t really imagine how any of them will do in your role. And then you start to think that maybe if you keep the position open for a little longer, you might get a larger pool of applicants that will include that one sales star who will knock it out of the park from day one.

Or have you had a great interview with a candidate and felt pressure to move quickly so you don’t miss out on them, even though you’re not entirely sure how to define exactly what will make them a success at your organization? You just know they have an impressive background, and the interview felt really good.

Sales hiring doesn’t have to be a guessing game, and it isn’t something that has to give you FOMO (fear of missing out). By developing a sales hiring process that caters to the specific demands of the role you’re hiring for, you’ll be able to understand exactly what leads to success at your company and easily identify the candidates that will succeed at your organization.

And it starts from the very beginning by building a candidate profile through defining job requirements and goals, then identifying the characteristics candidates need to have to succeed within your open position. Once you get a good candidate profile built, you won’t have to guess anymore about hiring. You’ll be able to find the right candidates from the beginning and easily identify who will be successful in the role.

Ready to say goodbye to FOMO and find out where to get started?


Building a Tailored Candidate Profile

Sales positions may share certain common traits, but each one is unique in its requirements that will determine success. Using a well-thought-out candidate profile before embarking on the hiring process will allow you to consider several critical questions that will lay the foundation for building an effective candidate profile tailored to your company's specific needs.

Here are some things you should be considering when building your candidate profile:

  • Geography: Determine whether the sales role demands working in a designated geographical area. Is it an inside sales role that should be in an office? Or does it require covering a sales territory?
  • Experience: While industry experience can be advantageous, it should not be the sole criterion for evaluating candidates. Good sellers can overcome a lack of specific industry experience. So look at whether the role genuinely necessitates deep industry expertise.
  • Deal Size: Define the average deal size or target deal size for the role you’re hiring for. Familiarity with handling deals of comparable value can contribute to their success in closing more significant opportunities.
  • Deal Complexity: Some salespeople excel in managing a high volume of deals, while others thrive in negotiating a few large-scale deals annually. Know what the deal volume and complexity will look like for this role.
  • Buying Committee: Evaluate whether your sales process involves interacting with a large buying committee or if decisions are made by a single individual who can buy quickly.
  • Transformative Selling: Determine whether your offering in the sales position you’re hiring for requires persuading large organizations to embrace transformative change or provides immediate value with minimal friction.
  • Negotiation Complexity: Recognize the level of complexity involved in negotiations for your products or services. Candidates with strong negotiation skills are essential for handling intricate deals, while others may excel in scenarios where quick, straightforward sign-ups are more common.
  • Sales CycleDeal Length: Consider the average length of your sales cycle and whether it requires a candidate who can patiently navigate longer deal timelines or one who can capitalize on quick, time-sensitive opportunities.
  • Quota Responsibility: Quotas change, we get that, but proactively identifying the expected range of the quota will help you better identify successful candidates.
  • Self-sourced deals: Will this role require the candidate to source some or all of their own deals? This will help you understand how self-sufficient the candidate will need to be and understand if they need to have the ability to proactively drive business growth.

Incorporating these essential questions into the initial steps of building a candidate profile will enable you to identify the ideal sales professionals who possess the skills, experience, and adaptability required to succeed in the unique sales environment of your organization. By crafting a comprehensive candidate profile, you can attract the right talent and make more informed hiring decisions, leading to a stronger and more successful sales team.

But it doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve started to consider the job requirements that will help you identify what success will look like in the role, it’s critical to identify the character traits that will help you identify candidates that can succeed in the role.

This step will help you start taking the guesswork out of the hiring process. Let’s dive into how to identify the traits that will succeed in this role.

Identify the Traits of Top Performers

Beyond the specific skills and qualifications, understanding the character traits needed for success in the job is equally important. Identifying these traits will help you select candidates who not only possess the necessary sales acumen but also align with your company's values and culture. Here are some of the key character traits that are essential for success in a sales role:

Learning Agility

In the fast-paced world of sales, the ability to learn quickly and apply new knowledge in sales situations is invaluable. Sales candidates with a genuine desire to expand their skill set and stay up-to-date with industry trends are more likely to adapt to evolving customer needs and changing market conditions effectively.


Successful sales professionals must be adaptable, especially in roles where they encounter diverse customer personalities and challenging market dynamics. The capacity to pivot their approach and strategies based on prospect feedback and evolving circumstances can significantly impact their sales performance.

Enter your email to see additional traits key to sales roles and how to use data to validate the traits.

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