When it comes to building a sales team, I am like one of those fanatical people on the side of the road trying to convince anyone who will listen! Hiring one good sales executive has the potential to double your revenue for many small business owners. And yet, so many people don’t do it because they just don’t know where to start.
I’ve compiled some resources to get you started to finding the sales executives of your dreams!
1. Set up a commission based pay scale. You may be thinking, “No one wants to work on commission.” But trust me when I tell you this. No good sales executive wants to work on salary. The good ones know that they make the most money on commission and they want it. Sure they would like to have a baseline salary while they get their feet wet. But if this is your first sales person, or your first real sales person, (having your bff make calls for you doesn’t count) then you need to protect your company’s bottom line. Set up a commission structure.
2. Determine if you will have an employee or an independent contractor. Read the rules (https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/independent-contractor-self-employed-or-employee) before you set the job description. I prefer to have my sales team be independent contractors. I also prefer that my sales team be doing sales for other companies. I find that sales people love a new challenge, and they tend to get bored quickly. When they have their hand in some other pots, they tend to stay longer. I know other business owners that want their team members 100% focused on working with them. They want to set the hours, and control the process. That would not fit into the definition of an independent contractor.
3. Here are my favorite places to post sales executive positions. We get the best resumes and most engagement from these sites.
www.ziprecruiter.com (we tend to find more entry level sales executives on this one.)
4. Give case studies during the interview. Sales people are good at making themselves sound amazing! You want someone that doesn’t just talk big. You want a sales executive that can really close deals. And then on top of that, you want someone that will represent your brand as you would. Give them examples of real clients and what their concerns were and role play with them to see what they would say to those prospective clients.
5. Check references every single time. I had a friend reach out to me for a reference check. The person had a great interview with her. She really liked the guy. He used me as a reference. Everything looked good. Until she called me and I had to tell her that he was a great guy and while we all liked him, that unless he had more recent references saying that he had learned to sell in the last couple of years, I wouldn’t hire him. He had spent 4 months on a previous sales team I’d led and had not closed a single deal. You never know what you are going to find out until you call the references! The most recent addition to my sales team gave me about 7 references and I reached out to every single one. It didn’t just give me peace of mind that she would do well on our team, it also helped me understand her work style and how to help her be successful inside my system. References are valuable!
6. Make sure you have a system for your sales executive to follow. Great sales people are hungry to close deals. They don’t want to build your systems or write your scripts for you. They just want to come in, hit the phones, and close deals!
At the beginning of the article I mentioned that hiring one good sales person could potentially double your revenue. In case you still aren’t sold, let me give you my numbers. My second year of business, I experienced a 400% increase from the first year. I made two changes to my business that year. I hired a marketing assistant, and I built a sales team. I guarantee you will have some less than amazing hires. That is okay. It’s a learning experience. You will grow through the process and your next hire will be even better.