As your organization starts growing it becomes much harder for the founders to divide as much time as they used to with sales. Hiring and strategy become barriers for allowing the early employees to contribute to selling the way they used to. As this starts to occur, organizations will look to bring on help. When done properly, sales reps can assist in keeping the growth of the company going. They can also give your executives more time for strategic tasks.

Sales reps are nothing new to businesses. And while effective, there are some common problems that business owners make when they bring them in. Sometimes hiring a new position actually puts more work and stress on your plate not less. Most leaders don't take this mind, hiring first and then figuring out the rest later. This is a recipe for disaster.

If you're thinking about hiring your first sales rep, read the common mistakes people make below. Avoid these and I promise you and your new employee will be much happier and productive.

1. Hiring Before You Need To

This happens to so many entrepreneurs who get overly excited about their product. I've made this mistake before, and it's caused me more migraines than I could handle. Depending on how you structure your deal, you may be able to bring a sales rep on for no initial cost. But just because you can afford to bring in more help, doesn't mean you need to.

Many times, entrepreneurs love the idea of running a big company. Unfortunately, big organizations also come with big problems. The issue is that many business owners don't realize the amount of wasted time that goes into hiring someone that isn't a good fit. There is major risk involved anytime you bring someone new into your company, and it's your job as the leader to be strict on whom you let in.

The other reason why rushing to bring in a sales rep is bad is that it takes away from finding proper product-market fit. If you hire someone who's only incentive is to sell as much as possible, they're not looking for evidence on how to improve the product. Instead, they want to get as many deals closed as they can, no matter what. While you may get away with this in the beginning, rushing to scale before you're ready will come back to bite you.

Before you go out hiring reps, take a long look at your team and determine whether you need to or not. Try switching priorities or delegating tasks that others can do. If you don't absolutely need to bring in sales reps, it's worth waiting until the time is right.

2. Not enough time onboarding

So you have a sales rep who's excited to get started, now what? Many times, you have them shadow a few sales and then let them go off on their own. The trouble in this is that you don't have an idea of what they're telling prospects. Depending on their experience, there's many ways they can get themselves and your startup in trouble.

The most common mistake I see with this is that a sales rep doesn't understand the product well, so they start making things up on the fly. To close the deal, they promise the client features that your product doesn't have. Now you've lied to a buyer and will have to explain the misunderstanding. Whoops.

A second blunder I see is that by not properly training the rep, you risk them ruining relationships rather than building ones. There are all types of sales people in the world, but the strategy for selling differs based on the market. Some sellers are great in small transaction deals, but are awful in longer sales. Unless you teach the rep about your market and customer base, they could drive away more business then they bring in.

3. Not ingraining sales reps into the company culture

You should treat everyone that works for your company as a team member. This goes for virtual assistants, lawyers, and your sales reps. Sometimes, executives forget the importance of getting feedback and opinions from their reps. This makes no sense. Ignoring your reps feedback means you are missing out on insights from the purchaser. Instead, you should always be checking in with them to find out what feedback you're getting in your service.

By not getting your new sales hires in the company culture, you also hurt their spirits. Everyone wants their opinion to be heard and feel like they're a part of the team. Unless you have the time to do this, don't hire sales reps. A strong company culture is more important than a monetary incentive any day of the week.

Published on: Jan 5, 2015
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