Tips on hiring sales people
Salespeople are often seen as the life of the organisation, the blood in the veins of the company. Without sales, there is no revenue, no profit and no future. Since this is in many ways true, hiring sales people is a worry for many employers, because they feel that getting it wrong and hiring the wrong person will cost the company more in lost revenue than in money spent on the hire.
It’s not rocket science though, and you need not fret and frown. Other than following the golden rule of employing anyone (don’t hire out of urgency to solve a quick need), you can follow a few basic rules and not make many sales-hiring mistakes.
Attracting the right applications
First off is your great online job advertisement, which should include a succinct title, re-written job description and posted salary information. Next is a good process to sift out unwanted applications, such as a request in the application documents section or a set of questions to answer.
Next is making sure you make good screening calls to only spend time interviewing those that look and sound right and are worth your time and theirs.
This is where most employers struggle – how do you know they are going to sell well at your company, meet your targets and actually do the work without trying to cut corners? The bottom line here is: past predicts future. If they haven’t done whatever you want them to in the past, they won’t be doing it in the future. Make very sure you find out how well they did and do not hire without a reference or two from both previous employers and clients! A good sales person will also be able to tell you how they handled certain situations when you ask them behavioural questions.
Getting them on board
Knowing you want to hire sales talent is one thing – getting them on board is another. The right type of person will probably want a good commission package as opposed to having a large basic salary and less commission flexibility.
A good tip is to give a salesperson freedom. Unless it’s an outbound call centre sales position, the right sales person will have an internal locus of control and an understanding that they have to meet targets or face the consequences. While many good sales people are often lazy and do need some motivation and management, allowing enough freedom is critical to keeping them in the long-run.
Hiring sales people is not about gut feelings and lucky guesses, and not all sales positions are the same. You look at the candidate as a whole and place a value on their career track record, personality and achievements and make a call. Then you attract them correctly and manage them through their performance. That way, even the bad ones leave and your firm is still standing.