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20 Things to Think About Before Hiring Salespeople
Twenty Things That Every Employer Should Know About Salespeople
- Before recruiting have a recruitment plan and ensure you can answer the following questions:
- What do you expect your new recruit to achieve in the first year?
- How much will they cost in the first year?
- What will their first month of employment look like? i.e. training, induction, shadowing successful staff, being shadowed in initial meetings, etc.
- How will I train, coach and measure them?
- What skills, qualities and experience will they need to have?
- What are the ‘must haves’, ‘like to haves’?
- What’s will their style and approach be like?
- Why will they want to join our business?
- Why will they love working for you as a boss?
- What will retain them in your business for the long term?
- Salespeople are expensive. Remember a field salesperson will be basic salary, commission, NICs on the total earnings, car lease, fuel for x 000’s of miles, expenses and whatever benefits you offer. How many deals will they need to earn the GP to cover this?
- It is really unlikely that your new recruit will walk into your business with an order book – this is totally unrealistic in most circumstances.
- Getting the proposed new sales staff member to suggest their own measures (Key performance indicators) at a second interview is a really good way to set realistic targets. Get them to walk you through a typical week/month – new client meetings, quotes out, conversion ratios, etc. Based upon their previous experience.
- A £12K basic and £100K OTE is unlikely to enable you to recruit a quality sales applicant. Most salespeople look to cover their cost of living with their basic and the OTE pays for the nice things in life – holidays, the new conservatory, etc. A stressed-out salesperson wondering how they’re going to feed their family this month is not an effective one.
- It is unlikely that a ‘big hitter’ in a large organisation will hit the same revenue levels if they join a small organisation.
- It’s better to hire the top salesperson from a small business into a large business than to hire the top salesperson from a large business into a small business. However, if the top salesperson from a small business is used to doing everything in the ‘sales process', they will probably need coaching on compliance, structure and working with support departments.
- Sometimes a ‘big hitter’ in a large organisation will struggle in a small organisation as they will not have the same brand, support departments and resources to draw upon. Sales staff that have never worked in a large business may not have done large elements of your ‘sales process’ before (as they probably had support teams there to make the appointments, write the proposals, etc).
- Warning – bad salespeople can often make really, really, REALLY good interviewees. Have a solid recruitment process.
- However, salespeople can also often be surprisingly bad at ‘selling themselves’. It's just not 'British' to consider yourself to be brilliant!
- It is rare to see a CV of someone that hasn’t met their sales target (and if they state in their CV that they didn’t meet their target then they’re probably very good).
- Salespeople probably need to be loved more than the staff of any other department – they love to be recognised.
- Cars are important to a field salesperson. You may feel it petty but having an unsafe and uncomfortable vehicle could make your new recruit head for the exit door pretty quickly.
- Most salespeople like gadgets. Therefore having a decent spec laptop and the ability to access the CRM system from the latest Smartphone is important to them.
- Salespeople, perhaps more than any other staff, need to be continuously measured and given constant feedback. They love to be loved...
- Salespeople walk away from businesses where they are not regularly reviewed and given constant feedback.
- Salespeople are very incentive driven – give them constant targets and rewards. Often it’s not the prize that drives them it’s the simple fact that they achieved what you asked them to do.
- Many salespeople are overtly confident but inwardly cautious. In my experience, many can be quite ‘needy’ and require regular reassurance that they are brilliant!
- Despite being more goal-oriented than most staff, it is quite common to interview salespeople that do not plan their careers and futures. Work with them on long-term goal setting to retain them.
- As Neil Rackham of SPIN selling fame stated 'Good salespeople leave bad sales managers, not bad companies'.
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by Rob Scott
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