Now before you get upset at that statement hang on for a second, I just needed your attention. If it was easy the word turnover would not exist. It’s been documented to cost anywhere from $75,000 up to $500,000 to hire the wrong salesperson.
I’m going to talk in terms of your marketing team because sales is a function that would generally fall under the umbrella of marketing. The problem is that you may try to separate the two disciplines, and they are disciplines. But let us not get off track of our main point, picking winners for your team.
We’ll keep this focus on the people out doing face-to-face marketing/sales. Your marketing/sales team is responsible for the lifeblood of cash flow that makes your business work. Without cash coming in the door everything will cease to exist as you know it.
As I work with small business owners like yourself I find that many times they base their hiring decisions on the person having industry experience, they either sold a product or a service, and they liked them. Those three hiring criteria are a recipe for disaster.
What does someone working in your industry have to do with being a successful person doing sales for your company? How many times have you seen someone bounce around from company to company in the same industry and always be a ‘B’ level, or worse a ‘C’ level performer? We’ll pretend for a minute that A players are the best, B players are good, and C players are on the verge of their next job. You want to aim for A players, and B players with A potential….ideally.
So what do you do first? Great question, let me give you some guidance here. I’m going to share a list of questions you need to ask yourself.
- What kind of people, or where in the organization will the salesperson call on prospective clients?
- What kind of technical knowledge will the salesperson need to have?
- Will it be a product, service, or combination
- Will the salesperson be creating demand or fulfilling demand?
- What quantity of products or services need to be sold?
- Is the selling cycle less than 6-months or longer?
- Will the person service existing accounts (Farm), or bring in new business (Hunt)?
- Will the person sell as a one person operation or as a member of a team?
- Will the sales person work out of an office, or be in the field?
- Will the person be on their own, or will you be baby-sitting?
So how do you put this into action in your company? Copy and paste these questions into a word document and then answer each question. The reason you are answering these questions is to help you decide exactly what your ideal candidate will do, with who, when, how often, where, why, and what.
By focusing on this area of small business growth you can really start building your team. Your marketing/sales team is your limiting and maximizing factor in your business. The right team can make life in your business great, and the wrong team can…well, you know:
This first step is so vital because you now know what you want someone to do. Think of this, if I ask you to shoot at a target can you do it? Maybe, but wouldn’t you need to know what the target looked like, and where it was? You’re darn right you would. Answering the ten questions about what you want your ideal candidate to do will give you the target you need.
Now go and take action on this one part of your small business growth this week. Each day, week, month, year, and you will be adding small bricks to build your business. Over time you’ll have built a great foundation that will prosper.