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.

outbound sales

Tips for Selecting Sales Reps

Here are some tips to help you down the path to additional qualified sales reps for your sales team.

First, Be Convinced Why Hiring Sales Reps Is Important

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.

Evaluate Your Company and Current Sales Team

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.

Identify the Ideal Sales Rep

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:

  • Does the existing sales team need to fill a skill gap?
  • Does the salesperson need experience in the same industry, or would general sales experience be useful?
  • What is your company culture, and how can a new sales representative fit in seamlessly?
  • What resources do you have to spend on the hiring process?

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?

  • Freelance sales representatives – If you’d like to introduce your products and services to prospective clients and expand your business development with reduced risk, this may be an option. Freelancers are generally paid per sale with less company attachment than full-time employees.
  • Commission-only salespeople – Hiring sales reps on a commission-only structure is one method of bolstering outbound sales. These sales reps tend to stay motivated since their pay is directly tied to their sales volume.
  • Customer service representative – Some companies need to improve the success of their existing customers. Hire a sales rep with previous job experience in providing top-notch support to existing clients.

Write a Job Description for the Sales Representative You Want

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.

Select the Right Sales Rep Candidates to Interview

Based on your current business development and industry trends, you may need to consider sales reps with particular sales skills:

  • Lead generation – Will the candidate help find new customers through marketing strategy? The sales professional may need experience with digital marketing, website optimization, social media, and market research.
  • Consulting on current sales process – Do you need to hire a sales rep that can help streamline your current selling methods? A consultant can help optimize your current process or test sales channels before implementing them at scale.
  • Outbound sales rep – Do you need sales hires to produce fresh leads? A proven record of success at cold-calling may be what you focus on during the recruiting process.
  • Inbound sales rep – Does your website or sales funnel need a push? Sales experience in converting website visitors and using data metrics for business strategy will prove beneficial.
  • Peak season overflow – Do your sales targets fluctuate based on the season, or has a new product line increased sales? A sales rep that can step in quickly to assist prospective clients is a must.

Hiring Salespeople – The Interview Process

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.

Describe the Sales Representative Job and the Sales Manager’s Expectations

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.

Follow Through

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.

sales representative

Retaining Sales Professionals

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:

Build a Positive Company Culture

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.

Provide Growth Opportunities

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.

Competitive Pay, Bonuses, and Incentives

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.

Exit Interviews

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.