As a small business owner, there is a lot on your plate. You are the marketing person, the salesperson, the bookkeeper, and the overall strategist and planner. Whew… it’s a lot! But as you begin to grow your business, you want to think about outsourcing or hiring to fill some of those duties to move them off your plate. One position to start with is sales. Let’s look at 5 steps you can take to hire your first salesperson the right way!
5 Steps to Hiring Your First Salesperson the Right Way
Sales is the bread and butter of every business. If you are the only person who is thinking about how your business makes money, you are going to find it difficult to grow.
For the products or services that you offer, you must have an organized way to generate leads, follow-up on them, close business and manage the relationship after the sales. That’s a lot of work for one busy business owner. If you are finding that you don’t have time to nurture new sales or have a fear of selling, it’s time to hire your first salesperson.
But as with any position that you outsource or hire for, you want to make sure that you do it right! A bad hire is just a waste of time and money. So, when looking for a salesperson, follow these five steps.
#1: Know What Sales Help You Need
Before you begin looking for a new salesperson, you need to decide exactly what kind of sales assistance you need. Are you looking for a salesperson who can get leads and appointments, spending a few hours selling your products or services each week? Or do you need someone full-time to sell for your organization and close deals?
Once you know exactly what you need them to do, you then need to think about how you will pay them. Will you pay them a commission, a salary, or some combination of the two?
The better you define the role, your needs, and your compensation structure, the more likely you are to attract the right type of sales talent.
#2: Develop a Sales Process
If you want to be successful, you need to plan for success. By developing your sales process, you can easily hand it over to a professional salesperson and get them running the moment you hire them.
As a part of the sales process, you need to define who your customer is and fine-tune your value proposition. You’ll also want to get crystal clear on what your typical sales cycle looks like.
Create options for the best ways to reach prospects with your marketing message (i.e. direct mail, email, phone, or social media). Finally, identify your buyer personas, existing customers and target customers so that you can use these materials to train your new salesperson and put them on a path to success.
#3: Start Using a CRM
For your new salesperson to be successful, you need to provide them the right tools. At the top of your list should be a CRM (Customer Relationship Management).
There are a number of CRM systems out there that you can use. Two of my favorite CRMs are Insightly.com and ZohoCRM. Some software, like ActiveCampaign and Keap, also allows you to do email marketing and sales management. Find the right tool for your business and that has all the functionality your salesperson needs to effectively track and follow up with leads. For more options, check out Fixyourbusiness.com
If you sell B2B (Business to Business), LinkedIn is a great social tool to use for sales. You can either reach out to potential prospects that are in your existing network or use the LinkedIn Sales Navigator tool to find more potential leads.
#4. Lean on Your Network for a Referral
I recently hired a saleswoman who was referred to me by someone in my professional network. Because our relationship started with a referral from someone who knew her well, I had a better understanding of her personality than if she had been trying to impress me in an interview.
If you don’t know of anyone who might be a good fit in your sales role, reach out to your network. That includes online contacts, other entrepreneurs, and even friends. Explain what you’re looking for and ask for a quality referral.
#5. Be Transparent
When you meet with a potential salesperson, be open and honest about the condition of your business. If you are in a tight situation, share it. Some salespeople thrive on a challenge.
Be sure to communicate your big picture vision for your business, where you want to take it. Then sit back and let him or her talk. You want to find someone who has confidence and ideas about how they can make you more money. They should have experience doing that for past employers or clients, and if they’ve already got contacts in your industry, that is a win-win.
Overall, you need to find someone who is the right fit for your business and sales goals. When you find the right individual, he or she will help you become a better salesperson, too.
When you do find that right person for the role, don’t feel as though you need to rush in. Conduct a trial run that allows you to work together for 90 days. That allows them a chance to get to know how you run things and see if they can cultivate a few new leads or sales. If you like their work, extend the offer to a permanent job or contract.
Hiring a great salesperson isn’t easy, but if you get organized, set up your CRM to track their activities, make sure they come to the table with experience and ideas, you’ll get the right person. Once they are on board and pulling in leads, the pressure is off you and you can focus on growing your business and building out the rest of the team.
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