If I had to choose one thing for my company to do right, it would have to be human resources.
Good people are hard to find, harder to keep around, and expensive. Is it worth it? Well … is your business serious about success?
Those are two different questions with the same answer no matter which way you cut it. Success can’t hide from good people; surround yourself with them and it will find your business. The old adage that you get what you pay for holds especially true with people.
We like to think about salespeople with that larger picture in mind. Good people can figure out how to sell, so focus on finding good people, not necessarily salespeople. What are you looking for when you seek out a new hire for sales? Where should you look? Here are five tips for finding the right salesperson.
Tip #1: Are they digitally literate?
What can you find out from the Google search engine? Do they use LinkedIn? Basic or premium? Are they on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+?
These are the big four social media platforms. Those who already utilize internet connectivity are likely to be a good fit for 21st century sales work - they’re already doing it in their personal lives. Pay especially close attention to LinkedIn. Consider the fact that someone you hire brings their entire network with them. How does their network look?
Little things you may not think about: what does the candidate use for an e-mail server? If it’s Hotmail, Aol, or Comcast, chances are they may need a digital translator.
Tip #2: Consider experience.
Is the candidate new to sales or experienced? Use your instinct because there are some pluses and minuses to both. Question … will they be prospecting? An experienced sales person shouldn’t have to prospect too much.
That’s the whole point of being experienced right? They should know hundreds of people already. A quick way to check is LinkedIn. Be wary of “experienced” sales people without a robust LinkedIn profile. Look for this to verify their claim:
If you find a good hire, for a new salesperson, start them on lower quality leads to develop experience. Implement an internship program from day one where they can learn from experienced reps handling high quality prospects.
Set expectations high and give them rope - good people will learn quickly. Consider what you will do if your new hire exceeds your expectations. Reward good performance or you’ll find yourself starting over again with another new hire!
Tip #3: Streamline Your Internal Sales Processes.
New sales reps will fail without training. What is your plan to bring them up to speed? Companies need to implement a repeatable process for teaching new hires, especially if the salesperson is young and the sale is complex. If every proposal is custom, look for reps with industry experience.
Tip #4: Increase sales efficiency.
First determine your buyer personas. Do you get a lot of similar customers? Do they fit a particular mold? Has your marketing department implemented lead nurturing campaigns? Do you have a pre-defined contract to exchange leads between marketing and sales? What are the deliverables between the two departments? Are the incentives aligned around common SMART goals?
Next, segment and target. Develop your target market and focus your proposals around these leads. If that means ignoring business that isn’t the right fit, do it. Too many sales at low margins will take down the best of companies.
Pro Tip (#5): Should you even be looking for another salesperson?
What if sales isn’t the problem? Developing leads through a robust inbound marketing strategy is oftentimes a better investment than a marginal sales rep.
High quality digital content is a long-term “sales rep” that works for you 24/7, year after year. Develop a campaign strategy that targets your buyer personas and optimizes digital content for different stages of the buyer’s journey.
Well-developed leads are much more likely to convert into customers than they are to waste your salespeople’s time. Well-developed inbound strategies have the potential to reduce your sales force, increase your sales, and increase your margins. Embrace quality - in your marketing campaign and in your sales force.