Here’s a fact – not having the best sales team will hamper your business growth and survival.
Sales are to businesses, like water is to a fish – without sales, businesses will flounder and diminish. Despite living in a near digital world where people think sales only happen online, the reality is that for B2B and partnership business development, we still need lead generation, pre and after sales, business development, sales and account management specialists to meet with potential and existing customers (either in person or remotely), understand their pain points, demonstrate products and services, negotiate and close the sale.
The role of business development, sales and account management has changed significantly over the past few years and is now about selling value rather than features and benefits.
This requires a more dynamic skill set and characteristics that revolve around commercial acumen, soft skills and emotional intelligence. Regardless of the industry or career level, understanding the sales process and building long-term customer relationships are two incredibly important skills to have in sales and business development.
Achieving sales success goes far beyond only one factor – it requires visionary leadership, a product or service that is relevant and a strong go-to-market strategy and most importantly the right talent to gain and retain customers.
4 questions to assess what type of experienced sales team you need to hire:
#1 Does your sales team find it easy to talk to your potential customers? Sales does not come entirely from luck. It requires being in front of the right person at the right time and knowing that your target market needs your products and services. Salespeople today struggle to get an appointment with the growing reluctance of potential clients to talk over the telephone or meet in person.
#2 How much revenue are you getting from up and cross-selling? Strong account management involves using strategies to increase sales through regular contact with existing clients. Equally, you are able to create an opportunity for your target market to buy your products and services to help their business.
#3 How much discount are they agreeing to? Effective negotiation skills enable the salesperson to uphold the price and sell to a customer based on value. Ultimately, the clients are in the market to buy something that is important to them.
#4 How effective is their consultative selling? Today’s sales is about listening and providing a solution based on needs. It is no longer about selling features and benefits. This requires excellent listening and empathetic skills.
If the above questions have raised a concern and you can relate to any of the above, the following 9 tips will help you recruit the right salespeople.
By structuring your recruitment and interview processes and asking the right questions you can discover so much about a candidate’s experience, skills, success and failure track record and personality. This will narrow down the probability to hiring the wrong candidates.
#1 Implement a sales recruitment strategy– analyze your business needs, determine the best recruitment methods to source candidates, provide the most competitive salary to attract and retain high calibre candidates.
#2 Create a strong employer brand – high calibre candidates will want to be associated with quality products, services and brand names. Your organization will need to sell itself as much as the candidates must sell their own sales skills to you as a potential employer.
#3 Add diversity to your team – a variety of skills, knowledge, experiences and cultures are important to improve employee productivity and engagement. It also attracts a bigger pool of candidates and gives the organization a better choice of candidates.
#4 Identify whether you need a hunter, farmer or account manager – this is related to your sales plan. Having a well-defined sales plan and target market means that you will you know exactly what capabilities, skills and characteristics you are recruiting for to maintain and grow revenue.
#5 Offer the right package – in the highly competitive of sales, it is crucial to offer the right salary and incentives to attract high-performing salespeople. After all, you get what you pay for.
#6 Ask behavioral based questions as these encourage a candidate to demonstrate their experience in sales planning and processes. Also, ask them to define what success is to them. The validate what the candidate tells you as we know an interview is all about someone selling themselves!
#7 Thoroughly investigate why they are available immediately – do not fall into the trap of hiring a candidate just because they are able to join you immediately or are already in their notice period. One of the reasons why they could be available is because they have been terminated for underperformance. Often sales candidates that are in their notice period are generally in on “garden leave”.
#8 Do your due diligence to find out the real reason they are not working – trust your instincts if something does not feel right. You are making a significant investment, not only in financial terms and you want to safeguard your company’s reputation.
#9 Implement a 60-day onboarding process – define what the plan is for a new hire. How will you measure their contribution and assess whether they are hitting the ground, asking for help when required and starting to win new business.
To build a strong sales organization, it is crucial to have sales professionals who can meet and exceed targets, handle objections and rejection, negotiate skillfully and be persistent without being offensive.
As I always say, recruit salespeople who want to sell – with this mindset they will do whatever it takes to be successful.
Ready to start hiring the right candidate? If you require guidance on any aspect of developing a recruitment strategy or hiring high performance candidates, contact us or call +971 552 167 567 and we’ll partner with you to grow your sales team.
Deepa Sud is the founder of Plum Jobs, a Dubai based boutique consultancy where she works with CEOs, business owners and leadership teams to define corporate vision and strategy, transform operating models and overcome people and hiring challenges.
Through a global HR career at Board and senior executive level that spans across multiple FTSE 250 organizations in EMEA, APAC and America, Deepa has a visionary and pragmatic approach with expertise in leading business transformation and turnaround through strategic talent management and leadership development to accelerate long-term growth and sustainability.