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Hiring a Salesperson: How to Find the Ideal Candidate

Are you ready to add a salesperson to your team? Be sure to think through these vital considerations before you make the leap.

If you’ve reached the point where you need to expand your team by hiring a salesperson, congratulations! That’s an exciting milestone. But before you start posting the job description and scheduling interviews, you need to know what you’re looking for.

As with many business decisions, you must begin with the end in mind when thinking through your ideal salesperson candidate. Ask yourself these questions:

  • What kind of fit are you looking for on your team?
  • How do you want this person to sell?
  • How much do you want your salesperson to make?

By thinking through these details ahead of time, you can begin to gain a clear picture of the sales role you’ll actually need—setting up your hiring process for success. But how can you get confident answers to these questions above? Let’s talk through each of these vital considerations.

What Kind of Fit Are You Looking for on Your Team?

Consider Your Products and Services

The specific products and services you’re selling will tell you a lot about the kind of salesperson your team needs. If you’re selling party planning equipment, you don’t want someone who comes across as droll and boring. You want to hire a salesperson who will get your potential customers excited about their upcoming event!

At the same time, if you’re selling financial planning services, your salesperson should be incredibly detail-oriented, personable, and not afraid to ask probing questions. Looking for candidates who match what your company provides will be a key aspect to finding the right candidate.

Picture Your Salesperson’s Style and Vibe

Is your ideal salesperson a deep thinker or a door opener? Your candidate’s preferred selling style should fit well with what your team needs. Someone who wants to shake hands at as many networking events as possible may work great for your organization. But you also may require a salesperson who’s much more methodical, research-driven, and technically savvy, depending on your client’s needs.

Also, consider how your salesperson should come across to your potential customers. If you’re selling cleaning services to office buildings, you want someone who won’t show up in a wrinkled outfit or dirty car. The vibes your salesperson gives matter, so pay attention to this as you consider candidates.

Remember—Not All Great Sales People are Extroverts!

It’s easy to think of a great salesperson as a go-getting extrovert who loves being in a room full of people. But someone doesn’t have to be extroverted to be good at sales. In fact, at Skillway, we 100% believe (because we see them every day!) that introverts can make excellent salespeople. A successful salesperson is someone who can ultimately sell and deliver, after all. Instead of prioritizing a personality type, find a candidate who has a competitive drive, likes a good challenge, and enjoys building relationships. Both introverts and extroverts can have these qualities.

How Do You Want This Person to Sell?

Decide What You Need: Inside Sales vs. Outside Sales

Another critical step is determining the formal tasks and day-to-day responsibilities required for the role. This will help you decide whether to hire a salesperson as an inside or outside sales rep.

Outside sales representatives are responsible for bringing in new customers. That means they attend networking events, meet with industry professionals, and build relationships with referral partners. These salespeople will conduct onsite prospect meetings and lead sales presentations to win new business. In this role, you typically need a salesperson who is a true “hunter”—someone who finds their own leads and converts them into new customers.

An inside sales representative receives and fulfills orders from current customers. They take on an account management-type role, overseeing long-term customer needs or even doing outbound prospecting to set appointments for outside sales representatives. In most cases, these types of salespeople will be referred to as more of a “farmer”—someone who cultivates and nurtures existing relationships, ensuring that they have the right products and services as their needs change. This often involves working with current clients and upselling them on additional services to grow each account.

If you’re a small business owner who does most of the selling and you’re thinking about hiring your first salesperson, sometimes what you really need is a sales assistant. While you’re bringing in the outside sales as the business owner, your sales assistant may take on your inside sales needs while supporting your business-generating activities. If they’re a good culture fit and a quick learner, this type of sales assistant will often naturally develop into a full-blown insider or outside sales rep.

How Much Do You Want Your Salesperson to Make?

Determine Compensation

This one’s pretty straightforward. Predetermining your sales compensation plan for this new role is critical. If you want your salesperson to make unlimited income, does your current business model support them in making as much as they want? If not, then you’ll need to factor this income limit into the type of role—and the type of salesperson—you’re seeking.

Create Your Ideal Sales Candidate With Skillway

Adding a salesperson can significantly impact your business’s growth, so you need to get this hiring process right. That’s why it’s vital to determine what you’re looking for before you start bringing in prospective candidates.

At Skillway, we can help you define your ideal sales candidate, create a compensation plan for your role, and even conduct final interviews (since we’re experts in identifying great salespeople)—so you can move forward with confidence and peace of mind. Contact our team today to learn more about our free sales team consultation—we’d love to help you CRUSH the salesperson hiring process!