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How to Hire Great B2B Salespeople in 2021

Your business may have the ideas, assets, investment, and the technology to make you the envy of your competitors but without an efficient sales team, your operation is incomplete. Whatever your products or services and however much interest they generate, without the capability to convert a lead into a sale, you’re not maximising your business potential.

Posted by Grant Dixon, Friday July 16 2021

How To Hire Senior (1)

The sales team you hire and develop forms the essential conduit between the company and its customers. They build relationships, uncover opportunities, identify customer needs and turn your products or services into revenue. Every person within your business is valued but a single great sales hire can really transform a business with their impact on your bottom line. 

All makes sense but how should we go about getting great sales professionals into the business? Firstly, we need to acknowledge some realities:

-        Sales is not a skill as transferable as many people imagine. There is an art and a science to selling. The best sales people utilise their knowledge and experience of their markets to achieve success. The adage goes, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know’ and therefore sales professionals are able to often deliver the most value the quickest in what they actually have previous experience of. This is why many sales professionals feel best suited to certain sectors or products or sales cycles or decision makers. Yes, there are sales professionals that experience success in any area they choose to focus on but more commonly, sales professionals have a preference for what prospective profile (client) they will engage with and what they will talk about (product / service) when they do.  

-        Many organisations simply won’t provide sales professionals with the time they require to learn a whole new sector and build a new network of decision makers from scratch. In the current world, we all want results, and we want them now. Businesses are often no different. If we are hiring sales people, agreeing internally how much time they have to get up to speed is critical before we commence a hiring search. That time period will often determine whether we require an individual that already has relevant industry experience or whether we can hire based on attitudes and behaviour and train them up. The latter is not always possible due to business pressures and internal resources but will typically produce better results as a long-term hiring strategy as we are able to consider a more diverse sales talent pool. 

-        Sales is a process and human nature would suggest that although humans like their routines, we don’t typically enjoy repetitive tasks ad nauseum which is what any process can feel like. The best sales processes are simple and scalable and thanks to technology, the most repetitive parts can now be automated but your best sales people are most likely the ones that are happy to follow a process repeatedly.

-        Sales people are like professional footballers. Amazing results at one company does not guarantee amazing results at another, even if it’s performing exactly the same role.

Secondly, there are some basic things we can put in place to minimise our risk when hiring for our sales teams:

-        Ensuring internal alignment as to what is required in the candidate is key. If the Head of Sales and the MD are not aligned but both involved in the hiring process, it will create uncertainty in the hiring process when it comes to deciding who to hire.

-        An efficient hiring process is essential. Have the hiring process mapped out in advance so that the candidate can remain educated as to timelines and expectations. Introducing an additional stage at the last minute does not require a great impression of the hiring organisation.

-        Be realistic, great sales candidates will have multiple opportunities so make sure you deliver a great impression during the hiring process and don’t forget interviews are a two-way process. They are also interviewing you. Why should the best sales candidates choose your business? Make sure you can answer this question genuinely and tangibly.

-        We would strongly recommend having a stage in the hiring process where you get to see the candidate demonstrate some of their skills or knowledge. A short (5 slide) presentation of some sort such as a 30/60/90 day plan will often provide great insight into how a sales person thinks and the expectations they have of themselves and the vacancy. 

-        As previously mentioned, where possible, hire for behaviours and attitude over skills and experience. A good way to measure this is by using a 3rd party personality profiling tool. Nothing is fool-proof but utilised correctly they can help you focus your interview time on certain areas that are of the most importance.

-        Take references from previous direct line management where possible. Don’t skip the opportunity for free information from previous employers. 

Hiring the right B2B sales team is challenging and even more so in our post-lockdown world where the demand for sales professionals is higher than ever as companies seek to recoup lost ground from Covid. The competition for sales talent is fierce so make sure your have your boxes ticked and if necessary, engage with an expert agency like Reuben Sinclair to assist.  

That’s where Reuben Sinclair can make your life easier. As specialists in B2B sales, recruitment we are experienced in the special demands of helping businesses grow sales team across multiple geographies, industries and levels of seniority.

Find out how we can help you find the perfect salesperson for your marketing business. Call us on +44 (0)20 3826 1206 or email enquiries@reuben-sinclair.com.

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