So you want to hire a salesperson, without having to fire him during the trial period. But what kind of a salesperson? What competences and characteristics should they have? What level of experience?
In this article, I will show you where you should start the recruitment process and how to prepare for it in order to:
- not waste time and money interviewing the wrong candidates
- not employ the wrong person who won’t be able to meet the company’s needs and goals
- hire someone who fits into the company’s organizational culture
- hire someone who will strengthen your team and earn money for the company
Before you start recruiting a salesman, you need to think about the vision of your sales department’s future. Think about the place where your business is and the place where you want to strive. Answer these questions:
- What is the goal of revenue and profitability in the coming year?
- What role should the sales representative play in achieving this goal?
- What is the company’s sales target?
- How do we want to achieve this goal? By what means?
- What competencies are needed to achieve this goal?
- What competencies do our employees have and what are they missing?
Write down your answers.
Then think about what kind of a salesperson you need and what format has the best chances of achieving your goals. Prepare a plan that will set the direction of the company’s development and, above all, define for yourself you who you need the most to achieve the assumed goal.
Prepare the job description
Next you need to create a job description. The job description should include information such as:
- Scope of duties (What will be the main tasks and duties of the employee? What areas will they be responsible for?)
- Required competences (What skills should the employee have? What can they do? Is it junior or senior position and why?)
- Position in the company structure (Who will be the employee’s manager? Who should they report to?)
- Development path (Is it possible to be promoted or retrained? What competences will they gain while working in the company?)
Create an ideal candidate profile
The next step is to create the perfect candidate profile. It must be closely related to the company’s sales strategy, which we discussed in the first point of the article, and the job description. Include in it all the desired competencies, skills, experience, as well as personality traits.
When employing a salesman who will be responsible for field sales, you will focus mainly on their previous experience in this type of work and the skills of effective organization of their own time.
When employing a Sales Director, competences regarding strategy creation and enforcement, as well as team management skills will be important. In turn, if you are looking for a pre-sales, previous work experience will probably not be as important, but communication skills, knowledge of foreign languages, and the will and ability to learn quickly — will.
The profile of the perfect candidate will reflect what you will be looking for in the received resumes.
Prepare an attractive job offer
Times are changing, and good salespeople rarely have to fight hard to be employed. Often they are the ones to set the conditions, and companies interested in their employment have to work hard and stand out from the competition. Your job offer is a business card of the company and often the first point of contact of a potential employee in which he decides whether he wants to participate in the recruitment process or not. A lot of companies forget about it.
Pay close attention to ads. The job advertisement should be specific and present the most important information about the job, such as: the most important tasks, challenges, goals, requirements, remuneration offered (if you offer a sales commission — divide the salary into two parts), benefits. Avoid expressions such as “working in a young and dynamic team” and present what makes you different from your competition. That could be, for example, large and ambitious projects, of which you have case studies or awards in industry competitions.
Search through all your contacts
There are many ways to look for candidates. You should try as many of them as possible to be sure that your ideal candidate won’t miss your advertisement.
However, no way is more effective and more cost-effective than a candidate’s recommendation from friends. Ask your colleagues about friends with similar professional profile or post on LinkedIn who you’re looking for and ask for shares. You will certainly get some contacts that are worth paying attention to. Based on our experience in the team, I can say that candidates from recommendations are more often invited to interviews than applicants from popular job boards.
Prepare a recruitment task
In order to save time on meeting candidates who have lower competences than would appear from the CV, it is worth preparing an initial recruitment task. This task will allow you to “sift the grain from the chaff” and meet only those who have the potential to become your employees for a time longer than the trial period.
Often, it turns out that some people simply ignore the task or prepare it very poorly. The recruitment task may be to conduct an initial, simulated business conversation or to indicate errors or ways to optimize the presented sales process. In some instances, it is worth giving the candidate a specific task that will bring value to your business. Of course, in this case, don’t forget to determine the appropriate remuneration for the candidate.
In addition to competences, the recruitment task will also help you verify the potential candidate’s thinking, problem solving or knowledge transfer skills.
Don’t run the interviews alone
One person will never pick up all the details from the conversation, and in addition may have a skewed perception of individual elements of the talk — especially if the recruiter is not an experienced salesman. To mitigate this type of risk, it is worth running the process by people with different competencies and professional experience who are able to look at the candidate from many perspectives.
If you need to hire a salesman whose competence you are not able to check, you should definitely use recruitment tasks, help from industry colleagues or consider support from external consultants.
For example, when we recruit sales consultants in Casbeg, the recruitment process consists of at least 2 stages and includes up to 3 people. The first is attended by two people: the team leader and an expert in the area for which the recruitment is conducted to verify the candidate in terms of his knowledge and skills. At the second stage, in turn, there is a meeting with Bartek Majewski, Casbeg’s CEO, to verify whether the personality profile of the candidate fits into the company’s organizational culture.
In this way, apart from checking competences, we minimize the risk that the employee doesn’t fit into the character and profile of the company. This is because we have high standards in relation to the people we employ. You should also set the bar high.
If you want to recruit a salesman, you need to think deeply about what kind of an employee you need. This is important because companies very often hire employees who either don’t pay back or are unable to help in achieving the marketing goal and, consequently, the business goal of the company. Then the key is the profile of the sought candidate and how to find him, and finally — the recruitment interview, which should be analyzed from different perspectives. With this model, you’ll increase the likelihood that you will hire a good salesman with whom you will achieve your goals.