Sales is the fuel of a business. If you are the only person who is thinking about how your business makes money, you are in trouble. It’s one thing to have product or service, but 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 don’t have time to nurture new sales or have a fear of selling, it’s time to hire your first salesperson.
Before you bring on a salesperson, you want to set yourself up for success. Here are my 5 best tips for hiring help with sales.
Know What Sales Help You Need
Before you begin the hunt, 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? How will you pay your salesperson, commission only, salary only, or some combination? The better you define the role, your needs, and your compensation structure, the more likely you are to attract sales talent.
Develop a Sales Process
You must plan for success. You should develop your sales process, if you want to hand it over to a professional salesperson. Get to know your customer. Fine tune your value proposition. Get clear on your typical sales cycles. Research when your top clients and targets budgets renew. Give options for the best ways to reach customers and targets with your marketing message?(i.e. direct mail, email, phone or social media) Identify your buyer personas, existing customers and target customers so that you can use these materials to train your new salesperson.
Start Using a CRM
You need to make sure your salesperson has tools to use to be successful. LinkedIn is good to start, but if you have existing customers for your salesperson to contact, you need an organized way to track all the communication and a CRM system is the way to go. My two favorites CRMs are Insightly.com and ZohoCRM. For more options, check out Fixyourbusiness.com
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 as well as even friends. Explain what you’re looking for, and ask for a quality referral.
When you meet with a potential salesperson, be open and honest about the condition of your business. If you are in tight situation, share it. Some salespeople thrive on a challenge. I cannot stress how important it is to find 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. 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.
Don’t rush in, conduct a trial run with your new salesperson, first. Work together for 90 days to give 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. It’s hard to hire a great salesperson, but if you get organized, set up your CRM to track their activities, make sure your new hire comes to the table with experience and ideas, you’ll get right person. The idea is to take some pressure off you, so that you can focus on growing your business, and building out the rest of the team.
Be sure to let me know how it goes once you bring on a salesperson.