So, you are ready to take the leap and hire a sales rep, or possibly even an entire team, but you’re heard horror stories!
Or maybe you're in the position where you've hired a sales rep in the past, and it didn't work out so well.
Either way, you might be a bit trepidatious. You want to make sure that you do it right! Because, let’s face it, that sales rep is the face of your business. They are building or destroying your brand. They are making or costing you a lot of money.
So here's an overview of what needs to be in place to ensure a solid sales department and allow you to find and hire the right sales rep for your company.
Create a Detailed Hiring Process
Keep in mind that salespeople are salespeople. They're great at selling you on why they're a phenomenal investment for your business... That doesn't mean they are. Sometimes a sales rep's greatest sale is selling you to hire them.
Here are three things to keep in mind, document, and understand, to help your sales hiring process.
1: Company Culture
You need to understand what makes your company culture tick.
To figure this out, ask yourself questions like...
What's your vision? What's your mission? Where's this company going? What core values or immutable laws do you bring to the table that you and your team have to live by?
2: Manager Characteristics
You need to have someone managing your salesperson who is going to help them contribute to the business in a positive way. You should know who this person is & who they will get along with along with their strengths and weaknesses.
3: Job Characteristics
I’m a huge fan of personality assessments (and particularly the DISC and Driving Forces assessments available through TTI. If you’d like more info on those, email me here) for hiring purposes. I can set perimeters for the kind of person who will be ideal for the role, and receive an unbiased opinion of whether the candidate fits.
Once you know that information (and I recommend having it documented) you're going to start building out your hiring process.
Here are a few things you’ll need...
You need to build a concise job description.
One page. Not three and four page job descriptions.
Sales reps have the attention span of a goldfish.
If you want them to read and remember a really long job description, you're not going to get a great sales rep.
Same thing as the description. Your job ad needs to be short, concise, pithy, and exciting. Think about what would appeal to the ideal person you want coming in to work for you and put that information in the ad.
Structures and Systems:
You're going to need structures and systems for your sales rep. Things like standard operating procedures, processes for how to log information about prospects, expectations for what kind of work they're expected to do, etc.
On the subject of expectations, don’t just tell them how many sales they’re expected to make, but what kind of sales activity you're expecting them to complete. When they're getting started, they're not going to close as many sales and that’s to be expected. This can also make it difficult for managers to tell if the rep has potential. If you’ve set clear activity goals, it becomes a lot easier to see if they are doing the work necessary to become a great sales rep. It also becomes easier to give them coaching and guidance to help them thrive.
One great way to keep track of this is with SOPs and client relationship management systems. That way your sales rep is logging things where you can see them.
Grounds for Dismissal:
You're going to need to build a grounds for dismissal document. Know exactly what the actions that this person could take that are going to get them dismissed from being employed by you, and put that in writing so that both you and your sales rep knows exactly what will cause dismissal.
Code of Conduct:
This is kind of the opposite of the grounds of dismissal. This is telling your sales rep who you expect them to be. If grounds for dismissal is “if you do this, or this, or this, you're fired.”, a code of conduct is uplifting and says “This is who I want you to be.”
Build out your interview process.
Figure out how many interviews you are going to do, what questions you are going to ask, those sorts of things.
And be smart with these. You can't just ask somebody if they represent your core values. The answer is always going to be yes.
Instead get creative with asking questions that get them to tell you a story about a time in their life when they may or may not have had that core value. Your job is then to listen closely and determine whether or not that core value exists in them.
Onboarding and Training Plan:
You're going to need an onboarding and a training plan in place before you hire that sales rep. Guessing at it or building it as you go is a great way to leave your rep feeling either over or under whelmed. Neither is good for building confidence, a necessary attribute for great sales.
Onboarding and Training
How you onboard and train your sales rep will make or break their experience with you. You can hire a phenomenal person who is a great culture fit, but if you screw up the onboarding and training, it won’t matter.
Onboarding is the introduction to the company.
Consider & document:
What do they need to know about the company & how will you teach it to them?
What softwares do they need to have training on?
What information do they need access to?
How do they learn about the mission and vision?
What do they need to know about the company hierarchy?
They also need to know what resources they have available to them as well as benefits. Whatever you offer to these sales reps, you need to have a list of that information to give them.
But, you also want to know when you are going to give them that. If you dump it all on them in one day it’s not only overwhelming, but they will rarely remember it all later.
So build you a plan for how much you have to give them, and how much you can give them each day.
Training is usually directly related to the actions they will perform in their new role.
You will need to figure out how to teach them the ins and outs of the product or service they will sell. I usually recommend providing sales training too so that their habits and style of sales is adjusted to fit the company culture & how you want to be represented.
I also recommend a path of progression.
Show them how they will be rewarded for growth, and how your expectations of them will increase over time.
It can be challenging to find the right person.
There is always the fear that you’re going to hire the wrong person and get screwed.
But if you take your time and build the process the right way in advance, you can set your sales rep up to be highly successful for you and allow you to grow rapidly!