Hiring the right sales reps – Five issues to beware

Are you hiring your first sales representative? Or replacing sales people in a row who didn’t work out?

Whether you are building out a sales team for the first time or already have a team in place, you want to make sure you hire the right salesperson.  Here are five issues to be intentional about in your hiring process:

1. Know the type of salesperson you need.

You are more likely to get the right person if you have a very clear view of type of selling that is needed for your solution. You should be able to define the type of sales experience, level of education, desired personality and skillset you need for the position.

Behavioral issues are also critical. For example, do you require?

  • A hunter or a farmer?
  • Someone who works well on a team or works best on their own?
  • An appointment setter or a closer?

Think about the type of activity you expect on a daily basis – does your marketing generate leads for their follow-up or where they are inheriting an existing territory with relationships intact?  Or will they be developing new business where you have expectations of their being on the phone 4 to 5 hours a day?  Or do you require a mature business consultant who can make your case to the CxO of a Fortune 500 company.

2. Document your sales process. 

Nothing inhibits a new salespersons performance like uncertainty around qualifying and how to effectively engage with prospects.  Good preparation includes a professionally prepared Site Seller and Core Story, Prospect Profiles Demographics and lists of questions to create dialogue and credibility.

A company that has a mature sales department will have an ideal client profile, a system that generates a steady stream of qualified leads, and a sales cycle with clearly defined steps. If you are building out a sales team for the first time, you probably don’t have much of that yet. So it will be critical to hire people who have experience creating a sales process, rather than those who expect to execute a selling system that is already in place.

3. Write out your hiring steps (or just ask for ours).   

It is easy to overlook and underestimate some of the basics in hiring.  Further, as the hiring manager it can be tempting to limit engagement with other staff so as “not to complicate” our selection.  We’ve created a checklist of 15 items for consideration as you begin your hiring activity and point out why having others involved in the interviewing si one of the critical aspects to candidate’s strong and successful start.  Most importantly, we’ll share the one most critical aspect over 80% of hiring manager’s ignore or are completely unaware.

4. Have a written training plan.

Remember the saying “You only get one chance to make a first impression”? That is especially true for a candidate’s first day, week and month.  Have multiple team members prepared to spend time with new staff.  You may need IT resources reserved, as well as human resource staff available.  Be sure to review the expectations of the position and reinforce any reporting requirements.  Have all appointments’ preset in your staff’s calendar s to be sure there everyone is prepared.

Having new sales representatives attend end user training and then shadow the CEO or one of your top producers is the way far too many companies train their sales associates.

For them to be truly effective – and ramp up quickly – you will need to transfer knowledge about the market, your marketing, the way you sell, what resources are available to support them, your current client base, your partners, your products, and your upcoming plans for R&D.

5. Be sure your sales compensation is competitive.

To recruit successfully, you need to have a good fit between the style and level of compensation and the type of sales person you want to hire. Sales force compensation has become increasingly complex. It’s well worth investing a little time and effort into defining a commission structure that attracts the type of person you want and motivates them effectively.

Executives who are concerned about hiring the right sales people may wish to utilize our Sales and Marketing Assessment. It’s an excellent way to understand where your sales organization is and identify the areas where you might want some assistance and support. Then you can leverage our years of experience building out and managing sales organizations to implement best practices in your company.  Mention our blog post and save $150!

This entry was posted in Business consulting, Business Plans, Leadership strategy, Sales Hiring Practices, Sales Management and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Hiring the right sales reps – Five issues to beware

  1. Pingback: Founders: stay part of the sales process when you hire a big hitting sales person « « The Equity KickerThe Equity Kicker

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