Monday, August 16, 2010

Hire a Great Sales Professional - 1-2-3 Hiring Success

By Chris Lott Chris Lott

The sales industry as a whole has always been a transitional career move/path environment. Today it's more than ever. Managers, Owners, Presidents, and CEO's are short fused with their sales teams and sales members are looking at the proverbial "grass is greener" across all industries in defense. What I'm finding is there are plenty of qualified professionals to choose from even in a 9+ unemployment environment. My problem is how to choose the best of the best. Here's what I've learned.

Questions to ask yourself before you hire someone.
Do you know what it takes to be successful in your industry today? If not... then how do you expect a newly hired sales professional becoming successful with your organization? Will your training be relevant? Is your pricing, offering, and presentation thought out and pertinent to today's market? Are you still sales training using older techniques? If any of these questions hit home... before you invest in a new sales person make a change and give yourself and them a chance to succeed.

1. Where do you find them?

Linkedin and Facebook are my favorites with "word of mouth" or networking a close second. Having url links in your status updates to your company site/blog for more detailed information on the offering is necessary.

2. Potential personality clashes?
After looking at their resumes and LinkedIn profiles I usually have a pretty good idea if they can sell or not. My interview with them is not so much on if they can sell but more on how they'll work with me and my team. One bad apple can indeed ruin the bushel. Also, let's face it, the only way you can truly see their potential is hiring and working with them. If they're trainable and excited then I'm usually in. Also I question heavily if they are just biding time until they're personal project becomes successful. Waste of my time. Looking at all their social media accounts to see what's going on with them personally can be enlightening.

3. Compensation plans conducive to selling and staying?
A better question is how much would you work for in today's tough economy? Why would you offer the same pay plan used during a robust economy in a sour economy? Then complain because you can't keep existing talent and/or find new. Think out of the box. Create a unique plan and make sure you spell out your goals clearly. You can always change the plan later when the economy changes.

Ramp up times today are very different than they were even 2 years ago. They are longer than ever. If you're offering a salary then this is important to understand. My suggestion here is to look hard at a new employee the first 90 days. If there's no sales mojo, spark, expediency early on... cut your losses. If confirmed activity is high then that's different.

"In the modern world of business, it is useless to be a creative original thinker unless you can also sell what you create. Management cannot be expected to recognize a good idea unless it is presented to them by a good salesman." -David Ogilvy

So many times hiring the next sales person to get "feet on the street" is not thought out fully. A truly great sales person can do so much for not only the bottom line but for the company's reputation as well. Take some time and prepare and execute upon a plan and goal of hiring your next top ace sales professional.