The problem with hiring sales people

Your business needs more new clients to grow, but as the business owner, you don’t have enough time for you to be the Salesperson anymore. You need to hire a sales person! How can you be certain that the sales person that you’re hiring is any good? Check out these tips for hiring sales people!

The 3 things you want in place before hiring sales people

Below are the 3 things that you definitely want in place before even considering hiring sales people:

  1. Lead generation which brings in enough quotes so that you don’t need to cold call
  2. predictable way of closing sales at a price that’s profitable for the business
  3. A recruitment process that whittles out the bad sales people

You might not have considered that last one, but not all sales people are good for you. You need to know which ones are going to consistently make you money, not cause you headaches and generally add value to the team.


Taking on a salaried salesperson can be risky!

In a nutshell, you’re hiring someone on a salary basis with the expectation that they’re going to make you a certain amount of money in return. Unlike engineering jobs, there’s no test to assess a salesperson’s competence. Why isn’t there a standardised test? Because there are so many factors which affect how good a sales person is going to be at selling a specific thing:

  • Do they find New business or do they do Account Management?
  • Do they have to Prospect themselves? or do they just handle closing
  • What’s your culture like? What’s your expectations of them?
  • What systems do you have in place to make it easy for them to hit target?
  • How do you reward them?

In a nutshell, with so many factors the way you find out if someone’s good is by giving them a go. You’re investing in someone to grow your business, you usually give them 3 months to show their worth. Their job is to make you money and in the meantime you’re paying them regardless of whether they make you money or not. When it comes to that, PAYE law means that you need to be on it with performance management so that you can prove you dismissed them fairly

Scary stuff over! The point I’m making is that you need to be reasonably certain that the person you’re hiring is going to hit the targets that you need them to.


Hiring sales people tip 1: Give them enough leads to keep their time valuable

The good news is that a sales person doesn’t have as much impact in sales as you might think. You have a big influence on how many sales your team makes. There’s 3 key aspects to sales which impact the results

  1. The sales process
  2. The marketing
  3. The abilities of the salesperson

You’ll notice that the talents of the salesperson only accounts for ⅓ of the factors that will affect your sales. That’s great news for you! If you do this right, you can make hitting target all but a certainty.

We actually did a webinar on this exact topic earlier this year, so check out the webinar on how to 5x your sales. We talk about the important of lead generation and making your sales team’s time more valuable through this. Check it out!


Hiring sales people tip 2: Consistently closing sales

You’ve busted your butt to make sure they have all these hot leads to speak to, now it’s down to them! Are they closing as many sales as you need? Essentially, make sure that they’re going to make a much money as you want them to.

How do you do this? Have an open dialogue about great ways to close sales for your product. Keep a Playbook which covers all of the top tips for closing sales. Make your sales team a culture of winning by openly sharing successes, failures and top tips.

Hubspot have cool Sales Playbook tips. Essentially, it’s like a way of selling that has consistently generated sales before. This is continually updated and revised to keep it relevant so that any new sales person can know exactly what your top sellers do to exceed their targets.


Hiring sales people tip 3: Create an interview that is charm-proof

How do you know if a sales person is any good in an interview? A problem with hiring sales people is that some sales people are really, really good at passing interviews! You leave the conversation elated, having found someone who is just so darn funny and charming!

This makes total sense if you think about it. You’re speaking to someone who, for a job, is really good at coming across in a certain way to get a particular result. Whilst charm is a very good thing in sales, it’s not everything in sales. You need to know that this sales person will thrive in the job that you’re giving them.

Here’s a top hiring sales people tip which we use ourselves. List all of the qualities which are essential to a sales person doing the job. During the interview, you’ll score each sales person from 1 to 3 on their experience in these areas. 1 being unacceptable, 2 being okay enough and 3 being amazing.

Here’s how we did it

Our sales teams do a lot of lead generation for our clients, so this is a biggie that we hire for. Here’s the aspects to the job which we consider essential:

  • Good at selling by themselves: A lot of our team spans the globe so new sales people need to be good at motivating themselves to make sales calls on their own. Experience in the phone systems that we use is ideal, but not essential here. We just need someone who is able to motivate themselves to be persuasive whilst working solo.
  • Good at questioning: Decent lead generation is all about the questioning, so we place a big emphasis on how good sales people are at asking questions and not jumping into pitches
  • Charm and B2B sales experience: We do take charm and previous experience into account, but this only forms one part of the decision making process.
  • Great phone voice: A voice that makes my ear melt! That’s what I’m looking for. How amazing do they sound on the phone?

We have questions we ask to assess these 4 qualities and we score based on 1 to 3. This means that regardless of how charming a sales person is, we know that this isn’t going to make us ignore all the other important aspects of the job.

Do these 3 things and you’ll have the sales person of your dreams

Hope you found this helpful! If you make sure that you:

  1. Have a steady source of good leads
  2. A very consistent way of closing sales
  3. A way to find the right sales people for you

You’ll be certain that you’re hiring a sales person who’s going to drive your business forward.  If you have any questions, please do get in touch