Hiring sales reps with skills and talent for your team is absolutely critical to your business' success, particularly when you're still a small team as each person can have a big effect on team dynamics, morale, and culture.
But hiring great sales reps is also incredibly challenging, particularly since plenty of sales professionals have mastered the art of the interview better than they've mastered the art of closing prospects. So how do you hire great sales reps instead of someone who happens to excel at landing job offers?
We talked with Jordan Wan, CEO of CloserIQ, and he gave us some great advice for finding the right sales reps. Jordan is his team help sales reps discover the best career opportunities with early-stage VC-backed startups.
1) Don't spend too much time with job candidates on phone screenings
Phone screenings are an important step in any hiring process. And sales professionals need to be able to present themselves extremely well over the phone, maybe more than anyone. Quickly building rapport over the phone is a core skill for the job. But there's only so much you can learn about a candidate on the phone, so phone calls alone will not determine how you hire excellent sales reps. Get a sense of whether the person is in the ballpark of what you're looking for and move on.
2) Clearly identify what sales skills and type of sales rep you need to hire
Look around at the team you have. What's missing? Identifying the gaps you need to fill, and clearly defining the role that will fill them might be two of the most important steps you can take before hiring someone. If you don't know exactly what you're looking for, how will you know when you've found it?
3) Act quickly to hire top sales reps
Like it or not, the market for talent is very competitive, especially in high-growth areas like SaaS. Too many companies operate as if they are in an employer's market when the opposite is actually true. Talented sales people have a lot of options open to them when they're looking for a new role. If you have identified someone who can help your company, move quickly toward an offer or risk losing that person to a competitor.
4) Focus on the near term for sales success
You're hiring for an immediate need, so screen for and hire the skills that are going to be the most useful over the next 3-6 months. Don't get hung up on whether a candidate has what it takes to transition into a hypothetical role that might materialize in another year or two. Face those decisions if and when they come. For now, optimize for the KPIs this hire will be responsible for delivering on day one.
5) Weed out obvious sales rep red flags
Candidates should be doing basic research on your company and market position and any shared connections. After all, you'll be expecting them to do exactly the same thing, many times over every day on the job. Don't hire candidates who ask basic questions that could be easily answered by Siri. On the other hand, some sales people can convince you (and themselves) that they're the right fit for a role when in fact they're not. Look out for feigned enthusiasm.
Looking to hire a salesperson? CloserIQ can help.
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This post was brought to you by PersistIQ. Our software empowers salespeople to easily convert prospects into a qualified pipeline and create personalized outbound campaigns at scale. See how PersistIQ can help you make your own sales efforts more effective today.