One of the most important decisions you can make as a business owner is who to hire on your sales team. Sales isn’t a skill that is easy to measure objectively, which can make hiring the right people a difficult task. But your business won’t grow unless you have great salespeople on your team bringing in (and keeping) customers. They need to have certain qualities, but also fit in well with your existing team. So how can you hire a salesperson who is the perfect fit for your company?
Read on to find out:
For Hiring a Salesperson: Use a Search Firm or Do It Yourself?
Sales hiring begins with deciding whether you need professional help or are capable of doing the hiring yourself. Either approach can work if you have a good process and execute it well. For purposes of this blog, we’ll assume you are doing it yourself, but you’ll want to use a process that is similar to the better recruiting firms. And for either route you take, be prepared to put in some time and effort.
Six Tips for Hiring a Great Salesperson for Your Company
1. Start with Knowing What You’re Looking For
You can’t hire a salesperson successfully if you can’t describe what you want. Think about your very best salespeople and what made them successful.
Think of it in terms of:
- experience (ideally someone who has worked in sales)
Rank these and describe them in writing. Then, think about your must haves – things that are essentially non-negotiable – and your optional items – things that are a plus but not a requirement.
When you’ve created this profile, share it with other key members of leadership, sales managers, and key sales reps for their input.
2. Describe the Sales Roles & Responsibilities for Your Company
This is where the process for hiring a salesperson begins.
If your candidate profile describes the kind of salesperson who can succeed at your company, then the job description will spell out what they will be held accountable for doing and accomplishing for your company. Think of both day-to-day responsibilities and the big picture of what they will be expected to contribute to your business.
Finally, don’t forget to include how and where they will fit into your sales organization – who they will report to, what their territory will be, etc. A firm grasp on responsibilities and expectations helps set the stage for a successful search.
3. Develop a Strong Job Posting
Now it’s time to create a job posting that will attract the best candidates to your company. Your job posting should reflect your company and be compelling, professionally written, and free of errors.
If you’re stuck for what to include, take a look at the postings of your competitors. Are you offering a lower salary, fewer benefits, or using too much vague language? Then the top salespeople in your area will head to those other companies, and you’ll be left behind.
Be clear about what the ideal candidate looks like in your posting to increase the odds of attracting the right person. This includes which traits would fit well with your company culture.
It’s also important to be sure your job descriptions are up to date and accurate.
The farther you spread the word about your job opening, the more quality applicants you can attract. Post the job on relevant job boards.
And don’t forget about the power of social media – especially in industry-relevant groups. Your current employees may have good referrals to make too, so let them know about the opening and the job description.
And finally don’t just post the bare facts of the job – make a case for why an applicant would want to work for your company.
4. Look for Key Qualities
Of course, a salesperson must be effective at selling, as a given. And even though salespeople should be clear and persuasive communicators, they don’t need to be extroverts.
You want to get a sense of how they work with others, especially if you have a large sales team already. Will they be both a great salesperson and a great team member?
Look for less-traditional sales qualities too. If you’re in an industry where you have to work harder to convince customers they need your product or service, you will want to see if your potential salespeople are creative.
Hiring the right people also means avoiding the bad hires. They can cost you valuable time, money, and drive off customers even in a short time. Read our blog post on how a salesperson can scare away customers to learn about behaviors to avoid when you’re hiring.
Resumes, cover letters, and the initial phone screen can tell you some of these characteristics, but the interview (in person or via video conferencing) is an invaluable piece of the puzzle.
5. Interview Carefully
Interviewing candidates is a critical step once you’ve sorted through the resumes. Interviews are useful for both sides – you’re checking to see if the candidate is a good fit, and the candidate is looking to see if the position is right for them.
You want be honest about the company culture, job expectations, salary, and benefits.
But don’t spend the whole interview talking – it’s also a critical time to ask plenty of questions and listen to the answers. Good communication skills are essential for salespeople, so ask interview questions designed to elicit in-depth answers.
Ask the candidate:
- why they’re leaving their current position
- what they’re looking for in a new role
- about mistakes they’ve made and how they handled them
- if they have any questions – an engaged and prepared candidate is more likely to have thoughtful questions
Curiosity is critical on both sides, but spontaneous conversation can tell you a lot about a candidate as well!
Having candidates interview with multiple people at your company can also be helpful. A good salesperson should be able to build rapport with your leadership, but also others on your sales team as well. Look at the big picture for building a strong sales team and decide how the candidate will fit into those efforts.
6. Follow Up Fast
A really great salesperson who is looking for a new job is going to be a hot commodity on the market. Once you have some potential candidates who seem like a great fit, you want to keep them engaged.
This means letting them know right away if you’re interested in moving further in the hiring process, and keeping them informed through every step. This way, you can avoid time gaps that would lead a good sales candidate to take another offer.
We Can Help with Hiring a Salesperson
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Let our team of experts help you find the right people for your team and get your company reaching record-breaking sales. Schedule your FREE consultation by filling out our contact form.