How to find a sales rep, negotiate with prospect & write an effective Sales Rep Agreement.
Find a way to manage & motivate independent reps for optimal PERFORMANCE!
You probably already know this, but independent sales reps ARE THE fastest – and least expensive – way to quickly roll out a local, regional, or even NATIONAL sales program.
(… which may explain why you came to my website on “How to Find Sales Reps” in the first place…?)
But, how do you find these sales-generating rascals and rascal-ettes? These silver-tongued, order-taking, market-savvy professionals with hordes of established relationships among – hopefully eager – potential buyers of YOUR product (or service)?
Well, I am excited to offer you a number of well-researched and fleshed out solutions, so you will quickly find the best independent, professional, sales representatives, for YOUR business – in any geography!
And of course, at the same time, we also need to help you solve those additional challenges you will find critical to success with reps. In other words, once you find the warm body of a sales rep standing in front of you (or talking on the phone, or emailing you for particulars …), what then?
But first, some sales rep horror stories…
- I’ve had vendors that readily sign an agreement, then do everything in their power to cheat me out of my hard-earned commissions, completely ignoring the agreement, and telling me to sue if I don’t like it.
- Some vendors view me as a competitor to THEIR SALES, instead of a key partner in THEIR GROWTH.
- I once had a vendor that would call my customers after an order, and tell them to order direct in the future, so they would not need to pay me a commission. (Of course, another violation of the agreement, since the agreement stated all sales to accounts in my territory were commissionable.)
- Often I re-establish old, dead accounts, and am sometimes told those were “house” accounts, and therefore non-commissionable — even though they were not listed on the client’s current house account list.
- I sometimes take courtesy orders for a client, in cases where a buyer is assigned to another rep who, unfortunately, is not doing their job. I generally ask for half of the commission in this case, but often I do not get any. Which is fine, I do this more as a service to my beloved vendors. But I resent competing reps who are less thorough but yet get credit for the sale. (The issue of overlapping territories will be an ongoing management headache for you, by the way…)
- I’ve also been on the other side of that, where a rep will come into my assigned territory and push the buyer for a sale, then complain about the commission credit (even though I contact all my accounts at least monthly during buying seasons.)
- I had a long-time client assign my VERY BEST accounts to another rep who “only calls on large accounts”, as if that was a good excuse. FYI, this will not fly. No self-respecting rep will do “mop up” while you let a competing rep cream the territory.
- Many vendors, who operate with the same cost structure as everyone else, tell me they cannot pay industry standard commission rates. I’ve accepted a client with a very desirable line a time or two, under these terms, and always regretted it… this is just a sign of MORE problems to come. You cannot dissect the quality of the line, from the business sophistication (or attitude) of the management.
- A common problem is that a vendor increases prices, changes payment terms, discontinues a product, or adds a new one, and FAILS TO TELL ME! Then I write a sale, and after receiving it, the client says, “Oh, by the way…”. Problems all the way around.
Are you ready to hire a sales rep?
Are you wondering how to find a sales rep because you know that working with a sales rep can be a great way to grow your business? Many entrepreneurs have been able to grow their product line from 100 stores to 1000 stores – all with the help of a sales rep.
But before working with a sales rep, there are a few things you need to keep in mind:
– Sales reps work on commission – for an apparel business it’s usually 15% of any sales that they make; for bath and beauty products or accessories, for example, it can be 20%. The average commission is 10-20% for most industries (if you decide to work with sales reps, make sure to build this into your pricing structure).
– Sales reps need free samples, marketing materials and anything else to help them sell your products – before working with a sales rep, you need to make sure that you have budgeted for free samples and have created marketing materials to send them to support them during their sales efforts. So you’ll need to make a bit of an investment before deciding to work with a sales rep.
– You need to constantly communicate with and check-in with your sales reps – from my experience with running my t-shirt business and selling through sales reps, the more I kept in touch with and communicated with my sales reps, the better they performed and the more sales they brought in. You might want to schedule it in your calendar to follow up with them every week or every two weeks or once a month, depending on your needs and schedule.
Also, before you decide to hire a sales rep, make sure you contact some of the other vendors they represent and see how they like working with them, what kind of sales volume they are bringing in and if they recommend that particular sales rep.
What does a sales rep do?
Sales representatives sell retail products, goods and services to customers. Sales representatives work with customers to find what they want, create solutions and ensure a smooth sales process. Sales representatives will work to find new sales leads, through business directories, client referrals, etc.
Sometimes, sales representatives will focus on inside sales, which typically involves “cold calling” for new clients while in an office setting, or outside sales, which involves visiting clients in the field with new or existing clients. Often, there sales representatives will have a combination inside/outside sales job.
Sales Representative Responsibilities:
- Generating leads.
- Meeting or exceeding sales goals.
- Negotiating all contracts with prospective clients.
- Helping determine pricing schedules for quotes, promotions, and negotiations.
- Preparing weekly and monthly reports.
- Giving sales presentations to a range of prospective clients.
- Coordinating sales efforts with marketing programs.
- Understanding and promoting company programs.
- Obtaining deposits and balance of payment from clients.
- Preparing and submitting sales contracts for orders.
- Visiting clients and potential clients to evaluate needs or promote products and services.
- Maintaining client records.
- Answering client questions about credit terms, products, prices and availability.
Sales Representative Requirements:
- Bachelor’s degree in business, marketing, economics or related field.
- Experience in sales.
- Understanding of the sales process and dynamics.
- A commitment to excellent customer service.
- Excellent written and verbal communication skills.
- Superb interpersonal skills, including the ability to quickly build rapport with both customers and suppliers.
- Experience using computers for a variety of tasks.
- Competency in Microsoft applications including Word, Excel, and Outlook.
- Able to work comfortably in a fast paced environment.
Personality traits in a successful Sales Rep.
The personality tests were given to high technology and business services salespeople as part of sales strategy workshops I was conducting. In addition, tests were administered at Presidents Club meetings (the incentive trip that top salespeople are awarded by their company for their outstanding performance). The responses were then categorized by percentage of annual quota attainment and classified into top performers, average performers, and below average performers categories.
The test results from top performers were then compared against average and below average performers. The findings indicate that key personality traits directly influence top performers’ selling style and ultimately their success. Below, you will find the main key personality attributes of top salespeople and the impact of the trait on their selling style.
1. Modesty. Contrary to conventional stereotypes that successful salespeople are pushy and egotistical, 91 percent of top salespeople had medium to high scores of modesty and humility. Furthermore, the results suggest that ostentatious salespeople who are full of bravado alienate far more customers than they win over.
Selling Style Impact: Team Orientation. As opposed to establishing themselves as the focal point of the purchase decision, top salespeople position the team (presales technical engineers, consulting, and management) that will help them win the account as the centerpiece.
2. Conscientiousness. Eighty-five percent of top salespeople had high levels of conscientiousness, whereby they could be described as having a strong sense of duty and being responsible and reliable. These salespeople take their jobs very seriously and feel deeply responsible for the results.
Selling Style Impact: Account Control. The worst position for salespeople to be in is to have relinquished account control and to be operating at the direction of the customer, or worse yet, a competitor. Conversely, top salespeople take command of the sales cycle process in order to control their own destiny.
3. Achievement Orientation. Eighty-four percent of the top performers tested scored very high in achievement orientation. They are fixated on achieving goals and continuously measure their performance in comparison to their goals.
Selling Style Impact: Political Orientation. During sales cycles, top sales, performers seek to understand the politics of customer decision-making. Their goal orientation instinctively drives them to meet with key decision-makers. Therefore, they strategize about the people they are selling to and how the products they’re selling fit into the organization instead of focusing on the functionality of the products themselves.
4. Curiosity. Curiosity can be described as a person’s hunger for knowledge and information. Eighty-two percent of top salespeople scored extremely high curiosity levels. Top salespeople are naturally more curious than their lesser performing counterparts.
Selling Style Impact: Inquisitiveness. A high level of inquisitiveness correlates to an active presence during sales calls. An active presence drives the salesperson to ask customers difficult and uncomfortable questions in order to close gaps in information. Top salespeople want to know if they can win the business, and they want to know the truth as soon as possible.
5. Lack of Gregariousness. One of the most surprising differences between top salespeople and those ranking in the bottom one-third of performance is their level of gregariousness (preference for being with people and friendliness). Overall, top performers averaged 30 percent lower gregariousness than below average performers.
Selling Style Impact: Dominance. Dominance is the ability to gain the willing obedience of customers such that the salesperson’s recommendations and advice are followed. The results indicate that overly friendly salespeople are too close to their customers and have difficulty establishing dominance.
6. Lack of Discouragement. Less than 10 percent of top salespeople were classified as having high levels of discouragement and being frequently overwhelmed with sadness. Conversely, 90 percent were categorized as experiencing infrequent or only occasional sadness.
Selling Style Impact: Competitiveness. In casual surveys I have conducted throughout the years, I have found that a very high percentage of top performers played organized sports in high school. There seems to be a correlation between sports and sales success as top performers are able to handle emotional disappointments, bounce back from losses, and mentally prepare themselves for the next opportunity to compete.
7. Lack of Self-Consciousness. Self-consciousness is the measurement of how easily someone is embarrassed. The byproduct of a high level of self-consciousness is bashfulness and inhibition. Less than five percent of top performers had high levels of self-consciousness.
Selling Style Impact: Aggressiveness. Top salespeople are comfortable fighting for their cause and are not afraid of rankling customers in the process. They are action-oriented and unafraid to call high in their accounts or courageously cold call new prospects.
Not all salespeople are successful. Given the same sales tools, level of education, and propensity to work, why do some salespeople succeed where others fail? Is one better suited to sell the product because of his or her background? Is one more charming or just luckier? The evidence suggests that the personalities of these truly great salespeople play a critical role in determining their success.
How to motivate a sales rep.
Motivation is more than Vince Lombardi quotes and quirky posters on the wall. It’s one of the most important components of sustained sales success over time.
As a sales manager or director, you can only influence your team’s sales performance in two dimensions: Their skill set (what they can do), and their motivation (how repeatedly or passionately they do it).
Improving your team’s skill set is a largely objective process. By evaluating current performance metrics and comparing them to a successful end state, you can diagnose what areas need improvement and act accordingly.
But motivation is far harder. Not only are there are many external factors that affect motivation, every person requires different incentives and motivational tactics. In my decades as a sales leader, I’ve used the following strategies to successfully motivate my team and drive motivation through the roof.
1) Build trust with the people on your team.
The foundation of motivation is trust. If your team doesn’t trust you and doesn’t believe you have their best interests at heart, it’ll be difficult for them to feel inspired and driven by their work. When salespeople are unmotivated, you won’t be able to re-inspire them unless you have an open and honest conversation about their challenges and goals — something that simply won’t happen without trust. It’s a vicious — or virtuous — cycle.
Managers have to create trust and then maintain it by engaging with their team in a consistent, nurturing fashion. The best way to build trust is to be completely transparent. Simply discussing trust can be a great way of starting off on the right foot.
In my 30-year career, I’ve used one simple soundbite to kick off this conversation. It might seem like a squishy question, but it’s never failed to work. I simply say, “Julia, I want to make sure we are in a trusting relationship. How can we build trust between us?”
It’s pretty direct and it’s a great way to explain to the team that I am interested in working on a business relationship, rather than being their boss.
2) Ask your direct reports how they like to be managed.
I always tell new team members three important things:
- Everybody’s personality is different.
- I want to be an effective manager for your work style and personality.
- I can modify my behavior to fit your needs. How do you want to be managed?
Just as different prospects will require different selling styles and effective salespeople understand how to adapt to those styles, effective managers understand that the best way to get results out of their team is to fit into their reports’ worlds, instead of forcing one method of communication or strategy on everyone else.
Here are some questions I ask my direct reports to help them figure out what their work style is like:
- What is the pace of interaction that you prefer? Do you want to meet with me once a week, every other week, or multiple times a week?
- How do you want me to give you feedback?
- Do you prefer public or private praise and feedback?
- What type of feedback do you prefer?
- If I hear something amiss, do you want me to tell you, email you, wait until our one-on-one, or something else?
- If something I do gets on your nerves, will you let me know?
3) Understand your direct reports’ personal and professional goals.
You can’t motivate someone unless you know what drives them. Understand what your direct reports each want to accomplish in their personal and professional lives. This will not only show you the type of person they are, but also give you insight into what things will motivate them the most.
Once you understand their goals, ask them the following questions:
- Are you motivated right now?
- What motivates you long term?
- What can you do to motivate yourself?
- How will I know if you are not motivated?
- What do you want me to do if you don’t appear motivated?
Even if it seems obvious, you always need to ask. If they can’t tell you the answers to these questions, give them 48 hours to figure it out. Forcing your reps to be self-reflective makes it more likely they’ll give you thoughtful answers, which will be better for you both in the long run.
4) Make sure they’re covering the basics.
A salesperson’s motivation always suffers when they’re not taking care of themselves. Your team’s results are influenced by — may even depend on — consistent sleep, exercise, and a healthy diet.
Robert Yao, the founder and CEO of EpiFinder, so strongly believes in this idea he’s created a “Robert Yao Hierarchy of Needs.” Whenever someone on his team seems disengaged or demotivated, he shows them the pyramid and asks, “What do you need more of?”
If they point to “food,” he’ll buy them lunch. If they point to “sleep,” he’ll tell them to take a nap. If they point to “exercise,” he’ll say, “Go for a walk.”
While you don’t have to take things this far, stressing the importance of a balanced lifestyle will make a sustained difference on your salespeople’s motivation levels.
At HubSpot, we offer employees access to a gym, plenty of healthy food and snacks, and a nap room.
5) Set daily, weekly, and monthly goals.
Different salespeople are motivated in different ways. Some people are motivated by team-wide sales contests. Some are driven by quota achievement. Some are motivated by qualitative improvements. Some people are motivated by their impact on the organization. Some people are motivated by money.
Here’s how you should think about each type of goal and SPIF (sales performance incentive fund):
- Daily: This is a very short-term goal designed to break a rep out of their funk. The SPIF should be something fun but lightweight, since the rep isn’t doing that much to earn it.
- Weekly: This is a more tangible goal with defined business impact. Set metrics for improvement, then work with your reps on a plan to applying the necessary skills on a daily basis to achieve this goal. This should be a slightly more involved reward such as a round of golf that will influence meaningful results.
- Monthly: The largest of the three goals, monthly goals are accompanied by higher-value rewards based on extraordinary performance. I prefer not to give cash, because once you spend it, it’s gone. Instead, I’ve given physical SPIFs like speakers and TV sets. Every time your rep looks at that item, they’ll remember the process they went through to earn it.
6) Figure out where the issue lies.
There are two main aspects of motivation every sales manager must handle: Individual motivation, and group-wide motivation.
Before you do anything to boost motivation, ask yourself, “How many people seem like their spirits are flagging?”
If the answer is “just one or two,” you’re dealing with outliers. If that number is three or more, there’s a problem with the entire team.
7) Let people pick their own rewards.
Salespeople always do a great job choosing prizes — after all, they have the most insight into what they want! Plus, this makes your job easier.
I use a three-step process to getting people to design their own sales contest.
First, I ask them if they need motivation. I’ll say, “How do you feel? Do you need a kick in the pants?”
They’ll either say yes — in which case I’ll move to the next step — or “No, we’re fine.” If it’s the latter, I’ll say, “It doesn’t sound like you’re motivated today, but if you can hit [activity or monetary goal] without an extra boost, that works for me.” The team will always respond, “No, no, Tyre, we need the motivation.”
Then I’ll ask, “Okay, what do you think the objective should be?”
After they’ve decided on a target, I’ll ask them to pick a timeframe.
Lastly, I’ll ask, “What reward do you want [within X budget]?”
This strategy is straightforward yet highly effective. My reps love it.
8) Give great rewards.
Sometimes, you may need to give your salespeople some inspiration. Here are my favorite personal SPIFs to suggest:
- Prospect for them
- Buy them (and maybe a few friends) lunch or dinner
- Cook them lunch or dinner
- Clean their house (or hire a company to clean it for them)
- Babysit their kids
- Walk their dog
- Wash their car
- Give them the full day off
Unlike a traditional cash prize, these rewards are motivating to the entire team. Everyone will be rooting for the individual rep — because who doesn’t want to see their manager cooking their coworker dinner?
When you’re offering a team-wide SPIF, use these ideas:
- Take everyone out to the movies in the middle of the day
- Go bowling
- Attend a sports game
- Throw a pool party or BBQ
- Volunteer at a soup kitchen or local philanthropic organization (great for bonding)
- Play paintball or dodgeball
- Visit a go-cart facility
And when you want to truly rally your salespeople and show how committed you are, get a little wacky.
- Dress like a taco
- Shave your beard or head
- Grow your mustache
- Go in a dunk tank
- Sing at karaoke
- Perform a dance
- Pledge to give up coffee for a week
- Eat your least favorite food for lunch
- Wear a funny shirt to work
The goal: Do something playful and memorable.
Interestingly, sometimes the best SPIFs aren’t ones that seem to have any value at all to an outsider. I used to work with Don Bulens at Lotus, and we had a plastic doll we called the Tiny Little Baby Award. It got passed around to the best rep on a monthly basis and was displayed at the winner’s desk. People loved it — the doll had no inherent value, but it was a way of recognizing people’s achievements, and reps cared more about the accomplishment of getting the baby than the baby itself.
What should you pay a sales rep?
Sales Rep Salary Structure: “Good sales people are driven by cold hard cash” is the biggest myth ever told after the Golden Goose Salesperson. The reality is good and great sales people are driven by many factors but ALL require security.
Expecting a good sales person to leave their current job and come to your company and potentially not be able to pay their bills because they haven’t earned enough commission will NEVER attract the right type of salesperson. Furthermore if a salesperson joins you on this basis you can be 100% assured that they aren’t the right type of person either. A salesperson needs to know that they will still be able to live if they don’t sell enough of your product. Expecting that the fear of not being able to keep afloat each month, if certain targets aren’t reached, will drive someone to perform at their best is both cruel and ineffective.
We have found that the best sales salary package incorporates a good basic and other rewards such as recognition, bonuses or prizes. Commission alone, counterintuitively, almost never results in a salesperson performing well. A salesperson mostly performs well because they are inherently a good salesperson, not because they could earn a bit extra commission this month.
But why would a salesperson then sell to their max if there is no clear carrot spurring them on? That makes no sense, right? Well, does you accountant do his/her best work whether or not he/her earns a commission? Does your operations manager check stock correctly without demanding payment. If you give your sales reps recognition when they have done well, give them the security that they need (good basic salary) AND they are the right person for the job, they will do their best work (we have seen this time and time again).
Where can I find a good sales rep?
Websites like ours specialize in helping to match independent sales representatives with wholesalers, manufacturers, and distributors who need their services. Sales reps go to these sites looking for new product lines to represent, while companies seek commission-only sales representation. (For more great insights on working with independent reps, check out RepRight Founder Alice Errett’s guest post on our blog, as well as a post from Jeffrey Simon of RepHunter).
2. Trade shows and showrooms
You can either ‘walk the show’ or visit their website for a listing of showrooms and sales reps. Once you find a showroom in your category, you can contact them and see if they are taking on new lines. A few places to start with are New York Now, the Dallas Market Center, California Market Center or Chicago Merchandise Mart.
Trade shows can be great networking opportunities, not just for finding new customers, but also for finding sales representation. By attending high-traffic trade shows in your industry, you may come across independent reps or firms representing other brands at the show and/or looking for new lines to represent. Try to branch out at trade shows to develop relationships with these kinds of contacts.
Industry events such as seminars, trade shows, workshops, and conferences are premium opportunities for relationship building. They’re also great for sniffing out and assessing potential hires.
Tread lightly and be subtle. Limit yourself to building connections if your new prospect does not send positive signals that he or she is looking for a new employer. It’s not good to antagonize other industry players and be tagged as a “talent poacher.” Also, hang-out in places where executives and sellers usually go. There might be opportunities of discovering eager talent once in a while.
3. Other websites
If you sell inspirational apparel, for example, you might want to check out an inspirational jewelry line’s website and see if they work with any sales reps. Often you will find a listing of these under the WHOLESALE section of their site. Here is an example – http://www.live-inspired.com/retailpartners.cfm
Online career marketplaces such as Rainmakers attract the best employers and the top practitioners in a specific field. When these parties meet, excellence happens.
Use special features such as Rainmakers’ sales performance history to better assess a candidate’s credentials.
Job sites such as Monster, Glassdoor, and Indeed.com provide the online interfaces that connect recruiters with job applicants. Like LinkedIn and specialist career marketplaces, job recruiting sites offer the best success rates for your staffing needs.
Streamline and clarify your job posting. Make it stand out from the posts of rival recruiters. Use site features such as Glassdoor’s employer reviews to gather worker sentiment and find professionals who might be “open” to trying out other employers.
4. Take advantage of Social Media and Forums
Social Media can also help. Try finding independent reps in your industry by joining relevant LinkedIn groups or conducting a quick search for independent reps working in the industry/territory you’re looking for.
Join entrepreneur networking organizations (like SavorTheSuccess.com or LadiesWhoLaunch.com) and share resources with existing members. Ask for sales rep recommendations and even for contacts at stores that they sell their products to.
If you need an entire brigade to fill your sales floor, then you can go beyond LinkedIn to other social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Quora. Hundreds of millions of people visit these networks regularly to communicate their message and join conversations that matter to them.
You can use market research to target specific demographics you are envisioning for your salesforce. Millennials and younger workers, for example, tend to use Instagram and SnapChat more while highly knowledgeable and opinionated professionals follow conversations on Quora.
The planet’s largest professional network is perhaps the best place to build a shortlist of potential sales hires. The site’s powerful search functions can help you find qualified (but often presently employed) sellers in your particular market niche. You can also post job ads and reach thousands of professionals who meet your standards and qualifications.
Require additional information, a portfolio if appropriate, and a cover letter. These will help you get more pertinent information on top of what’s already available in candidates’ account profiles. Moreover, these will help you gauge whether a particular candidate is really interested in your posting (i.e., less interested candidates will not bother to submit additional requirements). Having said that, be wary also of desperate job hunters who’ll do anything to get an interview.
5. Ask your professional network & customers for a reccomendation:
If you already have an existing list of customers, try asking them to recommend independent sales reps that they’ve met or worked with before. As retail buyers, they have likely worked with many independent reps over the years, and this method can be a great way to find independent sales reps that retailers already enjoy working with.
Your social and professional network covers your family and friends as well as acquaintances from grade school, the fitness club, and the workplace. Your network will likely include a number of competent sales practitioners, professionals who enjoy working with people, or individuals who are good at articulating value and convincing others to view things from a particular perspective. You can reach out to these people and probe whether some are open to working in a sales organization with you.
Don’t overlook your alumni association from high school and college, as well as the business associations and social clubs you’ve joined in the past. Also consider sales professionals who have reached out to you regarding business matters. If they’ve managed to make you sign a subscription, perhaps they’ll be good at selling your product as well.
If gleaning potential sales superstars from your network doesn’t work as planned, you can always request for referrals. Just like you, your friend or acquaintance knows somebody who works as a high-flying real estate agent or someone who has an uncanny ability at persuading people. Unless you have other options with higher odds of success, referred candidates would be worth checking out.
Remember to request for updated contact information and as much detail about the person as possible. Also, getting referrals from acquaintances who work as recruiters or sales leaders would be doubly valuable since you can assume these recommendations have been vetted more professionally.
6. Place an ad in trade publication or sales association magazine
This is a more targeted approach than the point listed above, as publications or websites dedicated to your industry or to the independent sales rep community will more likely get you connected with exactly the kind of people you’re looking for. Note, however, that there are many organizations geared toward specific industries, so be sure to do your research. Of course, in any of these scenarios, remember that despite the fact that these reps aren’t working on a salaried basis, they’re still going to be representing your brand to customers. Be sure to conduct a thorough interview process, get a good idea of their experience in the industry and the quality of their relationships with their existing customers, and seek referrals to validate what they’ve told you. Do you have any strategies for finding and hiring independent sales reps that we haven’t covered here? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.
7. Conduct campus recruitment
Leverage the good relationships you’ve built at your alma mater. For open internships at your sales organization, your old campus may just be the hunting ground you need. Go beyond your college to other academic institutions in the area if you need to create a larger talent pool.
Why is it so hard to find good sales reps?
Forward-looking enterprises with ample war chests implement aggressive recruitment and retention strategies for top sales talent. These enterprises already deploy many excellent professionals on their sales floor. Given the emerging business realities, these highly competitive companies simply couldn’t afford not to.
For one thing, businesses improve profitability by as much as 30% when they hire top-notch candidates, according to a Gallup poll. In the B2B space, moreover, corporate clients have nearly unlimited access to information about alternative products, and virtually nothing prevents them from brand-hopping at will. If your sellers lack the skills at building effective solutions and at keeping these solutions relevant throughout the customer lifecycle, then closing deals and reducing customer churn will both be very difficult. Which, as you well know, leads to diluted revenue, profit margins, and morale.
Hiring anyone just to fill the vacuum wouldn’t do, either. In fact, poor hires cost a lot more in direct and collateral damage than not hiring in the first place. A bad hire causes your team to lose a substantial amount of time, money, and energy, with some estimates placing financial loss at hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year just for one bad hiring decision.
Meanwhile, the challenges of selling as a field also cause most people to shun sales as a career option, even compelling a significant number of practitioners to shift their line of work. Either effect further trims the number of competent sales professionals in the market.
Sales recruitment is not only a challenging task, but one whose impact can create a powerful chain reaction far down the road. If you’ve hired the right people, then expect positive outcomes to pop up here and there. But if you enable bad candidates to come on board, the damage in terms of time, money, and morale can be devastating. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once claimed that bad hires cost the company $100 million.
So take sales recruitment seriously. Hire specifically for the task you need done but never discount character and motivation. Technical skills should always go hand-on-hand with attitude. For experienced roles, consider the candidate’s professional selling history, relevant training, and certifications.
Don’t settle for less. Do your homework as a diligent recruiter and the rest will follow. Remember, nothing else can move your business further than highly motivated talent.