How to hire good sales staff?

Whether you sell software, shoes, or soda, dealing with fierce competition is a reality in every market. That’s just how the market works today. If you’re selling software, for example, you can stand out for a while by offering unprecedented features (at least for a while, before everyone else starts offering it too).

What can give you the competitive edge that puts you above the competition, though, is a lot more about people than it is about products. Having well trained, attentive sales staff may be the “make it or break it” factor for your business. This is why:

The importance of the sales staff

Let’s face it, even if you offer a product/service that’s miles ahead of the competition when it comes to quality and price, if you don’t have qualified and well capacitated sales staff to actually sell those goods nobody will ever be able to find out!

We’re here today to tell you some of the things you need to know when hiring you sales staff and ultimately building a strong, competitive sales team.

The first step of this knowledge journey is identifying what your ideal sales representative looks like. What do they know, how do they talk, etc.

Once you set these ground rules straight, your route to finding good sales people will be fairly simple. Of course, once you know what you’re looking for, everything’s easier.

The most important step here is to get your sales staff not only to check all the pre requisite boxes of your interview, but also make sure those people are right for the job from the start. The cost of hiring and training new employees is high enough for you not to take unnecessary risks.

What to look for in good sales staff:

To ensure you always hire people you can actually trust to do the job and achieve sales goals, make sure you look for the following criteria when shopping for sales staff:

Charisma: Are they open and friendly? Charisma, amongst other people skills, is a must in the sales game!

Honesty: Nobody wants to hire some fork-tongued sales monster that ropes people into contracts they can never deal with. This is why you must make sure you only hire people with a long track of honesty;

Experience: As a rule, always look for a track record in sales. This is not an unbreakable rule, though. Every once in a while you may come across a golden child who seems right for the role even without any experience. Most of the time, this is a gamble worth taking but always be careful;

Determination: Sales experts should never (easily) take no for an answer. Make sure your choice of sales staff know how to properly explore each opportunity to its maximum before giving up.

Identifying a good member for your sales staff goes beyond the characteristics above, though. Being safe normally pays off, so make sure you test the candidates for yourself to assess what kind of person you’re taking into your team.

Here are a few tips that may help you assess the candidate’s character during the interviews/hiring process:

1- At the interview: Try to go beyond the standard textbook interview questions – mix it up! Don’t let candidates feel as if they are in some kind of standard interview. Try to see the human aspects of the person sitting right in from of you other than the trained script they came prepared with;

2- Do a quick research about what sales people in your industry typically need to be successful. Regardless of what you sell, you’re almost certainly going to find good information and some good free advice available.

3- Use what you’ve learned from your research. Create a unique set of questions and challenges for the interview that’ll assess each candidate’s overall readiness for work;

4- Create a template in your mind: What does the ideal sales rep looks like? Be realistic about your expectations and use that ‘template’ as a standard to which you’ll compare each candidate for your sales staff to.

Setting these standards will help you identify and pick the right people for your sales staff without having to go through expensive staff replacements!

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Written by Isabelle Salemme, Product content manager at Pipefy. She uses her extensive Pipefy knowledge to write informative pieces teaching users to make the best of Pipefy. Besides being responsible for all product-related content, she's an avid reader, a coffee lover and a professional photographer.