Making the best hiring decisions is important for several reasons. Key among them is that for you to remain at par with your competition, you must hire as well, if not better than they do. Hiring for sales positions is sensitive because these are the people that will bring in paying clients. As a matter of fact, the quality of your sales staff will have a direct impact on your revenues, and ultimately, your bottom-line. Here are some things to do to ensure you get the best people on board.
1. Identify Your Specific Need
Before drafting job specs and a JD, evaluate your company’s current needs and the existing gaps in your sales team. With this, note down the experience level and skill set that would match your needs alongside a reasonable budget.
2. Prepare a Proper Job Description
The more is more approach does not work with job descriptions. Yes, you want to be as detailed as possible so as to only receive applications from candidates that are a good fit. However, clear and conscience always works best. Instead of pages and pages of tests and descriptions, opt for brevity. Merge critical skills into brief sentences, and then include an expectations section. As you do this, remain as objective as possible. Try not to oversell or over glamorize a role. This might get you more candidates, but the candidate you hire will soon get disillusioned and possibly exit prematurely. Instead, you want to present a job as it is, and allow a candidate looking for what you are offering to take up the opportunity.
3. Qualifications vs Experience
Becoming a successful sales rep goes beyond stellar qualifications. Undeniably, in fields such as sales, the two go hand in hand. As you comb through resumes, pay attention to both academics and hands-on experience. Academics teach a lot of the theoretical knowledge a salesperson needs. On the other hand, experience teaches salespeople life skills and practical selling skills that are not learned in a classroom. Your shortlist should, therefore, have candidates with a good mix of the two.
4. Try Untraditional Methods
Instead of placing an advert and waiting for applications, you can hire in more direct, unorthodox ways. If you are aware of some superstar salespeople, you can directly reach out to them and see if they might be open to new opportunities. Granted, they might come with a longer list of requirements than the usual hires; however, their performance might make them worth their ask. If you are unsure of where to start, most top professionals are on platforms such as LinkedIn. If you can find them here and begin discussions, you might be well on your way to getting an excellent hire.
5. Position Yourself as an Ideal Employer
As much as you want to make the best hires, you must understand that employees also want to work for the best employers. Over time, you want to build a reputation as a good employer. Think about your work culture, a positive work environment, fairness, equity, and so on. What this does in time, is help you attract the top employees in the market, salespersons included.
6. Have a 360ᵒ View Hiring Process
A comprehensive interviewing process should consist of the ice breaker, where you evaluate if a candidate would be a good fit for your culture. The subsequent interview should have a more targeted panel, including the candidates would-be supervisor. A supervisor is more in-tune with the day to day aspects of the sales function in your company and can pick out the key skills and competencies required for the job. The last stage should have a practical task. A presentation or proposal would work fine for a sales role. This helps you evaluate actually hands-on skills before making a final decision.
As business needs and employee profiles change, so should your hiring processes. Once you have the right employees for your organization, you can then focus on employee retention and optimizing productivity.