Introduction:

If you are reading this you probably already know sales positions are hard to fill. However, your sales force determines the success or failure of your organization. No matter how good your product or service, without great salespeople, you will not be successful. Finding, recruiting, interviewing and hiring top performers should be a priority. In this episode of The Funnel, we’ll share a few tips to help you hire great salespeople.

What we’re going to cover:

  • Patience is rewarded.
  • Own it.
  • Do your own recruiting.
  • Get everyone involved.
  • Always be recruiting.
  • One final note.

 

 

Patience is rewarded.

 

Don’t compromise.

“It takes an average of 29 days to hire a sales rep. What you need to do is show some patience here, don’t compromise and settle for the resume that maybe is a little sub-par or maybe you hired off the resume alone or a reference. It just doesn’t do you any good to do that, sometimes success somewhere else isn’t transferable so you have to go through the process.”

Settling is dangerous.

“Be patient and try to find the right person for the right job for your company because settling is dangerous. We all know the financial ramifications of a bad sales hire. If you’re good and you realize your mistake you can end it in 30 days, but 9 times out of 10 that doesn’t happen. Generally, it’s 6 months to a year before a decision is made. Don’t wait until you get tired of looking at all the lost revenue and profit, don’t settle.”

Think about the team.

“How many times have you let somebody go or somebody leaves and you think I’m kind of glad that they’re gone and people come in and say ‘it’s about time what were you waiting for they’ve been under-performing for a year’? What do you think that does to morale of the team, what do you think that does to good people? Good people have choices, they’ll leave, they don’t want to be in that kind of environment. Just keep in mind when you’re hiring a rep, whether it’s your first or your hundredth. Utilize some patience.”

 

Own it.

 

Timeliness.

“You need to own the fact that it’s your responsibility to recruit as a sales manager. You need to own the fact that it’s part of your job description to hire sales people. And as a business owner you need to take ownership of that fact this is an important role and you need to focus your time and energy on it, own up to the truth that you are the one that makes the difference here. That the timeliness of your hiring’s and firings are extremely important.”

Missed Quota is on you.

“Just remember, lost revenue for your business owners, that’s on you. Missed quota, that’s on you. I don’t care how bad the person was, I don’t care what happened and what the circumstances were for them leaving the company you need to be accountable for this.”

Prepare for the inevitable. 

“You need to prepare, because inevitably somethings going to go wrong. Maybe not this time, maybe not next time, and if it goes wrong and you can’t complete the task or the project, then who owns that? You own it, because you had the time leading up to it to get it done. Now you can’t account for every disaster but what you can account for is your time, you can own the things you’re supposed to do. So if there’s somebody to blame for missed quota or missed revenue or slower growth, it’s you. So own it.”

 

Do your own recruiting.

 

Passive.

“You reach out on LinkedIn, you develop some relationships, and you cultivate those relationships and you stay in front of those relationships for an extended period of time. You’re consistently messaging them, grabbing a cup of coffee on occasion, just letting them know that you’re there and you’re thinking about them and maybe at some point there might be a job available, that is a process it and of itself.”

Proper messaging.

“What kind of messaging are you sending out? Who are you trying to attract? If you’re trying to track millennials that’s a different conversation, so make sure your messaging is correct, that you have your emails set up, and you have your LinkedIn connections set up properly. Reach out to people you’re connected to. You go to events all the time, you go to business events, there’s salespeople there, there’s vendors that know salespeople, so work your network. Always be working your network.”

Set time aside.

“Build out the process for recruiting on your own. Don’t just say I’m going to recruit, well how are you going to recruit? I want you to do is give me a detailed plan of how you could do that. Just understand that saying you’re going to do it and doing it are two different things. Set aside the time, develop a plan, execute on that plan. Build yourself a process for doing your own recruiting.”

 

Get everyone involved.

 

Teamwork makes the dream work.

“Everybody is in the same boat. A healthy, happy, company benefits everyone. So think about it from a sales team perspective: I have 3 empty territories and I have a bunch of sales people I’m responsible for and I still have to hit the number, what am I focusing on? And how does that affect the team? Everyone benefits from a healthy sales team.”

Team goals.

“Traditionally sales is a very selfish business, I’m in it for myself, if I sell a lot and I make my money everyone’s going to leave me alone. It doesn’t work that way anymore. There’s a lot involved in complex sales where you need other team members to be successful. So the more people are driving revenue and filling empty territories or worrying about problems like that, the better off they’re going to be. Get everyone involved, make them part of this success, get their help. There’s great value in being a team oriented player.”

Referrals.

“If everyone’s involved and you set aside a little bit of time monthly just to talk to your team about recruiting efforts and what they see out there, what they’re running into, and how we could potentially take advantage of the situation if someone’s available to us… why not? There’s just as much at stake for them as there is for you.”

 

Always be recruiting.

 

Internal bench.

“So we would bring somebody in and we would teach them and coach them and develop them and train them, we would give them a little bump in the salary, a little bit of commission and we’d say look here’s your opportunity learn how to be really good salespeople here and when an opportunity for a territory makes itself available you will have the chance or the opportunity yourself to apply for that role. It’s not an automatic hire, you need to earn the right. And you had to earn the right through benchmarks, and gates, and we went through the on-boarding process, we taught them how to sell, and then when they were ready, if there was a territory available, we’d drop them in a territory.”

External bench.

“Think about how much easier it is to move somebody when you have such a strong bench. You have the external bench where you’ve developed candidates and contacts who would fit specific roles for your company as well as an internal bench where we never had to worry about filling a territory.”

Beware of the recruiter.

“If you put all your eggs in the recruiter basket you are going to lose. You need to branch out. Your company might use recruiters but understand this, they are not the keeper of the keys you are. You need to constantly be recruiting, you need to constantly be developing your own contacts, do not lock solely on the recruiter, that’s trouble.”

 

One final note.

 

On-boarding.

“All of it is for naught if you don’t properly on board a sales rep. Build a plan to get them up to speed on this in a quick of time as possible.”

Accountability. 

“Keep in mind if you’re an entrepreneur and you’re hiring your first sales rep, you need to be a sales manager. That’s coaching, training, and accountability. I work with a lot of entrepreneurs to do this. I build that program for them, they manage, and then when they’re ready to hire a manger they know how to manage the manager. And for you sales managers, your primary role with your sales reps is coaching, training, and accountability.”

 

Keep Filling The Funnel

We would love to hear from you. Let us know what you think about this episode. Please feel free to reach out to us if there is a specific sales topic you would like me to cover.  You can find me on Twitter at @Sheajohnr or email me at jshea@alignment-group.com.  And if you get a chance, please feel free to review us on iTunes.

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