HIRING SALESPEOPLE IS TOUGH. Let me share with you my top tip to ensure you hire the salesperson you need, who will perform and stay with you.
No director or manager should beat themselves up over hiring poorly performing salespeople, or those that simply don’t work out. The fact is, that the majority of directors and managers hiring salespeople get it wrong at some point.
An important factor in how successfully a director or manager will be at hiring good salespeople, is based on their own intimate knowledge and experience of sales. Have they had a career in selling, as a successful Salesperson, Sales Manager or Sales Director? If not, then it’s unlikely they will possess the skills and instincts required to select good salespeople.
If it’s the business owner doing the hiring without an experienced Sales Manager or Sales Director in the team to deal with this highly specialist task, they should not be surprised if they get the process of hiring a salesperson wrong, more times than right.
Recruitment Agencies – Good or Bad?
Surely, recruitment agencies are good at hiring good salespeople – aren’t they?
What appears to be a safe bet by engaging the services of a professional sales recruitment agency, is not as safe as we might expect. However, what a recruitment agency has going for them will be access to a sizeable pool of potentially suitable candidates.
In my twenty-five years of running companies, managing sales divisions and sales teams, it has been my overwhelming experience that the professional recruitment agency is just as likely to get it as right or wrong as any astute sales manager, director or business owner.
I have hired and managed over two hundred salespeople during my career as a sales manager, sales director, general manager & managing director and have also fired my fair share of incompetents and seemingly good people that simply didn’t work out. My salespeople have ranged from average to excellent, earning from the low tens of thousands to several hundreds of thousands of pounds a year in salary, bonuses and commissions.
Regarding the use of recruitment agencies, let’s add a proviso here, as there is an exception. You see, when hiring a salesperson that needs to be a specialist in a particular field, with a demonstrable track-record and earning a high-end package and where the agency will charge a substantial percentage of first year salary as their fee, then the chances of hiring an efffective salesperson can be high.
However, this type of recruitment company will tend to be at the top of their game. Their selection and analytical processes will likely prove the saying – you get what you pay for. And you will expect to pay a substantial fee.
Most micro and small businesses will not be in a position to hire highly-professional, specialist, high-flying salespeople from the top recruitment companies; or it may not be appropriate to hire this type of salesperson into the business. In which case it’s more likely that you will want to hire salespeople of a more modest value and track-record, perhaps having to settle for less specialist sales skills and abilities. That said, you need a salesperson that is going to do the business and consistently hit or exceed agreed revenue or gross profit targets. You want the best you can afford and as importantly, you need them to stay.
Perhaps you are one of the many business owners I’ve met who has got it wrong in the past and is feeling demoralised about the whole process. You may be unsure as to what to try next – hiring good salespeople who through their success, can help you to drive the business forward.
A Top Tip for Hiring Good Salespeople
This is how it works.
Here is a top tip for hiring and retaining good salespeople in micro and small businesses without an experienced Sales Manager or Director – don’t hire only one salesperson, hire two!
This might sound bonkers, so let me explain.
Unless you engage the services of a top recruitment company, then from the outset your chances of successfully finding and hiring a good salesperson that will deliver the business and will stay for the midterm, is probably no better than 50%.
As you will know, the process of finding, selecting and hiring a salesperson is surprisingly time consuming and can be expensive. Not to mention the time and cost of training and integrating the salesperson into the team, customers and if the salesperson is not from your sector, the marketplace.
The cost to your business if the salesperson leaves or you need to fire them in the first year, can be substantial. For many businesses, it can be punitively expensive and might take a long time to recover from such a blow as this. In fact, some businesses never do.
If the business needs the salesperson to help it generate incremental revenues, grow the business or help balance a problematic cash flow, then you cannot afford to leave the successful recruitment of your new salesperson to a 50/50 chance of success.
By hiring just one salesperson, you are gambling that the salesperson will turn out to be successful and stay with you. For many businesses the odds of success at 50/50% are too high and certainly, too risky.
If you can’t reorganise the budget to afford to hire two salespeople right now, then wait until you can. Over time, it may well prove to be one of your better investments in the business. You don’t need to hire both salespeople on the same day, but within a one or two month period should be fine.
If you would you like me to help you select and interview the very best salespeople for your business, please contact me here.