When you’re ready to spur sales, you may be ready to hire a sales agent, representative, or team. Growing pains are very real for all small businesses, so it’s important that you be ready to bring on hired help and the repercussions of making this big decision. If you’re thinking about having a sales agent sell your services on your behalf, consider these helpful tips to know how and when is the right time to pull the trigger:
1) Know your business backwards and forwards
This may seem obvious, but your sales reps will only be as knowledgeable about your business as you are. Remember, you will be responsible for providing your sales agents with all of the information, knowledge, materials, and language to be successful in their sales efforts. If you can’t answer common questions from prospects, how can you expect your sales rep to? Ultimately, you need to be the expert on your business so that there is no question about what you can do for your clients. From the sales process through to on-boarding, and ultimately the retention of your clients, make sure that you and your sales team are prepared for new business.
2) Examine your sales process
If you’re ready to hire a sales person, you’ve probably already acquired some customers. You may have secured some of those sales from prior business or personal relationships, but you at least should have some idea of what it’s actually going to take to sell your product. Think about where you excelled and struggled when making a pitch to a lead and make note. This knowledge will help you to understand what you need in a sales person and in crafting an appropriate job description.
3) Write the right job description
After steps one and two, you should have a sound idea of what characteristics an effective sales person requires. Put this information to paper and draft a job description that will attract the right candidate for your business. In writing your job description, try to be as specific as possible in the position’s description as well as your expectations. For example:
- “The job requires telephone cold calling, generating at least 10 sales leads a day.”
- “The job requires travel to prospects places of business for the purpose of presenting and closing sales.”
4) Create a compelling compensation plan
Commission-based employees work hard for their paycheck. Do not underestimate the effort that goes into selling your products. If you are able to provide a sound base salary with an enticing commission, your sales agent will have the right amount of motivation and drive to close sales for your business.
5) Find the perfect fit
You have everything ready to bring on a sales rep, now go out and find the right one and bring them in for an interview. Some ideas for places to find the right candidates may include:
- Your own personal and professional networks
- A local business school
- Post your listings to job boards and classified sections
And look for person with the right characteristics and skill set you are seeking:
- Industry experience in the same or similar industry you are in
- Experience in working with a start-up so they know what they are getting themselves into
- Self-reliance – the ability to pull together the information and resources that they might need to present and close a sale
- Familiarity with your buyers. If you’re in the business of selling to mom and pop shops, try finding someone who knows how to do just that
- Ability to fit in and cooperate with you and your team. The last thing you want is a contentious relationship with an employee.
6) Try a Trial Period
Even with all of the due diligence you can muster, you don’t know if a sales agent will work out until you’ve given them the opportunity to perform. With that in mind, try setting a trial period for your sales person to see if they are good fit for you and your company and vice-versa. When taking this approach, make sure that you have clear numerical measurements that determine success. That way, once the trial period is up, you are able to point to those figures whether you decide to hire full time or not.
Hiring a sales representative can help you to take your business to the next level. When you find the right agent to sell for you, you’ll not only be bringing in new revenue, but you’ll have the bandwidth to focus on retention and devise new plans for future growth.