Know What You’re Looking For
If you’re looking for the ideal or perfect salesperson, look no more. They don’t exist. What’s “perfect” for you and your company depends entirely on what you sell, your selling environment, and the prospects you sell to.
Every sales position has a degree of uniqueness about it. Smart companies take the time to define what qualities they will use to qualify and disqualify potential sales hires.
For example, your company may need Hunters to get out and beat the bushes. Whereas another company may be better off with Farmers to continue to develop business within existing accounts. Again, depending upon your circumstances, a Hunter/Farmer or Farmer/Hunter, may be the better choice. And yes, there is a difference between those two latter selling styles.
Knowing what you’re looking for before you start looking makes looking easier.
Watch What You Hire
If you want a salesperson, hire a salesperson, not someone with no track record of sales success of some kind. It’s an easy hiring trap to fall into. At a minimum, hire someone with the temperament to succeed in sales.
If you decide to hire someone with no previous selling experience, don’t underestimate the amount of time required for that individual to come up to speed. Even an experienced salesperson can take several months before becoming productive. If you hire a newbie to sales, consider yourself lucky if you break even on your investment by the end of the first year.
Another danger of hiring newbies is that they often leave after a year or two, just as they are becoming profitable, and move off to another job. Why pay to train someone else’s salespeople?
Avoid this hiring trap by taking the time to hire the best you can afford. The cost of a hiring mistake can be crippling. Too many managers fall into the trap of hiring the first or second warm body that comes along in order to fill the open slot.
Be careful of who and what you hire!