If you are planning on structuring a sales team, the good news is that your business is in a growth phase!
But to ensure long term success, you need to hire talents that fit "like a glove" into your business process and culture. In addition, it is important to understand that sales is a function in which the professional's motivation is decisive for the achievement of goals to be constant, and this is not only a responsibility of HR, but also of the manager of the sales team.
To help you in this search, we created some steps that will guide you at the time of new hires, ensuring more fit of the new professional within your company, as well as avoiding the dreaded turnover - a constant ghost that haunts sales teams since ancient history.
The challenges when hiring salespeople
Hiring good salespeople and keeping them interested in your company proves to be one of the greatest challenges the sales managers face today. But why is this scenario so recurring?
Undoubtedly, sales is one of the most important functions within corporations. If sales don't happen, money doesn't come in ways that you expect, and this leads to many companies going bankrupt.
The importance of this function seems obvious, and one would think that businesses would undeniably put some effort into recruiting potential good salespeople. However, the scenario is often different. What we see is a tendency towards hiring without many criteria (often by indication of others, or in the rush to fill the position), the opposite of what happens in other sectors, such as Engineering, Tech or Finance.
It turns out that in any hiring without a clear process, the chances that this sales professionals will leave your company are very high, which means you ARE losing money.
After all, how much does your sales turnover cost to your company?
We can divide these costs into 3 different parts: dismissal process costs, loss of future revenue, and hidden costs.
1. Costs of the dismissal process
It involves the cost of recruiting, selecting and training (which may involve understanding the products and services, the business process and ramping up) of the salesperson, as well as exit interviews. From there, you can do the math according to the volume of staff that participated in this whole process, how much each one earns, and how long it took to hire and dismiss. We guarantee, it is a LOT of time and money involved.
2. Loss of future revenue
As long as your salesperson is still serving notice, he probably won't focus on increasing revenue, after all, he's already on his way out. This drop in productivity will be sudden and guaranteed, and of course, will also lead to less sales for the company.
3. Hidden costs
As long as a new salesperson is not hired, and there is no training and ramping up of this new professional, sales will invariably also fall. In this race against time, many managers end up falling into the vicious circle of last-minute hires, back to step one.
Why are my salespeople unmotivated?
Another very common scenario in sales is when the team is demotivated. Whether due to a seasonal low in sales (often variable according to the niche of the product or service), or due to some individual employee issue, it is up to the manager and HR to look closely at what may be happening.
Some very common factors that demotivate sales professionals are:
- Remuneration below market
- Personal problems
- Lack of understanding of their goals and how to evolve internally
- Lack of professional recognition
- Receiving too many "no's" from leads
- Toxic environment (eg, abusive leadership)
Recognizing the cause of demotivation, intervening correctly, and understanding the context with sensitivity, is the secret of a healthy company, with more satisfied employees, and a more harmonious environment. The perfect salesperson for your company will not sell without motivation.
What is the best profile for sales?
But, after all, what characteristics make the right salesperson?
Well, the painful answer is that this ideal profile does not exist.
Regardless of the candidates' characteristics or background, everything will depend on the current moment of your company, your management profile and the degree of maturity of your process.
Let's do this step by step.
To determine what your sales team will look like, it is important to map your company profile.
Is your business focused on B2B or B2C? Is your product or service made for small, medium or enterprise businesses? How long is your sales cycle? Is your product or service one-off or ongoing? How mature is your current data sector?
All of these answers must be taken into account when figuring out an ideal profile that will fit into your sales process. If your product or service is focused on enterprise companies, the less "aggressive" sales profile is probably the professional you are looking for. Selling in a startup, on the other hand, usually means that a salesperson must have a more independent and dynamic profile.
We talk a lot about processes, but it is important to remember that these are people dealing with people. Which means, if the manager has a certain profile, and it works and generates revenue for the company, it is important that this is taken into account when hiring your team. After all, a cohesive and aligned team is halfway done (especially considering we are dealing with a stressful routine such as in sales).
Remembering that this does not mean that hiring the same profile as you will work perfectly. Often, a complementary profile will be the key to the success of your process.
Process maturity level
Is your team already a beast at filling out the CRM? Do you already understand the importance of using sales tools? Do you already have an excellent sales pitch, and understand your Ideal Customer Profile like no one else?
These are some points that determine the degree of maturity and the type of knowledge that your salesperson should have. If you already have a data-oriented process, then it's important that your salesperson already has some experience in this area (or at least has a lot of inclination and tendency towards the tech area and understands a bit of numbers), for example.
How do I hire the right salesperson for my team?
From the points covered in this article, it is time to put together a killer hiring process!
Below are some important steps when creating yours:
Step 1. Talk to internal and external collaborators about what it takes to be a great salesperson at YOUR company.
Assuming you already have a sales force, observe and interview these professionals, and the answer to their success in that position will already be a big step forward when looking for new employees.
In addition, talk to old customers of your business, and understand what was done at the time of closing (and in the continuity of that service provided). These are certainly the skills you should focus on when looking at the right salesperson. In this case, some criticisms will also be revealed (which is normal), and here will be the complementary points that are missing in your current team, and that can greatly enrich your future process.
Step 2. Don't make generic job descriptions
We already mentioned, but it's good to remember: be objective about what you need. If the search is for more senior salespeople, ask for the professional's client portfolio in the resume. If you need more technical salespeople, ask for their experience with sales tools. You can be even clearer. Example "this job requires cold calling, generating at least 10 leads per day."
The old "If you are motivated, full of energy and dedicated" will not help you when it comes to filtering the professional you need. As characteristics like these are subjective, it is best to assess them during the interview.
(And of course, don't forget to highlight the benefits of the position).
Step 3. Recruit salespeople
Your focus will likely be on finding candidates who are actively looking for a job. But don't limit yourself to just that context (especially if your new hire is a senior professional).
Approach candidates on LinkedIn or via email that you believe will make sense for your context (especially if your company is in a very specific niche). Starting the conversation with this premise already guarantees greater proximity to the potential candidate, and greater clarity as to whether or not the fit makes sense for both sides.
And don't be afraid of rejection, good salespeople are usually in high demand.
Step 4. Don't look just for the "stars"
While it's important to be open-minded about each candidate's experiences, you need to be clear (as we speak here) of your process and company profile so you don't commit common mistakes.
Interviewing someone with five years of sales experience in the healthcare market may not be ideal if your niche is very techy or engineering, for example (but, of course, this is not a rule).
Always remember that selling is a difficult job for both the manager and the managed, so have empathy. Ask the candidate their history, their interests, their unique skills, evaluate their speech and knowledge of the subjects, if the candidate's focus is to better understand your product or service, or if they guarantee a genuine interest in your niche.
Surely these steps will lead you to a much more resilient and interested salesperson with the potential to increase the success of your company.