What Are Best Practices for Selecting Business Development Staff? Four Thoughts

Situation: A company wants to expand its business development staff. What is your experience, and what has worked best for you in selecting among business development candidates?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Your first priority is your compensation plan for the new person. There are three basic compensation schemes:
    1. High Base/Low Commission
    2. Medium Base/Medium Commission
    3. Low to No Base/High Commission
  • Choice between these options depends on your own philosophy, as well as common practice within your industry. Compensation is central to candidate selection. The CEOs recommend asking candidates about their own preferences for compensation.
    • If they prefer Option 1, don’t hire them – they either lack experience or confidence.
    • They ideally prefer Option 3 – they can make more money, but cost you little unless they perform.
    • If they prefer Option 2, probe. They may be good but face personal obligations that make it difficult to choose the high risk/high reward option. Ask about past compensation and performance. Verify any claims made during the interview.
  • You want to structure sales compensation so that non-performers leave of their own accord – without costing you dearly in time or money.
  • What are the most important traits to seek in a good B.D. candidate?
    1. Understanding of customer’s requirements as well as purchase behavior.
    2. Understanding of your product or service.
  • How do you find candidates?
    • Use a Head Hunter who knows your industry and competitors.
    • Use written tests to evaluate the individual’s traits.
    • Let the recruiter find and screen prospects and present the top 2-3 to you.

Key Words: Business Development, Candidate, Compensation, Experience, Traits, Evaluation, Base, Draw, Commission, Industry Practice, Verification, Performer, Non-Performer, Selection, Head Hunter, Personnel, Recruiter, Test

5 thoughts on “What Are Best Practices for Selecting Business Development Staff? Four Thoughts

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