Hiring Your First Sales Team to Support Your Growing Business
Let’s start with a simple but powerful truth – you won’t be “hiring” a sales team, you will be “building” one from the ground up. As the founder of your business, you are the primary sales rep of your company, regardless of your personal skill set or comfort level with sales. Further, any sales people you do take on will take their lead from you. As such, here are the critical considerations to make when creating a sales team for the first time.
Hiring sales reps won’t automatically net you new clients or sales. Even if you hire the most experienced reps, they will be working off of any sales processes you already have up and running. Essentially, to create a sales team, you need to set up a working sales process. How do you do that? And what if you’re terrible at sales?
You’ve probably sold your product or service to several clients at this point, so you have a rough sales process already. It’s okay if it’s not special or perfect. You just need to structure what you do have – set up a playbook and some rough scripts to hand to your new sales team. Address why your product is good, what pain points it addresses, and how you usually win your clients’ trust. The reps’ job will be to improve this foundation over time, but they need input from you to begin.
Forget the best for now
Yes, every employer wants to hire the best – but the best costs big money, especially when it’s sales. As a budding business, you have to be savvy about where you spend capital. As such, you may want to pick up hustlers with less experience but a great deal of drive, ambition, and a thirst to prove themselves. Some other key traits to look for include charisma, the ability to handle rejection, stellar communication skills, and a result-oriented nature.
Turnover in sales is especially high, Harvard Business Review says – almost twice that of other jobs. A primary reason for this is companies end up hiring people with the wrong profile – or are unclear about the profile they need to begin with. Losing a sales rep a few months in will cost you dearly. That’s why you might want to be slow and careful when you do hire – wait for the right people to show up and interview them thoroughly. And when you do find capable people, train them and consider it a long-term investment. It will pay rich dividends in the long run.
Start off small
It’s a good idea to start your new sales department off with just a couple of sales reps as opposed to an entire team. That way, you’ll have a chance to experiment and see what sales strategies work without overspending. Further, you’ll be able to evaluate their performance individually, run comparisons, and figure out who’s a good hire and who isn’t (if applicable). Hiring a single rep may not give you adequate data, and being alone may hobble their performance. A team of two allows room for healthy competition as well as collaboration.
You can also think small in terms of your marketing. Instead of spending a lot of money right from the jump, consider using free online tools to help you put together an attractive, cost-cutting campaign. For example, use an online flyer maker to design flyers to hand out locally or in your community. Once you’ve established a grassroots approach to marketing, you can begin to scale it as your business grows.
Be specific with goals
Hand your new sales reps a list of goals you’d like them to achieve. As Chorus can tell you, “sell more” and “do it faster” isn’t enough. You need to set concrete goals such as a minor percentage increase in monthly revenue, more products sold or subscriptions sold, and an uptick in customer lifetime value.
You’ll have to benchmark various metrics to measure the performance of your new sales team, which is best done with a specialized accounting app. Be aware that benchmarking will involve demanding flexible features from your accounting app – such as customized cash flow forecasting and invoice and transaction management. Fortunately these days, apps can be tailored to your unique needs.
Like any other business-related process, sales is a long-term endeavor that requires constant refinement. Learn from the best, be on top of the latest sales and marketing trends, set goals, see where you’re falling short, and keep making improvements to succeed.
Looking to purchase an established business? Get in touch with Ivan Lilov today. Call 813-215-6801.
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