Today’s post is by Ben Gold, president of QuickBridge.
Hiring the right employees is central to the success of a business. Regardless of products or service features and benefits, without the right team, your growth will not be maximized. But remember: Hiring always presents a degree of risk. When the goal is hiring a sales representative, the stakes are especially high.
Challenges Hiring Top Sales Talent
When it comes to hiring the right employees, especially salespeople, it can be extremely challenging – particularly for small business, which make up more than 99.5 percent of employer firms in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration.
There are several industries that require and benefit from a strong sales team, including real estate broker agencies, advertising firms, and manufacturing companies. Salespeople are hired to help a business grow by increasing its sales and revenue. Unfortunately, hiring any good employee is becoming exceedingly difficult. According to business owners polled by CareerBuilder, the typical job opening in 2017 remained unfilled for 12 weeks or longer. The reason? They were unable to find the right person.
Even when businesses find and hire high-performing salespeople, there’s no guarantee they will stay on board. According to a recent report from the ADP Research Institute, an average of 5 percent of workers leave their jobs within a given month. So how can you hire the right salespeople and retain them? Consider the tips below.
Tip #1: Identify important traits.
Minimize turnover and increase employee productivity by hiring salespeople with the right traits. Sales departments need employees who possess good oral and written communication skills – which help them effectively handle meetings, phone calls, and emails with current and potential customers. The best salespeople believe in their company’s products and services and are passionate and determined. A great salesperson can connect with a wide range of personalities and is aware of your customers’ needs and objectives.
Tip #2: Assess their past sales performance or experience.
Unless you are hiring someone with no prior sales experience, focus on their previous sales performance. Look for indications that the candidate excels at what he or she does, as evidenced by awards, certificates, or honorary titles. While previous industry experience is usually a requirement, it’s important to determine what kind of experience is relevant to the role for which you are hiring. Hiring good salespeople requires certainty that the person you are hiring can fulfill the requirements of the specific sales role in question.
Tip #3: Boost engagement and motivation.
Once you have established your strategy for hiring good salespeople, plan to keep new employees motivated to increase retention. According to a poll by Robert Half, the average full-time employee disengages for roughly two hours during the typical workday. How can you keep your sales employees engaged and motivated? Benefits are big. Nearly 40 percent of respondents pointed to perks – such as food or on-site exercise amenities – as motivational sources. Other ways to encourage employees include offering positive reinforcements and financial incentives.
Tip #4: Help new salespeople achieve their goals.
Clear and attainable goals allow your sales employees to strive for greatness and measure their progress along the way. Encourage your salespeople with support and incentives. Keep in mind, though: Your idea of progress and that of your employees may be different. Take note of what your employees do well, where they have shown growth, and what their end goals are – which may be to maintain their current positions. In other words, if they are content in their current roles and performing well, don’t assume they’d like to develop into a position that carries more responsibility, such as management.
Hiring good salespeople is just the first step. Retention efforts are just as vital, so ensure you have the necessary cash flow to make payroll on time – or select the company benefit packages your employees want.