Hiring a solid sales team can be a challenge for any business owner, especially one who doesn't feel particularly confident with sales themselves. Over the past 25 years, I have spoken with thousands of business owners who struggle with hiring and keeping a sales pillar running smoothly. So I wanted to share my top five danger points when hiring and managing a new salesperson within your company.
1. Hiring a marketing person in disguise.
Are you hiring a "marketing" person or a "sales" person?
The line between marketing and sales is often blurred. Someone with a "business development" background can be a marketing person in disguise, so if you think that may be who you're interviewing, you want to make sure to ask the right follow-up questions to get a good feel for their sales experience.
2. Hiring the wrong person for the position.
Think about what your business needs in a good sales representative. You may need:
- An order taker: someone pleasant, warm, dependable, and fairly cheap.
- Account managers: to help build relationships, high in follow-through, reasonable at closing and usually much weaker in prospecting, since they rarely have to do it.
- Business development people: for creating long-term sales opportunities like channel partners, distribution deals, etc. Their biggest weakness tends to be fear of reaching out to make needed volume of outbound calls or visits.
- Closers: who are great on sales process when you hand them a lead and highly skilled at taking prospects to decision point.
- A prospecting closer: to be an all-around sales professional. Note: Generally, to have the all-around person you are giving up something... in this case, they may not be as strong in a closing situation as straight "closers."
Think of the closer as the center on a basketball team. He or she is going to put up a lot of points, but they are going to need the team to feed them the ball in the paint to do it. The prospecting closer is like the point guard. He or she can create the opportunities and finish at the hoop, but rarely will they outscore a star center.
3. Hiring someone who games the system.
Use common sense when setting up and managing your sales system and be on the lookout for salespeople who have a tendency to break the rules to suit their needs. From day one, set up appropriate incentives, measurement tools, feedback, and expectations to keep the team on the same page.
4. Not empowering your sales stars.
As a sales manager, one of the best things you can do for your sales team is measure the right things at the right time to empower your superstars. Begin by measuring and reporting behaviors that lead to results, and do this on a daily basis. Once they have a feel for the process, you can then move to weekly reports to track progress. If someone starts to fall behind, review behaviors and results daily until the results improve.
5. Hiring just one salesperson.
As mentioned above, everyone on your sales team is going to have strengths and weakness, so don't rely on one closer to do it all.