Having great sales people working at your company can significantly increase your profits. Poor sales reps will only let you down, become dead weight, and reduce your sales numbers. What's more, bad sales reps can tarnish your business's reputation and sour relationships with customers, which can be devastating to your bottom line.
It's extremely important, then, to hire great sales people right from the start, so you know that you are on the right track for company sustainability and growth. But hiring great sales people takes time, effort, and planning in order to do it right. There are factors that should be considered, while some are more important than others. Here's how to hire great sales people in three easy steps.
Test Their Knowledge
When interviewing candidates, you should test their knowledge related to three areas: the industry you're in, your company and products or services, and sales.
Hopefully, you can find a candidate who already understands the ins and outs of the industry your company is a part of, such as knowing the target market, the clients, and the competitors in the field.
The candidate should also have some understanding of what your company does and knows what you're about-what your business goals are, what products or services you sell, and where you stand in the industry. Even if a candidate had never heard of your company before, a motivated self-starter would have asked around and researched your business before coming into the interview, which is a good sign of dedication.
Great sales people will also have a deep knowledge of current buying cycles, trends, and selling techniques. Ask them what their typical sales routines are with a client. See if they know about inbound marketing, thought leadership, and customer-focused selling techniques. The sales rep you eventually hire should be on the same page with your company's in-house selling techniques, or even better, have innovative solutions that you could benefit from by having him on your sales team.
Get a Deeper Understanding of Their Personalities
Although industry knowledge is important, nothing contributes to the making of great sales people more than the right personality. Sales success is mostly dependent on personal talent rather than job skills-though job and sales skills certainly help create the perfect package. That's because, with proper coaching and training, sales and job skills can be learned, but personality traits are innate.
Some candidates have the education, knowledge, and experience that exactly match what you're looking for. They might ace the interview based on these traits. However, if they don't have the right personality for the job, you'll find yourself with dead weight on your team.
So, make sure you test their personality traits, too. Are they self-starters? Are they motivated and dedicated? What kind of examples can they give you? Do they strive to better themselves as sales representatives? When's the last time they took part in a sales seminar or read a sales book? What kind of personal goals have they set in the past? Are they results-oriented or are they counting down the minutes until it's time to go home? Don't settle for mediocre-make sure they are great sales people. Ask them to take a personality test if you're unsure.
Get Other Opinions
Don't be shy-if you think an interview went well, ask for feedback from other managers at the company. Or, invite managers to a second interview so you can get a second opinion. This is especially true if you don't have a sales background-an experienced sales manager will be able to spot great sales people and tell if you have a winner on your hands. What's more, you should ask for references and call them up to ask detailed questions. Great sales people will have references that rave about them.
With these three easy steps, you'll be able to hire great sales people for your team.