How Hiring the Wrong Sales Person Can End Up Costing You Thousands

September 24, 2014 Matthew Cook

how hiring the wrong sales person can cost your company thousandsHiring a sales person means more than putting another warm body to work making calls, sending emails, prospecting leads, and writing sales copy. Some hiring managers and team leads don't consider well the potential fallout of a terrible sales person, beyond a few undeserved paychecks and the hassle of finding another person to replace them. But hiring the wrong sales person can cost a company big, bigger than most other mistakes. It comes down to one simple truth: Every sales person represents your company. Choosing the wrong representatives can have major consequences. In this article, we'll discuss four ways a bad hire can cost your company thousands or more, and what you can do to avoid such disasters.

Lost sales. 

The simplest place for hiring the wrong sales person to cost you money. When you hire an underperformer, prospects that might have closed don't. And a prospect that's turned you down once will be ten times harder to sell to in the future. That's lost revenue, even if you're not paying a dime to your new sales person outside of commissions (which is a great way to end up with bad hires, but that's the subject of another article).

Returns and lost repeats. 

Sometimes you hire a sales person and they seem excellent at first glance. Lots of activity, lots of closed sales. A real go-getter. But sometimes, that success comes as a result of high-pressure and dishonest tactics. Predatory Gordon Gecko wannabes don't meet with that much long-term success most of the time, because pressured customers change their minds once they have room to think. That means returns and the loss of those customers to the competition the next time they need to buy.

Team morale. 

In a vacuum, maybe the new guy or gal you hired works perfectly. But sometimes, the guy that can smooth talk any customer can't go a day without getting into it with his coworkers. Team cohesion matters in sales, and a disruptive individual can close as many sales as he wants and still cost you money, if he or she is impacting the performance of the rest of your sales force. A superstar's worthless if she's achieving greatness as the expense of the regular Joes.

Public relations. 

Above all else, hiring the wrong sales person creates a monumental risk of negative public relations. This can be little things that add up over time-those high pressure tactics and returns get talked about, and negative word of press can go viral quickly. A company with a reputation for disreputable sales reps doesn't go far.

This can also be big PR nightmares-you don't want your company making headlines because you didn't do a thorough background check and ended up with a psycho representing you to customers. It doesn't matter if the issue's largely unrelated to your company, a bad hire for your sales team can take a major toll on your revenues.

Avoiding these issues. 

99% of these issues can be avoided by putting in a bit of time and effort on your hiring process. There's a reason top companies all utilize either a specialized in-house hiring team or an external sales recruitment firm to fill their ranks. Hiring sales people takes time, effort, and the right tools to find someone at the right stage of their career, the right attitude for the corporate culture, and the right skills and ability to learn to truly excel.

If you are going to leave hiring to a non-specialist, it's still important to pay attention to the whole picture and take your time. That means looking closely at resumes, making sure interviews are thoughtful and provide useful information, and resisting the charming potentials enough to see their flaws and make accurate decisions. Caution and care go a long way in making sure you're hiring the right sales people, so don't skimp on either.

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