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How to Hire Great Salespeople: 12 Tips for Recruiting Outstanding Talent

Forrest Marketing Group Blog blog

How to Hire Great Salespeople: 12 Tips for Recruiting Outstanding Talent

Hiring new salespeople is never easy, but it’s an essential part of growing your business. You want to find people with the right skills but also the right personality to fit well into your company culture. It’s not enough to hire someone with a sales background; you need to make sure you’re hiring the best talent around to help your business hit targets, thrive and grow.

To help guide you on a process we’ve benefited from here are our top tips for hiring great salespeople:

  1. Ensure a consistent and straightforward process for interviewing all applicants:

A level playing field will help you best recognise the outstanding candidates from those that would struggle if you hired them into the role. That means putting everyone at ease and giving them the space to express themselves and the opportunity to respond to challenging questions.

  1. Ask behavioural-based questions:

Behavioural-based questions lead to specific responses about how they would handle certain situations. This will help you better to understand their personality type and natural communication style and reveals how they’d handle your clients and their teammates in potentially challenging situations.

  1. Take a multi-pronged approach:

Ask more than one person on your team to interview each applicant so you get different perspectives on the same individual and get a good idea of how they’ll fit into your existing team and the wider organisation.

  1. Look out for the enquiring minds:

Right from the start of an interview, you should tell if someone is genuinely interested in your company and role, don’t waste time with those who aren’t keen or don’t seem invested. If someone seems disinterested, how can you be sure they’ll bring enthusiasm to their client conversations?

  1. Can they sell themselves:

Don’t forget that it’s not just about what they know but how well they can articulate their knowledge and sell themselves too. If they quickly find common ground with you and put you at ease, that brand of easy communication is a valuable sales skill.

  1. Remember: It’s not just about the skills and experience:

When you’re hiring salespeople, it should be a total package deal that includes personality traits such as empathy and patience, confidence without cockiness or arrogance, as well as creativity and problem-solving. The ability and willingness to learn on the job are valuable traits. If they don’t have a specific skill, are they are open to understanding and learning? Nothing beats a strong work ethic and ambition. You want someone who will go above and beyond because that’s what salespeople do every day.

  1. A positive attitude speaks volumes:

You can upskill enthusiastic and cheerful people with time and training, but it’s hard to fix a bad attitude or someone who’s not interested in being a fair team player. And while healthy competition is a great motivator, underhand and dishonest actions of just one person can undermine your entire team’s efforts.

  1. Have they got relevant sales experience or the right experience for your industry: 

It can be tempting to hire someone with an extensive background or strong qualifications, but that doesn’t always translate into success in your business. While some skills are highly transferable, success in some sales areas is hard to replicate in others. For example, if a salesperson was used to handling just one specific part of the sale, with zero administrative burdens, how well will they adapt to using your tools and meeting your standards for your CRM?

  1. Help candidates visualise the role and working for you:

This is where a lot of hiring managers and sales leaders make mistakes. They don’t take the time to ask revealing questions and communicate what ‘a day in the life’ would be like for the candidate if they joined your business.

  1. Investigate their resilience:

Ask them to describe the types of conversations they’ve had and how those have gone. Ask them about previous experiences managing difficult customer situations as well. The responses will be revealing not just in terms of their chosen anecdotes but in how they deal with the challenge you’ve set. If they’re calm and engaging under pressure, it’s a sure sign they’ll be the same with the customer.

  1. Set a task:

Set candidates a sales exercise to prepare and complete as part of their interview process.  Look for how they have prepared, how engaging was their presentation and did they sell you.  A role play/presentation type exercise like these reveal talents and skills (or a lack of) that you wouldn’t normally see and can be a great way to separate the stars from the pack.

  1. Effective onboarding makes all the difference:

Without effective onboarding, 40% of sales executives hired at a senior level won’t make it through their first 18 months. A thorough onboarding programme that promotes understanding of roles and responsibilities, organisational knowledge and immersion in a company’s culture and values leads to higher jobs satisfaction, better performance and lower attrition.

To summarise, the best salespeople have a deep understanding of their industry and the people they are selling to. They can quickly identify problems, assess needs, and create solutions to solve those problems for a company. It’s important to remember these qualities when hiring new talent; find someone who has both natural ability and an eagerness to learn more about what you do and someone who can build rapport with you in the space of an interview and you’ll be on the right track.

If you’re unsure whether to hire internally or outsource your sales function, we are always happy to advise. Get in touch by calling 1300 396 888 or sending us an email at Forrest Contact offers a full range of contact centre services across Australia including telemarketing, lead generation, appointment setting, inbound and outbound customer service, customer engagement and outsourced sales solutions.