If you don’t hire a salesperson, you won’t be able to implement any valid marketingplan for large companies, and for that reason alone, it deserves an article in this course.
But there’s more.
According to a study by Adecco, every year 28.8% of people who work in sales change jobs.
This means that every year you should renew 1 in 4 of your sales staff.
Hiring always takes time and money, and with this turnover data, it’s better to do it and make sure you hire the right people.
And that’s what we’re going to cover in this article.
We’re not going to focus on details like salary negotiation or the type of questions you should ask a candidate.
Instead, we’ ll answer the questions :
- Can you create your sales department with juniors?
- How do you attract the best sales people?
- How to separate the wheat from the chaff when hiring?
- And much more.
Should you recruit junior salespeople?
Although the sales department is one of the most important and highest paid departments in many companies, there is no specific stream.
I have met many sales people and they have studied everything from journalism to advertising, from business management to engineering.
Of course, I have also met many people without university degrees.
I even know a chemist by training who sells a lot.
This means that many entry-level salespeople know virtually nothing about sales when they start their career.
Nothing at all.
Fortunately, companies don’t have many qualms about this.
According to our own study, in which we analysed 6,000 job advertisements for sales representatives, only 13.9% of them required experience.
However, while this is good news for those who want to work in sales and have never done it before, it is not so good news for organisations.
Many companies hire juniors (and even interns) to strengthen their sales departments.
Trust me on this. It doesn’t work.
It never works.
So is it necessary to hire a senior salesperson?
When you hire an experienced salesperson, you know that, at least when it comes to selling, they will have plenty of opportunities:
- He knows what a sales pitch is and how to make it work.
- He knows how to deal with customers and how to adapt to the person you are dealing with.
- He knows how to use a CRM and how to manage their day-to-day business.
In short, they will know a lot about sales, but you don ‘t need to create a sales department based on hiring seniors.
There are two main reasons for this:
- The first is that, although they know a lot about sales, they probably don’t know as much about your product.
- The second is that a senior sales person does not necessarily know how to organise the work, create the pitches, manage the sales people and, in short, manage the department.
They may know how to do it, but they probably don’t.
Therefore, if you start from scratch and hire experienced sales representatives to manage the department, you will be in a better position than if they are junior, but that is not ideal either.
How do you manage hiring a salesperson?
As with everything in life, there is virtue in the middle.
- You will need seniors to manage the most important customers and to coach and support the juniors.
- You will need juniors to help you adjust the department’s salary budget and to grow with your business and product.
- And most importantly you will need a department manager, someone who knows sales, who knows your business and who will help you set up the department and apply everything we have seen in the course.
If you don’t do it this way, it can happen to you like it did to SumaCRM when they started the company.
Tomas Santoro, the co-founder, told it like this in his blog: “By trying to take shortcuts, I lost several months of work.
This happened to me 5 years ago, when we started SumaCRM, we hired 8 sales people at the same time, without having sold SumaCRM before my partner Alfredo or me.
As expected, after one month, none of the 8 sales people had sold anything, 0 sales.
Unfortunately, we could not continue with them, losing several months and a lot of effort on all sides.
After the mistake, Alfredo and I set to work to create a sales pitch.
After a few weeks, we had it and we hired a salesman, Jorge, who was selling in his first week “.
It is no coincidence that Alfredo would end up being the sales manager and head of the department.
To avoid such a mistake, you have to start with the person who is going to run the department.
How to find a sales manager
My two favourite ways to find one are:
- Someone within the company with the experience to take on the challenge, be properly trained and take on the role.
- Bring in an outsider who will learn about your product, company and industry and then set up the service.
If you follow the advice, the department should end up looking like this
How to recruit junior salespeople
The procedure most companies follow to hire junior salespeople is as follows:
- Post a vacancy on a job board.
- Go through the CVs and arrange a call with some of them.
- Ask them to do some kind of test, for example by selling them the product or a similar one.
- Choose, somewhat by intuition, the ones you like best.
This approach is very flawed, which is probably why turnover rates are what opened the article.
That’s why we asked Antonio Domingo, trainer and networking expert, what he considers in these cases: “On the internet and in companies, there are many lists of professional characteristics that differentiate who will be a successful salesperson.
Most of them are certainly good, but in my opinion, and having met many juniors and seniors, there are three main keys that will determine their results in the medium or long term.
They are simple, but hard to find in most profiles.
The first is that they are great questioners.
They ask open-ended questions, which are not related to product features, they don’t look for the phrase that gives them the opportunity to say how good, nice and cheap it is.
Their questions are aimed at getting to know the person they are talking to, whether they are a customer or not, their needs, their way of thinking, their life beyond that of the marketing manager, the owner or the purchasing manager.
There’s a person behind that job, and besides being a customer or not, it’s a person, and these great salespeople know how to direct their conversations to find out, whatever they’re talking about.
The second is that they are excellent listeners, but I’m not talking about the ones who shut up and stop talking just to please the other person, which, while helpful in generating empathy, is not enough.
The good salesperson does this, but the excellent one does something different, which is called active listening, giving continuous feedback on what the customer is saying, either with short sounds, gestures of assent, short words, attending with interest to the conversation and asking new questions about what he or she is saying to us, and with all of this showing that he or she is listening and interested in what he or she is hearing.
The third is that they manage their non-verbal and paraverbal language perfectly, I am referring on the one hand to their gestures, their hand movements, their smile, their body positioning, their facial expressiveness, their gaze, their breathing… and on the other hand to the tone of their voice, the speed, the volume, the cadence, the accentuation, the change of rhythm.
These 3 characteristics can be learned, but many young salespeople have already learned to manipulate many parts of them, which indicates that their potential is very great and that their effectiveness can be significant in a short time.”
Following this advice and looking for these characteristics in candidates is a guarantee of success.
How to recruit a senior salesperson
When it comes to recruiting salespeople with many years of experience, the situation changes.
If they have been in the business for several years and have good recommendations, they are probably good at selling.
The problem is that such profiles are not abundant, so : How could you attract them?
Antonio Domingo was once again clear: “Most salespeople are looking for a salary that is significant and offers opportunities for progression based on their results, but excellent salespeople are looking for something more.
These great salespeople are confident in their abilities and know they have the skills and experience to take on new roles.
That’s why they tend to value a number of factors that we need to emphasise at the outset if we want to attract this type of profile, because if they don’t appear, they will look elsewhere. On the one hand, that there is the possibility of taking on responsibilities, even if not from day one, but that it is on the horizon, that it is affordable, that it is a challenge and that the plan is explained to them so that they can achieve it.
Another is that they have the freedom to decide on both strategy and time management, and this includes deciding how to manage their agenda to invest their programmes, and instead of just measuring with X daily or weekly visits they can decide if they want to invest some of their time in generating, sowing and consolidating relationships if they feel their goals require it.
This does not mean, of course, that they should not be required to have billing or lead generation objectives, but it should not compromise the above.
The third thing I would like to emphasise is to give them the means to develop their work. I am talking not only about the material means that support them, but also about the external means that facilitate their work, such as connecting them with the external relationships that the company already has through other departments, joining associations that they consider strategic, providing training if necessary or on request, supporting proposals for possible synergies with clients, companies in other sectors or even with competitors.
And, finally, recognition. We tend to think that they only seek recognition for the salary aspect, which is also true, but successful salespeople demand it above all on the professional side.
I’m not talking about medals or public praise as “best salesperson of the month” or similar things, but to know that their ideas or proposals to improve their department, the company or part of it will be listened to; that their efforts will be valued; that they will be made to feel that they can be a pillar of the company’s growth; that they can be valued as a reference for new junior salespeople who join.
And it starts by demonstrating this to those who are already part of the company, because it allows the best people to know what is going on and to want to be part of this team.
Make it clear in job offers and subsequent negotiations, not only the salary, but also that your company is committed to its employees, trust their opinions and, finally, that all the recommendations Antonio has offered, are the best strategy to attract this type of profile.
You can now recruit a salesperson to close big deals
You may have missed the fact that we didn’t talk about compensation.
We didn’t touch it because it deserves a whole lesson, and that’s precisely what we’ll talk about in the next one.
If you don’t want to miss it, leave your e-mail here and I’ll write to you as soon as it’s published:
In the meantime, if you want, you can try Efficy CRM, the most flexible sales tool on the market.
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Learn more about:
Sales course for large companies
What are the best techniques for concluding deals?
How to set sales goals in your company?