A quality salesperson is vital to sales team success
This individual is responsible for generating leads and closing sales, which translates into revenue-generating activities for your organization. That’s why it’s crucial to establish a selection process that ensures you hire the best salespeople to join your team.
Here are quick tips on what you should think about when interviewing for sales:
Know what you want the individual to do.
A vague sales job description will inevitably yield vague responses. On the other hand, a detailed (and well-crafted) job posting will narrow the results you get and hasten the process of recruitment.
According to Small Business Trends, key elements of the job description include lead-generating activities, closing and post-closing responsibilities, sales administration and support. Determine whether or not the sales rep “is required to generate leads, or whether your business has a marketing machine in place to bring in leads.” Determining the kpis they will be responsible for will help determine “what skills to look for.”
Focus on key personality traits in the recruiting process.
An A-player candidate can boast of his or her experience in generating leads and closing sales, but your hiring team should also be on the lookout for “soft” skills that set these individuals apart from the pack.
For example, can they demonstrate consistency in the way they go about the sales process? Do they understand the value of prioritizing leads (warm versus cold) and where best to focus their attention and efforts? How effective are they at building relationships with prospects, and continuing those relationships even if a sale isn’t imminent?
A-players “hold themselves to a higher standard,” notes Forbes. Such top performers “also understand the importance of teamwork and community, are in tune with your company’s vision, take initiative, and put the good of the company before their own.”
Be clear about your company’s sales needs.
It might be tempting to “sell” your company to sales recruits, highlighting your status within the industry, how much better you are than the competition, etc. But this approach is self-defeating if your portrayal is inaccurate.
You can only hope to hire the best person “if you share where your company is currently (even if it’s not doing well) and where you want to take it,” writes sales expert Melinda Emerson. The goal is finding someone “who has confidence and ideas about how you can make money.”
Evaluate the candidate’s negotiating skills.
Sales isn’t a zero-sum game, where one side “takes all” and the other side walks away empty-handed. Sales is all about negotiations, so it’s critically important that the candidate for your sales position can demonstrate a record of high-level negotiating skills. Review his or her resume and then go deep in the interview process to evaluate how well the candidate does in these areas of negotiation:
- Establishing the value of a product or service in the prospect’s mind
- Understanding when to give away a value-added concessions (and when to stop)
- Knowing how to ask for something in return for a concession
- Being able to separate one’s personal emotions from a business transaction
- Being prepared to walk away if talks break down
Your objective is to seek out salespeople who have cultivated these traits and put them to use on behalf of the organization they represent.
Be prepared to put in extra time and effort in the salesperson recruitment process. That investment will tilt the odds in your favor of finding the right person to generate leads and close sales that boost your company’s growth.