Hire Sales Representatives: How To Identify Strong Selling Skills
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Every business is different. When looking to hire sales representatives, it’s worth noting that certain sales teams consist of a compact unit of inside sales reps, while others are comprised of a vast outside sales team.
Sales managers know that no matter the current makeup of their sales team, there may be a need to add more sales positions or fill vacant ones.
For many sales leaders, the skill of recruiting sales reps needs to be developed more. The hiring process can be complex, and many questions arise.
Here are some tips to help you down the path to additional qualified sales reps for your sales team.
Sales are the lifeblood of a business. Without it, a business dies. Due to a change in the sales industry, your company’s sales cycle, or natural attrition, there will be times when you need to find new sales reps.
The process begins with understanding the value of filling sales roles with the best sales representatives.
While sales forces are made up of individuals – each with their own sales performance, abilities, positives, and negatives – having a cohesive sales department will ensure the smooth operation of a business.
Hiring managers should be convinced that great salespeople are worth finding. Their goal isn’t to fill a sales position with just anyone.
Before posting jobs to your go-to hiring site, appraise your company and sales team honestly.
Recruiting sales reps is worthwhile, but your infrastructure needs to support their onboarding and training so the salesperson can be effective.
Consider the market as it relates to existing and new business opportunities. Does it warrant adding additional members to your sales team?
Hire sales reps at the right time for your business and your team so that it will lead to further sales enablement and not distract the existing team from their sales efforts.
Before you hire sales representatives, evaluate your ideal candidate. True, you may not find a perfect fit. But clearly defining who you are looking for in a sales rep will give you the best chance at checking off the necessary boxes.
Consider some of the following aspects when trying to narrow down the ideal sales representative for your sales role:
While it’s a great practice to identify the ideal candidate, remember that you can hire sales reps who are great at what they do, but that doesn’t fit your mold perfectly.
Examine every angle of your sales role. Are there things you’ve left out that would make for a successful salesperson?
A good job description clearly states the scope of your sales position and should give enough information, so the candidate knows if they are a good fit.
Target keywords in the title that the ideal candidate will use to search for a sales job.
The job posting should identify the scope of work, project length, background requirements, and budget.
Be clear about any job requirements that qualified sales reps must have and preferred sales experience.
Based on your current business development and industry trends, you may need to consider sales reps with particular sales skills:
The sales representative job you want to fill might influence how you approach interviewing sales professionals.
When sales reps work closely with a team in an office environment, involving a group in the interviews might make sense.
While sales managers have traditionally conducted interviews, salespeople on your team might add an extra set of eyes and ears to the hiring process.
On the other hand, one-on-one interviews are still the industry standard and shouldn’t be cast aside needlessly.
You may hire multiple sales reps simultaneously, creating healthy competition and addressing multiple skill gaps.
Your post on job boards might have done enough to generate interest in your sales representative position, but it likely covered only some of what potential sales hires will want to know about the job.
Be upfront and clear about the details. During the interview is the best time to cover details like expectations, environment, salary, and sales quota incentives.
For example, you might seek sales representatives with experience using a particular CRM software package.
The job might involve a fair amount of data entry or require someone tech-savvy.
Mention these details so that there are no surprises. Remember that the best sales reps will be interviewing you too. Both parties should come to an understanding of whether the candidate is the right fit.
When you’ve reached a final decision, don’t hesitate. Sales representatives may have arranged multiple interviews, and you want to avoid losing your top pick.
If you’ve taken good notes during the process, you will be able to part ways amicably with sales representatives who were a great fit but couldn’t hire.
A promising sales representative in the rejection pile may be open to a future position if they are treated respectfully and kindly.
A personalized email can go a long way to keeping the door open for the future while also letting the sales representative know where they stand.
Hiring salespeople is only half the equation. Once you have hired a salesperson, you want to be able to keep them.
Give attention to how you can support the sales team in making sales. This requires great communication skills and one-on-one checkups to ensure you provide the support they need.
Work to avoid turnover by doing the following:
A sales representative position can feel stressful and like an endless slog. Encourage a positive, unifying environment to keep the team motivated and centered on the big picture.
Encourage a healthy level of competition to reach quotas and develop a compensation system that rewards excellence.
Professional and career development are major reasons why sales reps leave their positions for another job.
Keep sales talent engaged by giving them growth opportunities. Motivated reps who can become sales leaders are less likely to leave the company for greener pastures.
Money isn’t everything, but it is something. Underpaid employees will become frustrated because they have bills to pay too.
Bonus payments for reaching sales thresholds and incentive programs can add extra motivation, but these shouldn’t be used as a replacement for a poor pay structure.
Some sales reps will inevitably leave your business. Every time a sales representative leaves, use it as a learning opportunity.
Conduct an exit interview with the person to fully understand their reasons for leaving so that you can correct any mistakes that might have led up to their exit.
Need the employee’s supervisor to conduct the interview. Have someone from HR conduct the confidential interview for the most honest answers.
There’s a lot of thought that needs to go into hiring salespeople. But when each step is carefully considered, finding great candidates that fit in with your business and sales team is possible.
Take the time to nurture new hires and listen to the current sales team for feedback on streamlining workflows and incentivizing greater sales.
With the right effort and care, you will have a thriving sales team that consistently reaches higher goals.