Tips for hiring great salespeople

Hiring the best salespeople requires some unique additions to the normal talent acquisition process.

Salespeople play a critical role in companies across the modern economy.

At their best, these motivated, energized professionals can make real connections with prospects and existing customers, knowledgeably and enthusiastically explaining why your organization's products or services are a perfect fit for their needs. It's no surprise that hiring salespeople that can consistently perform at a high level is a top objective for many businesses.

"I seek someone with a true, genuine, and honest personality, who knows the persistence and hard work required for the role," says Courtney Blaylock, Director, National and Strategic Accounts for Beacon Hill's Technologies Division. "Customers don't want to buy from someone who uses cheesy or slimy sales tactics – it requires someone who is willing to be a true partner. I feel our company embraces that character trait across the board."

Consider this advice for connecting with and attracting qualified, experienced and eager sales staff.

Build more than one set of qualifications

"There are more than 14.5 million salespeople in the U.S."

There are plenty of salespeople currently working in and interested in joining this field. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that more than 14.5 million people currently work in this role. Although this does not account for field of expertise, the skills required for sales roles are typically transferable from industry to industry. If your business posts a job opening for a salesperson, it can expect to receive plenty of applications.

Creating more than one list of qualifications can make targeting the best possible candidates a more organized and productive affair. HubSpot suggested developing two sets of criteria: minimum and preferred. The basic standards can serve as indicators of basic competency and experience, as well as discourage those without the right foundational qualifications from applying. The preferred set of criteria can then filter your applicant pool, allowing you to interview only the candidates who have the best shot of succeeding in the role.

"Resiliency is key to success in sales," notes Rebecca Wright, Regional Vice President for Beacon Hill's Associates Division. "Yes, you should ask questions about achieving goals and tangible results – your minimum qualifications. But it's also just as important to ask questions about disappointments and missed goals. Understanding how your sales staff reacts to failure is vital to managing them effectively."

Keep an eye on presentation

Appearance is a key factor for outside sales staff - how they present themselves is vital for creating and building relationships with prospects and current customers. Their professional attire, body language, posture and general demeanor are all important to assess. While inside sales staff don't regularly meet with clients, they should still have a confident tone of voice, an ability to build rapport and a general sense of self-assurance, just like their counterparts who meet with clients externally.

"While it is important to pay attention to presentation, keep in mind what that presentation means," says John Barker, Regional Director for Beacon Hill's Technologies Division. "Presentation speaks to intangible qualities – motivation, attention to detail, and the effort taken to understand your business. Certain intangible qualities are paramount when hiring sales people – charisma, drive, ability to persevere, and high character. If someone has those four qualities off the charts, then we can teach them everything else."

Be prepared to pitch your company

The Balance Careers highlighted the many opportunities for high-performing salespeople, noting that they are highly desirable even during periods when the economy underperforms. To attract great sales staff, you need to have a clear strategy in place for highlighting the value of the specific opportunity being offered, as well as the organization's general approach to doing business. This includes myriad factors – salary and benefits, the team they will be working with, as well as opportunities for growth and development. Your company's strategy for educating salespeople about the products and services they sell, especially when those offerings are complicated or regularly change, may also be a valuable topic to cover.

Strive for consistency in the hiring process

The hiring process for salespeople often includes efforts to see these professionals in action in a simulated setting. Understanding how they react to a strong objection, unpredictable event or unique customer can tell stakeholders a lot about how they may perform as an employee. These steps are valuable, but so is consistency across the board.

The National Association of Sales Professionals recommended using a consistent set of interview questions for hiring sales staff. This is a general best practice when seeking out new talent, and it can be especially valuable for finding the next sales leader for your company. Make sure to take a similar approach when conducting a mock sales call and any other components of the interview process. This will make comparing candidates that much easier.

Beacon Hill has the experience needed to help your company find the best candidates for its specific sales needs. To learn more, get in touch with us today.

This content is brought to you by the Marketing Team at Beacon Hill Staffing Group.

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