You are only as successful as the people you hire. Without people to generate leads and make sales, you will not be able to bring in any customers and thus not make a profit. So it is a necessity that you develop a good process for hiring salespeople.
A no-brainer first step to your hiring process is to develop your interview process. This interview process can encompass areas like the review of people’s résumés, background checks, interview questions, what you are offering and so forth. Getting your plan for recruiting salespeople down pat will ensure that you have a better chance of getting the best people for the job.
Understand the position you are advertising. Sit down and figure out every detail of what you want and what the position would require. What salary are you prepared to offer? What is that salary based on? What qualities do you want the employee to have? What skills are a necessity for the position? If you know the position in and out, you will know which type of people would excel at it or not.
Take a look at great achievers in similar positions to the one you are currently hiring for. What qualities do these achievers have that make them great at what they do? The people you plan on hiring should raise the average. In other words, potential candidates should possess qualities that are similar to people who have succeeded instead of having only the bare minimum requirements.
Remember that, in a way, you are also being interviewed. A candidate will check to see if you are the type of company or person that they would like to work for. You might not think this is important since they are applying to you but what if you get a great candidate but you scared them off by not selling yourself appropriately. Have something prepared so that you can tell the candidates about the company, the position you are interviewing for, your current sales team and so forth.
Pre-screening is an essential step that will save you time in the end. A majority of résumés that will land in your inbox will not be suitable for what you have in mind so do a thorough evaluation of résumés beforehand. Some people perhaps do not have the right amount of experience you seek or lack certain skills. If you have done your research on the position you’re hiring for, as previously stated, you will easily be able to spot which people are suitable and which are not.
A part of pre-screening that you also need to take on is that of phone interviews. Keep these brief. Gather information about the person’s demeanour on the phone, whether what they say on their résumé matches what they tell you, what their expectations are of the position and so forth. It needn’t be a long process but it will be helpful in culling even more unwanted candidates.
To make your interview process even more thorough, one can put the candidates that you have brought in for an interview previously through a skills test. One of the ways you can test skill is to ask the candidate to prepare a 20-minute presentation where they will explain how they are going to meet their sales quotas. What will their strategic be? How is their critical thinking skills? Are you able to understand their plan through their presentation (which might help you see if customers will understand what they are selling)?
Some questions that you can ask in the interview include:
- Asking them to provide an example of a previous sales experience they had. What would they do the same and what would they do differently a second time around?
- Seeing as the candidates should have done their research on your company beforehand, ask them what new markets they suggest your company take on as well as how they feel you should develop these new markets.
- Allow the candidate to explain the process they go through when making a sale from how to obtain the lead to how they close the sale. Pay particular attention to what they do once the deal is closed because follow-up is extremely important for repeat business.
- What does the candidate’s sales goals usually include and what steps do they take to ensure that they reach those sales goals?
Each company’s sales team recruitment will differ slightly depending on what industry the company is in, what their current sales team is like and what the position that is being interviewed for is. Do your research beforehand, plan your interview process, ask all the questions that would be relevant to your specific company’s industry and then follow your instinct. As a sales manager you know best what type of people would be a good addition to your sales team.