How to Build Out Your Sales Team
- Before you make your first hire, determine the criteria for what makes an effective salesperson on your team–what skills or experience do they need?
- You’ll want to start the search on the major online job sites, such as SalesJobs.com, Glassdoor, Linkedin, and Indeed.
- Have at least two people participate in the interview process to minimize your personal bias. Make sure these people have the necessary skills to interview effectively.
- While straight commission is by far the least expensive option when it comes to hiring a salesperson, you may want to consider base pay plus commission or a bonus structure.
- As the business leader, it is your job to set your team up for success. That means onboarding them–we recommend an in-person training over a memo or slide deck.
Determine the Type of Team You Need
Don’t go hiring just any great salesperson; make sure you are hiring the perfect salesperson for your sales strategy. For example, do you need inside sales, field sales or both? Don’t know the difference? Don’t worry! Inside sales is basically remote sales. It refers to any sales that performed virtually, either by phone or email. Outsides sales, or traditional sales, is any type of sales done face-to-face.
You also need to think about your product. Do you have a really complex product that requires some content knowledge in order to sell? Or can you train your team to adequately talk about your products without subject-matter expertise?
Hiring Your Team
Now that you’ve determine the criteria for your sales team, you can start recruiting. You’ll want to start the search on the major online job sites, such as SalesJobs.com, Glassdoor, Linkedin, and Indeed. Make sure you write explicitly what you want from your sales employee, even if it means limiting your application pool. For example, if your sales role requires heightened knowledge in information systems, then be explicit about that in the job description. Otherwise, you’ll waste more time interview candidates who are not qualified.
Come up with a evaluation system for all candidates. What are the criteria you are assessing? Some common criteria include experience, leadership potential, familiarity with the market, and cultural fit. It’s up to you to determine what is most important.
Finally, bring the best candidates in for an interview. This longer, recommended, in-person interview needs to challenge each candidate to confirm that they are truly qualified and a fit for your company. Have at least two people participate in this step to minimize your personal bias. Make sure these people have the necessary skills to interview effectively.
Once you decide on the right person, or people, for your team, then you’ll need to make sure you properly onboard them to the company. We’ll talk about that a little later in the post.
Develop a Compensation Plan
While straight commission is by far the least expensive option when it comes to hiring a salesperson, you may want to consider base pay plus commission or a bonus structure. The reason for this is that it gives your sales employee a cushion for slower months, which should be expected occasionally. A base pay plus commision shows a commitment from the employer that they believe in the salesperson, and that the business is on their side.
Because a base pay guarantees the salesperson a salary, it may be easier to find someone to sell your product or service. As an employer, you can also set quotas that must be met in order for the salesperson to keep the job. You can also pay salaried employees less commission than non-salaried ones, but this is offset by the fact that you have the expense of an employee without the guarantee of any sales.
Train and Motivate the Team
As the business leader, it is your job to set your team up for success. That means onboarding them so that they understand the lay of the land, potential pitfalls, and best practices to make them more effective. You can deliver this information through memos and slide decks, but we recommend an in-person training where employees can ask questions.
And finally, your sales team will need certain tools to do their job effectively–some of these tools will be free, but many of them will be paid. One tool they will certainly need is a customer relationship management tool, or a CRM, so that they (and you) can properly track all sales activities. We talk more about CRMs in this blog post, as well as give you a recommendation for a CRM to use with your team.