The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a Successful Sales Team

      Sales Recruiters | Executive Sales Search Firm | Cowen Partners
      Executive Sales Recruiters

      A large part of a company’s success depends on its sales team, which means you need to make sure you’re hiring the right salespeople for your business. Of course, hiring the right people for your company is easier said than done. According to the Harvard Business Review, annual turnover among U.S. salespeople is around 27 percent. The wrong salespeople on your team are not only costly for your business, but they also create a time-consuming hiring and onboarding process when those wrong hires eventually quit or are let go.

      In the below guide, you’ll learn how to hire the right salesperson the first time around so you can quickly build a successful sales team.

      Start by Recruiting a Sales Leader

      Hiring your first sales leader isn’t easy, but it’s a necessary step to creating a more powerful sales team. Below are three important questions you should ask a potential sales leader during the interview process.

      1. What are the differences between your previous company and this one, and how would those differences impact your sales methodology?

      Sales leaders tend to lean heavily on past experience when selecting sales methodologies and compensation plans. Asking about the difference between your company and the candidate’s past employers will give you an idea of potential weak points in the leader’s experience as it relates to your business. Make sure you also know your own company’s sales methodology so you can find someone with the right experience, whether you do freemium sales, inside sales, field sales, or another avenue.

      2. What kind of salesperson would you hire?

      You don’t want a candidate who hires the same type of salesperson every time. You need a leader who will choose a sales member based on company needs. As the candidate goes over what kind of salesperson they believe is right for your company, make sure you also ask what kind of salespeople they’ve hired in the past. If they’ve only hired one type of salesperson, it could be a warning sign they’re not a right fit.

      3. How would you structure the compensation plan to fit our business?

      Compensation plans are a crucial aspect of any sales team, so make sure the leader you’re hiring understands your business model, sales model, and company expectations. If the leader is to structure the compensation plan, they’ll need to understand how to adjust expectations and benefits based on what your company has to offer.

      Ultimately, you want to choose a sales leader who is willing to think outside the box and adjust their sales team model to fit your needs. You don’t want someone who is going to copy everything they did for their last employer because chances are the same structure won’t work. A great sales leader will know how to structure the sales process and strategies to fit your business and meet your goals.

      B2B Sales & Marketing

      Perfect the Sales Hiring Process

      Once your sales leader is in place, you’ll need to work together to perfect the sales hiring process. One reason sales position turnover is 27 percent is because companies don’t take the time to properly construct their hiring process. Below is a seven-step plan you can use to improve your sales hiring process.

      1. Construct a Candidate Profile

      A strong idea of the perfect sales candidate will make the hiring process a lot easier. If you know what characteristics, qualities, and experiences you’re looking for, it’ll help you weed through candidates a lot faster. To construct your candidate profile, take a look at your top team sellers. What aspects of their backgrounds, traits, selling styles, and motivations do they have in common?

      2. Develop an Interview Strategy

      Structure your interview strategy around your candidate profile by creating a list of questions and interview techniques that reveal the various qualities and characteristics of your candidates. For example, roleplaying can be particularly beneficial during sales interviews. During a roleplay scenario, you get the opportunity to see how a candidate thinks on their feet as well as assess many other characteristics.

      3. Set a Hiring Timeframe

      A hiring pipeline is important for keeping the hiring process moving and timely. Set realistic time frames for accepting applications, contacting candidates, interviewing people, hiring, and onboarding. A solid timeline and hiring pipeline will keep your company organized and efficient during the long hiring process.

      4. Construct a Job Description

      The job description has two main roles. First, it needs to highlight your company and sell the team. Second, it needs to accurately describe the job role and expectations. When constructing the job description, pull from your candidate profile when listing background, qualities, and other main candidate characteristics, however, make sure to break everything up into required, preferred, and bonus categories. The perfect candidate doesn’t exist, so be sure not to set unrealistic expectations in the job description.

      5. Interview Qualified Applicants

      Standardizing your interviews is a great way to ensure you select the right person for the job. It’s easy to be swayed by how well you connected with a candidate versus the necessary qualifications if you don’t have a solid interview standardization in place. A few tools that will standardize interviews and help them run more smoothly are listed below:

      • Candidate scorecards
      • Interviews with multiple company leaders applicable to the role
      • A standardized list of interview questions

      6. Make an Offer

      Selecting a final candidate for the sales role is a major decision and one that everyone on the hiring team should take very seriously. It’s expensive to hire someone new, but it can be even more expensive to fire someone. Have a meeting with everyone involved in the interview process to gauge candidate impressions and get a sense of top hire preferences.

      As you go through the process of selecting your new salesperson, you may have several top contenders but only one position available. Make an offer to the salesperson you choose, but let the other top candidates know you were impressed with their interview. Use the rejection email or phone call as an opportunity to form a connection and stay in touch with the other candidates. A few months down the road when you decide to expand your sales team even more, you’ll already have a small pool of candidates who are perfect for the job.

      Cowen Partners has a strong record of identifying and recruiting sales leadership for fast-growing public and private companiesContact our 5-star executive search consultants to discuss sales recruiting or leader for your organization.

      B2B Sales & Marketing

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