Hiring is a non-revenue generating activity and the complexities of it cause some people to dislike the process overall, but it is essential for long-term success and must be done properly to have a business full of capable, productive employees. Building a business in just about every industry will involve hiring salespeople. This can be a little trickier than hiring people for other types of roles that are more quantitative (legal, medical, engineering, etc) because sales positions are generally more qualitative. Here are some things to know when it comes to hiring salespeople.
Getting a sense of how well a salesperson performed in their previous position can be difficult because of the nature of a salesperson: they’re going to paint the most rosy, best picture possible of the product (in this case themselves) for the would-be customer (in this case, the hiring company). To gain as much detail as possible, HR experts recommend asking questions about the type of training they enjoy the most, how competitive they are, and how they take ownership in learning the details of the sales funnel they are a part of.
Sales is one of those roles where the need to constantly refine your craft and improve is vitally important. While most salespeople do this themselves automatically sometimes there are company-wide initiatives or other situations where the training on how to improve selling techniques will come from elsewhere. This is where hiring salespeople who are good at receiving coaching comes in very handy. These types of people always focus on the mission or goal before them and put it at a higher priority than the comfort of doing things “the ways that have worked before.”
Determination is a difficult characteristic to screen for when hiring salespeople but HR experts say it is very important. Asking a candidate about situations where they overcame adversity or surpassed a sales goal will give an interviewer insight into how much determination the candidate has. Without determination a salesperson may give up after an initial “no” from a potential customer.
Some companies contract with staffing or recruiting agencies to staff sales positions because of how nuanced the process is. Most staffing agencies have more experience with the hiring process than the average HR department and some even specialize in hiring for specific types of job roles, such as sales. Because staffing agencies typically have a pool of candidates available at all times, contracting with one helps reduce the time a position is vacant, which if it’s a sales position could be a recurring situation due to the high turnover of such positions.