No matter what industry you’re in, hiring the right sales team matters. And although the details look different for every business, there are some golden rules to follow. Here’s what to keep in mind.
April 5, 2022
A poor, ineffective sales team wastes your time and leaves money on the table.
Whereas an A-Class team leverages your momentum and drives huge growth.
This makes learning how to hire a sales team one of the most important skills you’ll ever own. The problem is, few people know how to hire a sales team—at least not one that actually gets the job done!
No matter what industry you’re in, hiring the “right” sales team matters. And although the details look different for every business, there are some golden rules to follow. That’s what you’ll learn here, as we share these Golden Rules that set you up for huge growth.
Many business owners struggle to hire a sales team because they don’t appreciate what goes into the entire process. Here at The Sales Connection, we do. This is our world. We’ve built effective sales teams from the ground up time after time. It isn’t easy, but it is possible if you know what you’re doing.
Grab your pen and notebook and let us show you how it’s done.
The rules we’re about to share with you… take note! Each time you think about hiring or growing your sales team, revisit these. They will save you time. They will make you money. They will help you achieve your goals and hit your targets!
Let’s dive in, starting with arguably the most important step...
The question you first need to ask is… how do we currently sell?
Even if that’s currently done by you, take a step back and analyze:
Each business differs, including yours. What works for some may not work for you. So although there are rules and guidelines to follow, YOU have to hire a sales team on your own terms. This begins by getting a clear picture of how you currently do it—so you can leverage your strengths and fill in any gaps.
Don’t overcomplicate this. Simply perform an honest review of your current sales process (even if the only person selling is you). Speak to your existing clients. Speak to other members of your team. The clearer you are on where you are, the easier it is to hire the “right” sales team.
Once you better understand your existing sales process, the next step is to define who you need and what role they will do.
There are two parts:
The last thing you want is to hire a sales team full of quarterbacks. You need unique traits and talents for different roles of the process. We dive into this in more detail in these separate articles:
It’s important to know the difference between these different roles and highlight what you need (and when you need them). Beyond this, you have to think about what each individual role requires. Not just in terms of skills, but how they’ll fit into your company's culture.
Just as you build a Customer Avatar, you need to do the same with your team members. You need to appreciate who they are and what they bring to the table. They need to fit into your longer-term goals and vision for the business. Each role requires a different unique skill set, and it’s your job to define what these are now BEFORE you hire them.
Let’s get this clear now… hiring a sales team *can* be very costly if you don’t get it right. It’s suggested the annual turnover of Salespeople in the U.S. runs as high as 27%. Hiring… training… onboarding… It all takes time and money.
The last thing you want to do is hire someone for the short term. To hire a sales team is to focus on the long-term—where you need to be now, and where you would like to be in six months, one year, three years time...
In short, DO NOT rush this process. Take your time. Not just when hiring, but when planning to hire.
This isn’t a short-term fix. If that’s how you see building a sales team, you’ll fail.
Something else to get clear on before we move forward… Closers aren’t the be-all-and-end-all!
Don’t get me wrong, a high-performing sales team needs A-Class Closers.
Yet a closer only plays a single role in the process. There’s more to consider.
We focus on this in a few other articles, such as this one that compares Sales Reps to Sales Professionals, and those that focus on building a Virtual Sales Team and Inbound Sales Team.
This is why it’s important to understand what your business needs. Every situation is different (trust us, we’ve seen this firsthand when we work with our clients). And sure, most successful businesses do need a few talented closers. But, what I can assure you 100% is that you don’t need a team full of them.
If you want to thrive in today’s fast-paced world, you need a sales team that keeps up with the times. Of course, having those essential sales skills is the most important thing to look for. Yet you also need to build a team that brings more than the essentials to the table:
Hiring a sales team today is different than it was ten, twenty, or thirty years ago. These days, the most successful salespeople are more than salespeople. They’re ready to adapt. They embrace it. Like you, they see the “big picture” — not focusing on where their next commission comes from.
If you want to hire a sales team that lasts, you need to build one full of high-performers.
By the time you think you’re ready to advertise your roles and perform interviews, take a step back and first reach out to your existing team (and network of peers, collaborators, mentors, and friends).
Where possible, start there.
It isn’t that you can’t find great salespeople through job boards and paid posts. You can, as we discuss in Where To Hire a Sales Team (be sure to bookmark and study this article in full!!).
Yet this quickly becomes a costly process if you get it wrong. As with most things in life, it’s better to have proof before you begin. A referral doesn’t offer any guarantees, but it’s often the safer bet.
So, before you get started, make a list of those you know that may know the perfect candidate. Reach out to them. Ask about anyone who comes to mind. Reward them for sending the “right” person your way. The more you look after your existing team and network, the easier you’ll find hiring your sales team.
This one may sound obvious, but it’s insane how many people think they can hire a sales team on the cheap. Again, this comes down to the type of role(s) you’re looking for. Some sales roles are cheaper than others, but trust me when I say… you get what you pay for.
The best salespeople are in demand.
If you want them, you need to competitively compensate them.
Get creative. Think about how you can provide unique, interesting, and enticing bonuses and incentives. Stand out for the right reasons. You’re competing for these talented salespeople, remember. They are in demand. They’re wanted. They do not have to say yes to you.
And if you do come across a salesperson willing to take less, ask yourself… why?
A clear red flag in our experience. The best know their worth. They’re the best for a reason!
Do not underestimate this final golden rule. When you start to hire a sales team, you make a commitment to lead from the front. In time, you may pass on this responsibility. But right now, it’s on you.
You need to set clear expectations, both in the short and long term. Once more, this is not a quick fix. If you see building a sales team as a short-term exercise, you WILL fail. Keep that “big picture” in mind.
More importantly, make sure those on your sales team appreciate what this “big picture” is.
This article is one of a series we’ve created to show you how to hire a sales team. It covers some of the golden rules you need to follow, but there’s so much more to dive into:
Each of these articles focuses on a specific part of the process. If you want to hire a sales team that not only succeeds but grows with your business, bookmark these articles to study later!!
As a business owner, you desire growth. You already know ‘sales’ plays a large role in this—arguably the most important role. So, you want to hire a sales team that moves you to the next level.
As you now know, this isn’t as simple as you might think.
There’s the short term to think about… but also the long term.
These days, a successful salesperson does more than just sell. They’re not built in the same way as those in the Mad-Men era were. Embrace this, because there’s some serious talent out there. We know this firsthand because we’ve worked with them. We’ve built sales teams and seen the massive impact they can have. And it’s these Golden Rules that continue to drive us forward.
If you’d like to learn more about how we do (and how we can help you), Apply To Partner with US now!
Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.