Welcome back to our mini-series of The Debrief podcast, Masters of Sales Hiring. Hosted by BrightHire Co-Founder Teddy Chestnut, the series features conversations with today’s top sales leaders, sharing their candid stories about building world-class sales teams.
Today’s guest is Dini Mehta. Dini was most recently CRO at Lattice and has also led sales teams at Drawbridge and Quantcast.
In the conversation, Dini chats about rewriting the rules of sales, her proven strategies for retaining employees, two common hiring traps that can ensnare sales leaders, and much more.
Check out the highlights from our conversation:
How Dini rewrote the rules of sales. (2:11) – Over Dini’s five years at Lattice, she grew the sales team from 10 to 200 people. The key to her success? She didn’t follow the traditional approach when building her sales team. Instead she rewrote the rules by replacing scarcity and fear with an organization that valued culture and people over everything.
Why Dini chose to hire for competencies over experience. (5:13) – To build the right culture, Dini knew she needed to hire people who exemplified the company’s values, regardless of their HR tech experience. To do this, she instituted competencies into the hiring process, so that interviewers prioritized a candidate’s skills and values over their experience. This allowed the team to be more objective and thoughtful about each hire.
Dini’s proven formula for thoroughly assessing candidates. (7:29) – Dini took a three-pronged approach to evaluate candidates at Lattice:
- Interview panels. Early on, Dini was part of every interview panel.
- Reference checks. Dini would conduct 8-10 reference checks for each candidate.
- Casual interactions. Dini would invite candidates to lunch, so they could interact in a more relaxed setting and get to know each other better.
The secret to bringing greater accountability into your hiring process. (11:20) – To establish more accountability, Dini, the recruiting team, the VP of HR, and other sales leaders began holding talent quarterly business reviews (QBRs). During the meetings, they would review progress on key things, like time to hire or diversity metrics, and discuss opportunities for improvement.
Two major hiring traps to avoid. (14:28) – Over her career, Dini’s found there are two hiring traps that often ensnare sales leaders:
- Trap 1: Over valuing domain expertise and shiny logos on resumes, and undervaluing the competencies that you need and the values you’re hiring for.
- Trap 2: Not layering on the right diversity elements you need to scale your team.
Dini’s tried and true recipe for retention. (16:23) – Leaders tend to put a lot of resources and budgets around hiring, yet they undervalue retention. According to a Hubspot study, the annual turnover for sales organizations is 27%, and the average tenure for a sales rep is just 18 months.
Dini knew not investing in retention was a costly mistake and decided to do things differently at Lattice. Instead, she created processes and infrastructure that aligned the individual’s growth with the company’s growth. And the results paid off big time: Dini maintained a less than 2% voluntary attrition rate at Lattice.
Listen to Dini’s podcast episode or watch the entire conversation below:
Missed the last session of The Debrief? Catch up on our conversation with Holly Procter, SVP – Global Head of Sales at Clari.