How to Hire the Best Salesperson

Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker CEO and Co-Founder of Accordium

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

In order to hit those sales targets, you need a team that can perform well under pressure. But how do you find the right person in the first place?

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As the Sales Manager, it’s your responsibility to hire great selling professionals. But we’ve all heard horror stories about reckless salespeople or sleazy reps who reflect badly on your company.

Finding strong, passionate and expert salespeople can be a difficult task. But it doesn’t have to be; you just need to make sure you’re investing the hard work into the right parts of the hiring process.

Companies are renowned for scrupulous hiring methods for core roles like engineering, tech or marketing, and in your role as Sales Manager, it’s important to take the same approach when hiring salespeople. This is because salespeople are essential to the success of the business and meeting your targets.

So, spend the time and effort searching for effective salespeople, and use these tips to help you find and hire them.

1. Decide exactly what you require from the position

The first step is to determine exactly what your dream candidate profile looks like. Work on a hiring profile with other relevant departments too, so you get sign off across the whole company.

Discuss the skills and abilities that are most important to you, but also focus on attitude and soft skills. Do you want your salespeople to be willing to learn and grow? Will they be curious? Should they be driven?

The best salespeople might stand out because they’re always trying to reach for unachievable goals or hold themselves to higher standards.

By outlining what your future candidates should look like, you’ll easily be able to filter out the weak candidates, and ultimately hire the best people for the job.

2. Showcase the role AND your company

It should be a given that you’ll write a superb job description for the role and advertise it in all the right places.

But as well as selling the role to a potential hire, you also need to sell your company. You want to find a person that really wants to work for, and positively impact, the business – and fits within the current culture.

Your corporate website is up to scratch, naturally, but you should also encourage current and former employees to write reviews for external, independent hiring and job information sites like Indeed and Glassdoor. Many candidates will look here.

Spend time spreading the word about your company, your brand and the values you hold on social media too. Spend time with other departments, such as Marketing and HR, to really leverage this opportunity. You want to get potential candidates excited about working for you, and make sure they understand the business’ culture before they apply.

3. Look for a deep understanding of your industry

The age old saying that “great salespeople can sell to anyone” doesn’t really hold true. Sales requirements vary dramatically for every product and every industry. You don’t just need the gift of the gab – but rather a deep understanding of the market, of audience personas and buying habits, of technology and strategy.

Hire for the task at hand. As a well-established business, you need to hire a salesperson who has the experience to enhance your national corporation to a multinational corporation and beyond. A candidate who already has proven experience in your industry is also likely to have a greater knowledge and a greater ability to sell your assets. 

4. Get candidates to record a video message  

Encouraging candidates to submit a video message of themselves can give you a real insight into how they might behave in your sales environment. It lets you see how personal they can be, and that’s vital.

Customers today are savvy. They need to be able to connect and identify with the person selling to them, and so you need to make sure you’re hiring the people who’re able to get through to the target audience and create that all-important personal connection. They want a smart salesperson and someone they can trust.

A video message lets you see if they could make that connection. Using software like Accordium, you can instantly see if your candidates have the knowledge and the soft skills it takes. Video sales messages are also an increasingly essential tool in the sales process, and this gives you an indication of how a potential hire might use them.

5. Promise what you can afford

Finally, it’s important to note that really good salespeople are few and far between, and they have a high-in-demand skill. That means they don’t come cheap. Great salespeople will make your business far more money than you pay them – even if you pay them a lot.

The best salespeople are in demand and fought over, so you will need to financially compensate them.

Think about the different ways to do this. As a successful company, you can offer great company benefits, like a competitive pension or company car. Financially, along with typical commission, you could offer a signing bonus or financial rewards each quarter, or each year, if the salesperson is still with you and still performing to expectations.

All of this is vital to hiring great sales people, but there’s one last, important point to make: don’t waste time hiring. The best salespeople won’t wait around.

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