It can be difficult for sales managers to know how to hire a salesperson. Sometimes the hiring process can feel like a soldier getting ready for battle.

But sales reps are not the enemy. A good sales rep has the potential to turn your sales business into a sales success.

Consider 10 steps that lead to a successful recruitment process. But first, understand why sales hiring is such an important step for your business.

Why It’s Important To Hire The Right Sales Reps

When you hire sales reps, you insert a new person into the sales department. This has the potential to affect your company culture and environment positively or negatively.

The anxiety of making a bad hire is understandable, and the cost is real. Some experts estimate that the turnover cost of replacing an employee is one and a half times their salary.

But finding the right salesperson can have an equally good impact. Just remember to carry out the hiring process correctly and efficiently the first time.

If you are a business owner, recognize that you will probably not find someone as passionate about your products and company as you.

Avoid hiring with the expectation of finding the perfect salesperson. But also know that you can only be a sales team with others.

Salesperson

Salesperson

1: Search In The Right Place For Your Next Sales Hire

The hiring process begins with devising a strategy for finding the sales reps you need to hire.

Don’t limit yourself. A good sales manager keeps their options open. Consider placing ads on job boards with eye-catching job descriptions to generate interest.

Online headhunting services create campaigns that search thousands of applications to filter out the noise and present qualified candidates to your inbox.

Passive candidates who are not actively looking for a new sales job may also be reached through social media platforms like LinkedIn or email outreach programs.

Of course, there are some important things you need to establish before you open the floodgates to make your search most effective.

2: Write An Effective Job Description For The Ideal Candidate

Work toward these goals when writing a job description to attract good sales reps for your open sales position.

Be clear

A specific job description is better than a general one. Be concise in what you are looking for in sales candidates.

Keep the key elements like required skills and sales experience in a vast wasteland of text.

Try to stick to one page with the job description for a sales representative position.

Be honest

Make sure to sell the sales role. This will only lead to future disillusionment on the part of sales reps when things are less rosy than you painted them.

Your goal is to find sales professionals you want to work with you and your sales team on a sales strategy. Identify that strategy to candidates upfront.

Spell out the required skills and preferred skills for your sales reps from the get-go. Consider adding some soft skills as well, but understand that many of these will be discussed later in the interview.

Be realistic

You should understand that weeding out job applications and finding a reasonable number of sales reps to interview will take time and effort.

Your job is not to scare people off. But be realistic about the job requirements.

Sales representatives who apply for a job will appreciate your clear, honest, and realistic appraisal of the job with a well-defined job description.

3: Review Qualified Candidates Strategically

Be open-minded about the industry experience candidates have. Sales skills can often transfer between industries.

Consider all aspects of job applications received. Don’t discount a person simply because there is an unexplained gap in employment or short stays with companies.

Be ready to hear their story. If there are valid reasons for these nominal red flags, then consider that. Otherwise, you could overlook a sales rep that is the right fit for your business.

Use caution when filling a senior role with a sales rep that needs more experience. This may put too much pressure on you, and the sales hire to perform at an unproven level.

4: Contact The Best Salespeople

After job applications begin filtering in, it’s time to reach out. Make phone calls with a cover letter in hand to schedule interviews.

Make sure that you are setting up the interview process in a way that is fair for the sales candidates and your team. Allow enough time for each interview – an hour is a good target.

Only schedule one day full of interviews, which will become too mentally tiring and needs to be more fair to you and the job candidates.

5: Develop Your Sales Rep Interview Process

Every business is unique, and what it means to be a good salesperson may be unique too. Use the three-step method here to funnel the interviews down as you go.

Informal

A formal meeting has its place. But there may be some benefit to starting with an informal chat.

Informality allows you to find sales reps who fit your company culture, have high emotional intelligence, and are active listeners.

Good sales reps will meet all the position requirements for your sales organization and be good people to work with.

Soft skills and personality traits are viable factors to review. Don’t hire salespeople who lack necessary adjacent skills.

Great sales reps won’t be a square peg in a round hole – one you have to force to fit in your team environment.

Have means to break the ice or ask personality questions to start the conversation on the right path.

Formal

The second step in the process is a more formal meeting. Potential candidates who reach this stage will have a more in-depth interview.

This could include specific questions regarding a previous position and success rates. This may be the right time to bring in key team members so they can evaluate candidates for themselves.

Presentation

Invite good salespeople to give a sales presentation to key stakeholders. This lets you see them in action.

Gauge the sales rep on their body language, emotional connections, persuasiveness, and product knowledge.

6: Interview With Purpose

The formal interview lets you decide if potential candidates check all the boxes for your business.

One key to finding good sales reps is to have mock sales calls. Take on buyer personas and have the candidate sell to you.

Another tip during interviews is to have different interviewers focus on specific aspects of the candidate. Several sets of eyes and ears can provide a more thorough picture of the sales rep.

Need more than surface answers to interview questions. Dig in with additional questions.

For example, don’t let the comment pass that the sales rep is “a good salesperson.” How do they measure that statement?

Tailor sales interview questions to identify:

  • Traits like responsibility, persistence, and adaptability
  • Professional and personal goals
  • Knowledge of your company and industry tools
  • Time management abilities

7: Be Thorough and Transparent When Hiring Sales Reps

Transparency is key. Set clear expectations on what duties the right candidates can perform daily.

Be open about what could be difficult about the position or pitfalls they may experience. You can’t expect a good candidate to want to commit to a long-term position with only partial knowledge.

Identify your sales process and make sure they can perform on your sales cycle.

Share company values when hiring salespeople so they know the most important factors for team members.

8: Follow Up With Promising Sales Candidates

Keep the lines of communication open until you are ready to make an offer. Don’t miss out on hiring a salesperson by waiting too long and losing them to another business.

If you are serious about a great salesperson, let them know so that you stay on their radar.

9: Negotiate With Sales Reps

Good salespeople who know their worth and are good at sales – that’s why you want to hire them – may refuse your first offer.

That’s okay; negotiation is just one more opportunity to evaluate sales hires’ abilities.

sales reps

10: Onboard The New Hire

Sales leaders understand that signing on the dotted line is only part of the line for sales hiring.

To be truly successful, help new hires to have clearly defined goals. Both you and they should be on the same page when it comes to objectives and expectations.

Provide appropriate sales training to get them caught up. This may include mentoring from a more senior sales representative on the team.

If this is a commission-only position, consider making onboard training paid or use imaginative commission structures like a draw against the commission to soften the impact of starting.

Keys To Success For Sales Managers

Following the above steps can make hiring a good sales rep less painful.

Help your sales business reach new heights of profitability by finding a good salesperson that meets the requirements of your business and your sales team.