There are many ways in which you can hire and train sales reps. In this post, we will talk about a few factors that can influence the whole process.
You can use a specialized interview technique just like Zappos does to weed out people who aren’t committed to the team and to customer service.
Zappos provides an incentive at the end of the training program for selected hires to stay with the company.
Many organizations tend to emulate practices used by investment banks, consulting firms, and other places when hiring new staff. The new hires are observed by multiple people at the firm and the candidate’s abilities are checked before the offer is ever extended to them.
Then the rep immerses in tasks that they encounter when working with real customers. For instance, HubSpot has sales hires spend a month or more in classroom-style training and doing what customers would do like creating a website and adding relevant content to the same. This practice is encouraged to ensure that they experience the actual pain points that their customers are experiencing.
The salespeople are able to interact with prospects at a far deeper level as a result of this.
Techniques for hiring the right sales reps
Offer clarity on what’s meant by experience
When evaluating potential new hires, previous experience is one of the most common criteria used by sales managers to assess talent. A survey showed that over 50% of respondents call selling experience the key to getting hired. Another big group says that experience in a particular industry is the most relevant aspect when hiring new sales reps.
There are several examples of potential scenarios that can play here:
- Imagine this: A software or IT-based company that hires recruits experienced in the financial services or the healthcare niche to sell their products.
- A technology company where a field service professional is hired to sell a particular piece of equipment and must know the ins and outs of that particular software, say a marketing automation software or an email prospecting tool.
- A service rep is moved to sales internally as cross-functional support is a key sales task
The relevance of each type of hire varies by your sales tasks. At the very start, consider what the type that you need is and see if it’s relevant to your needs clarify what you mean by experience.
Conduct ongoing assessments
The ever-changing markets bear no responsibility to your firm’s strategy and or to its sales approach. The leadership must ensure that they adapt to markets and develop core competencies required today.
As organizations adapt themselves to new buying processes the competencies they look for keep changing according to times.
Surveys and reports speak of the same thing.
However, that doesn’t quite put the importance of qualifying prospects, and adapting to buyer motivations and other aspects of the buying process on the map just yet.
In any competitive activity, success is measured by the relative advantage that a new hire brings to the fore and the percentage increase in productivity as a result of that.
Develop a clear understanding of the buyer’s buying process
If you’re creating a sales team from scratch, the first thing to pay attention to is the path the customers go through when buying something.
How many stakeholders are present in the purchase decision? Are they any friction points that prevent your customers from accessing the funnel? For example you may sell web design services but you may want to begin your sales funnel by offering access to a free logo creator.
The key factor is the buying behavior of your customer.
If multiple stakeholders need to be taken into confidence, a sales team must initiate conversations, respond to queries, address concerns and negotiate terms.
At this stage you may need to set up Zoom meetings as well to collaborate effectively.
Sales is a channel so the first question that you must ask yourself is if sales is the channel that your product or service needs. Some products need to be sold but others need to be marketed.
Never hire your first salesperson assuming that they know what to do and can easily sell your product past on past sales experience.
If you don’t have the structure it is a waste of money.
Build a structure with a playbook, follow scripts, and base your initial sales process based on everything you did before.
Work from your business strategy and growth plans
Another thing to consider when hiring salespeople is the forecast for the year ahead.
Your sales hiring requirements should be driven in core by your business strategy. Sales should always be tied to growth and the scale of your strategy so look at the whole year quarter by quarter and see if the current headcount of sales reps is enough to fulfill those goals.
Lead flow as in the number of leads generated is a good indicator of whether you want to add new people to the sales team. You can’t expect a new sales rep to bring in more revenue if there are no leads to get that revenue from.
Hire for new product rollouts and new audiences
If you are creating and distributing new products or services it’s another signal to expand the sales team. The logic here is inherently simple. If you reassign your current sales reps to new products you will spread the current team thin and sales for the current product will suffer as result.
There’s also the fact that you need to hire new sales reps when you’re targeting a new and different market segment.
So expand your sales efforts by product like creating video content using video editor to engage your audience, target market, and other such factors.
You have to start somewhere
The best thing to do at any point is to test and learn as you go. This is true for both expanding your existing team as well as building a new team.
Start with one salesperson at the junior or mid-level and then compare the results they are bringing to other channels.
When hiring for a sales rep’s role look at the impact they made in a previous sales role and their other attributes like soft skills as well as passion toward their work,
The expectation from a sales team is to show prospects how their lives can improve and how they can become more successful with the product or service being sold. The seller’s job goes beyond words and statistics and extends to how well they tell a story that prospects can relate to.
Beyond the obvious aspects like intelligence and role-relevant knowledge look for creativity and their ability to empathize and understand the customer’s business problems.
A great sales rep understands the uniqueness of the challenges that customers face and goals they have to meet and they have a way to communicate solutions with which they can make their prospects even more successful.
Beware of the cost of a sales mis-hire
When a new salesperson joins the team the compensation isn’t the only thing you are invested in. You are spending the company’s time and resources to hire, onboard, train them, and increase revenue.
If you hire the wrong person you lose the time and money it took you to get the person on board. You also lose the sales they didn’t bring in and thus reduce the productivity of the entire team. Sometimes it is best to let a 3rd party company that specializes in hiring provide your first sales talent. A freelance sales rep can also save you 50% on costs while increasing the hiring speed by almost double. said Lucie Chavez—CMO of Radaris.
Identify the perfect candidate
Before you get into hiring, filter your applicants and candidates based on their ideal profile. You can identify good matches for the position and then move them further to the interview stage.
To help with the process here’s the six-step process to use.
- Skills the candidate must have to become a top performer in their role
- Experiences from their past role
- The attitude they use when working. What’s their mindset? Are they collaborative?
- Results the results they had in a past role and the prospects they are currently selling to
- Cognitive Are they using a CRM
- Habits they need to have
Once you align the traits with the specific job role you will have an easier time determining if the person is a match for the role.
Also, look at their attitude towards the work. A good professional bothers about his productivity, so he or she knows how to block pop-ups on chrome and keep a focus on job responsibilities.
1) Intrinsically motivated. Is there anything that motivates them outside of the money?
Why did they join sales?
Do they enjoy the experience?
2) Understanding the perspective of others. How they gather sales intelligence. How do they get an understanding of the prospect’s motivations
3) Integrity. Are they showing integrity
4) Growth mindset. Do they believe that sales skills need to be developed
5) Skilled in interpersonal communication. What is the kind of first impression they generate? Do they represent themselves well both verbally and non-verbally. You can nail this with the help of a Grammarly free trial.
When you’re hiring sales reps, many of the key traits should be apparent upon the first meeting. After all, if they’re effective at selling themselves as a top candidate, then they may just be the right fit. They also need to be malleable and willing to internalize the needs of the company.