Recruiting coachable salespeople

18th May 2018 |   Matt Brown

Can organisations understand how to recruit salespeople who are adaptable, coachable, and willing to embrace new learning?

What makes a good salesperson? Arguably there are many characteristics and behaviours, and whilst some commentators pigeon-hole salespeople with simplistic titles to define their characters (Dixon and Adamson 2011), others take a different view and suggest that great salespeople demonstrate “differentiating mind-sets”, reflected by positive behaviours which are driven by beliefs and values (Squire 2009).

I am a director in a small organisation, which is currently growing and looking for new talent, and I am acutely aware that we need to make the right recruitment decisions.

What most authors do not discuss explicitly, however, is the notion of coachability in salespeople. Some common themes are often touched on around proactiveness, creativity and positive mind sets (Squire 2009), but across a considerable landscape of literature there appears to be very little commentary about coachability itself. Learning is a cornerstone to success in sales, and as one of the few studies of coachability confirms (Shannahan et al 2013), coachability significantly affects sales in a positive way. If we hold this precept to be true, then it is vital that the onboarding process seeks to address the question of coachability, because good decisions start at the outset, when an organisation decides to hire a salesperson.

Commercial Director at Stratas Business Solutions

Matt Brown is Commercial Director at Stratas Business Solutions (, a company that specialises in digital transformation, helping companies to automate business processes that are driven by documents. Previously he worked as an account director in managed services, at Annodata, and prior to that spent four years in strategic corporate accounts at IKON. He came into sales mid-way through his career, having spent over 15 years in retail management and project management.