When you’re looking for a sales rep, you don’t just need a warm body or someone who looks good on paper — you need someone whose own brand of wizardry is going to move your company’s wholesale promotional products and services. When I think back on what’s important in sales, a few “rules of the road” have served me well. Here are five things that you should think about during the hiring process.
1. Hire more than one sales rep
One of the biggest tips goes beyond the boundaries of dealing with a sales rep. It has to do with how businesses grow and learn. Essentially, no matter how good your first rep is, you won’t understand what’s going on with sales until you have two or more salespeople to compare to.
The first rep is your test case and the other is a control case. In other words, you track progress by comparing how the two reps are doing.
Hire more than one rep and keep careful track of who’s doing better and why. You’ll learn what’s going on with your sales processes: whether your products sell themselves or not, and whether it’s the rep, the product or the marketing that’s leading to individual results.
2. Figure out a pay structure
Another big issue is how your reps will get paid. You don’t want to cut too much into your profit margin, but you want to incentivize selling. How do you do that?
A lot of successful leaders use commission structures or other alternatives to create motivation in a sales force. And remember, commissions don’t have to be flat. Creating higher commission levels for higher sales levels is a big incentive. You can also mix and match commission and base pay or hire for a trial period.
3. Hire a challenger
Sales is all about personality. You want someone who can handle rejection effortlessly. Any salesperson who can’t shake off the negativity isn’t going to work in the field.
A winning sales personality means confidence — enough confidence to question anybody, even the boss. Your best sales reps will keep you on your toes. And you want someone who’s going to do the same to clients. Look for resilience, assertiveness and overall confidence in the person who’s going to be repping your stuff.
4. Research that person’s history
Aside from being a good judge of character and going with your gut, you can get a lot further in hiring the right sales person by researching what he or she has done in the past.
You might see great numbers of excellent work on past projects, but red flags may come up, too. Little lapses in work history, few to no references and questionable workarounds on a resume – all are cause for concern. Do your due diligence to make sure you don’t get burned later.
5. Hire someone who knows technology
Robocop wouldn’t be impressive without his laser gear, robo-vision and everything else, and any professional isn’t as powerful without modern tools of the trade. Industry-specific mobile apps, a great digital dashboard for communications and an innovative customer relationship management platform enhances what a sales rep can do for a company. You want somebody who can use these tools to put your business in the limelight.
All of these considerations are going to be helpful when you’re looking at your shortlist and trying to read the tea leaves on who’s going to take your company to the next level.
Mike Kamo is the VP of marketing for Strideapp.