Growing a sales organization (whether that is one or 100 sales people) is an important part of business growth. If your background isn’t in sales or sales management, this might feel like a monumental task.
There are a few things you need to be mindful of before you ever hire your first salesperson.
How can you protect your business from these scams? Take the following precautions.
1. Know your value proposition.
When you hire someone else to go out into the world to represent your brand and your business, they need to be able to clearly articulate what you do and why your clients buy from you. This may seem obvious to you, but writing it down and make sure it’s clear will be essential to your first sales hire.
2. Know your pricing structure.
As a small business owner, you know the ins and outs of your pricing, your margins and how you make money. Your new salesperson will NOT be familiar with these things. You will find more success in handing your new hire a rate card with guidelines for negotiation than hoping they can “wing it” as well as you can.
3. Fine-tune your sales.
There is a step-by-step process you follow when you’re out in the field talking with prospects and new clients. Write it down. Formalize it. Teach it to your sales people.
Giving someone a step-by-step process to follow will give you a much higher likelihood for success than hoping they figure it out on their own. Taking the time to fine-tune this will probably help you identify a few opportunities for improvement in your current process.
We would never hire a web designer and tell them to “figure it out,” so don’t do it to your sales team, either.
4. Know your onboarding process for new clients.
This is another thing you’re likely already doing but haven’t written down.
Nothing is more deflating to a new sales hire than bringing home their first signed contract without a clear next step to follow. It doesn’t inspire confidence in your new client, either.
Think of every small detail needed and create a process around it.
5. Develop a 30-60-90 day plan for your new salesperson.
Setting expectations from the beginning is always important in business. If your new hire (in any role) knows what is expected of them, how they will be judged, and what is important to you and their new role, they have something to work toward. This also gives you the guard rails you need to see if this person is a good fit for your organization.
Hiring Your First (or Next) Salesperson
Now that you have the basics in place, it is time to start thinking about your new salesperson.
Who are they? What kind of experience do they have? What kind of clients should they have experience working with ? There are a lot of different schools of thoughts around salespeople. You’ve likely heard something along the lines of “hire someone with experience so they can hit the ground running” AND “hire someone green so they don’t have any bad habits.”
Your salesperson needs to match with what you sell, who you sell it to, the technical experience needed in the role, your average contract value and many other factors.
Essentially, hiring someone with experience selling $5,000 deals to sell $150,000 deals is going to have a steep learning curve. Hiring someone just out of college to sell business solutions to business owners with 15+ years of experience might be a challenge. If you have an 18-month sales cycle, it will take a special salesperson to have that kind of patience and persistence to thrive in that role.
Being mindful of all of these things when you’re recruiting and interviewing will likely up the changes of finding the right fit for you and your organization.