How to Hire a Salesperson

Part One:

It’s easy to get trapped in the belief that you are hiring salespeople only for a certain set of skills. You focus your time and attention on what it is you want salespeople to do in the way of activities. The salesperson’s skills, their attributes, and their beliefs must be considered, but they often crowd out one of the most important constituencies you should be considering: your prospective clients.

The first test to add to your evaluation is whether the salesperson you are considering is the person you want to deliver to your prospective and future clients.

You are hiring for your prospects and clients.

It makes sense to ask yourself some questions to include your prospect’s and client’s needs as part of your evaluation.

  • Will your prospective clients want to buy from this person?
  • Does she have the proper beliefs, attitude, and skills to actively work with your prospective clients to help them get the results they seek?
  • Will she be someone that they trust and consider part of their management team?

Who Are You Adding to Your Prospect’s Team?

You spend a lot of time considering your value proposition, what you deliver to your clients and how you deliver it. You also spend a lot of time considering how you compete and win. It very much matters who you place at the intersection of creating value for your prospects and who represents you as you compete for opportunities.

Your prospective client’s decisions about whether or not to buy from the salesperson you have offered them is a real evaluation of how well you made your hiring decision. It’s worth considering—especially when the salesperson is part of the solution.

  • Were the last three or four salespeople you hired the right people for your prospective clients and clients?
  • What really makes a salesperson the right salesperson to deliver to your prospects and clients?
  • How instrumental is the salesperson in understanding your prospective client’s need and delivering the right solutions?
  • If you were in your prospective client’s position, what would you want your company to deliver in the way of a salesperson?

alt text image of people waiting to be interviewed

PART TWO:

This is the second of three tests. Now you have looked at the sales person from you prospect’s perspective. You have to make a similar decision: Do I want to work with this salesperson every day?

Part of Your Team

Sometimes you may hire as if it’s enough that the person you hire can do the job for which you are hiring them. Rarely is this ever true. We spend most of our waking hours at work, and that means we often spend more time with the people we work with than we do with our family and friends.

The salesperson’s cultural fit cannot be overlooked.

It is important that the salesperson you hire fits you and your team. You are going to have to manage the salesperson, and that means you are going to spend time with them. You have to make a determination as to how well you believe you can work together.

The rest of your team is also going to have to work with this person, including the parts of your organization outside of sales. As the salesperson works on opportunities, delivering will require that they work with your operations team, your accounting team, your risk team, and your management team. Are they the right fit? Is this someone who is going to be easily brought into the company and the culture?

It’s easy to believe when hiring that it is enough that the person can do the job. But if they aren’t someone that you and your team are going to want to work with on a daily basis, then it is going to be difficult to for either the salesperson or the team to produce results.

This doesn’t mean that the salesperson doesn’t also need to possess all the skills, abilities, beliefs and behaviors that the position requires. But you have to want to work with the salesperson you are hiring, just as your client is going to have to want to work with them.

  • Do you consider how much time you are going to have to spend with a potential team member and your willingness to do so?
  • What attributes, like likeability, are important when considering adding a salesperson to your team?
  • What kind of person do they need to be to navigate your company successfully? What kind of relationships will they need and who with?

alt text image of a person electing a person on a blackboard

PART THREE

:

This third test is really more about you than it is about the salesperson, and this test is often the real determinant as to whether or not your salesperson will succeed or fail.

This test is: How willing are you to take the actions necessary to ensure that this salesperson succeeds?

Your Commitment to Your Salespeople

Once you hire this person to sell for you, you are committed to doing all that is in your power to ensure that they succeed (this is, in part, why it is so important that they are a great cultural fit).

As their sales manager or sales leader, you will have to invest your limited time and energy in this salesperson’s success. You will have to make certain that the salesperson has all of the training, the tools, and technologies to succeed in their role. You will also have to sure that they are successfully on-boarded, successfully introduced into the culture, and that they know how to navigate the organization to get results.

These tasks fall to you as a commitment that you make when you hire a salesperson, and so your willingness to give this salesperson your time and support is critical.

A Greater Commitment Still

Once you have hired the salesperson, you are also going to have to be willing to help them with any shortcomings they have in their sales skills, their sales behaviors, and actions, as well as their beliefs about sales. If you discover that they aren’t exactly where they need to be in regard to the skills and attributes they need to succeed, by hiring them, you are committed to helping them.

Because these are often more challenging issues to help the salesperson improve, this is a greater commitment. You may not be able to uncover the areas that need improvement during the interviewing process, so you must be certain that you believe strongly enough in the salesperson’s ability to learn, as well as your commitment to ensuring their success before you hire them.

  • What commitment do you make by hiring a salesperson and adding them to your team?
  • What does that commitment require of you as their sales manager or sales leader?
  • Can your newly hired salesperson be expected to perform as well as she needs to if you withhold your full support?

These three tests will help you hire salespeople that can and will succeed.

Filed under: Hiring, Values

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