Back to headlines

Get your first sales hire right

A major decision that business leaders face is hiring their very first salesperson.

Whatever the size, a business making a bad hire can be costly. Not only financially, but the impact (especially to startups and SME’s) can cause detrimental effect to the business model, as well as potential effects on internal relationships and time lost during the recruitment process.

In short – this is something you want to get right. You’ll know when it’s time to bring on your first sales hire when you begin to:

  • Have a clear understanding of your target buyers and their needs
  • Have developed a clear sales process and strategy
  • Can begin to predictably estimate if and when sales will close

Based on our internal knowledge and working in the sales recruitment industry day in, day out, here are some points to cover before you make your first sales hire and what to consider when it comes to attracting candidates.

Create the job description based on your business needs

You can’t hire someone unless you know what you’re recruiting for. Why do you require a salesperson? What is it that they need to be able to take on and ‘own’ within their role? From this, you can determine the kind of personality that you’d like to attract and the sort of skill set that you are seeking.

Think about culture fit

How your business functions in relation to core values should be the method that you want to preserve. Defining the ‘type’ of people you want on your team is a good starting point.

Don’t let valuable people pass you by. A candidate might not possess every skill you’re hoping for, but if they have the sort of personality that makes you feel enthusiastic, that’s a good sign. The chances are, if you find likeable qualities in someone, your clients will buy into them too. Good people with great mindsets can be trained and mentored.

Recognise the right attitude

The importance of someone’s outlook on sales is crucial. Finding a person that gets excited about being your first salesperson and is willing to go above and beyond is no easy venture, but it’ll be worth it when you do.

Offer progression

Attracting candidates is one thing, hiring and retaining them is another. You want to keep your employees, and nobody wants to feel ‘stuck’ in their role with no chance of moving forward. Traditionally, the sales industry suffers from high turnover rates. Every time a salesperson leaves, you need to start a new hiring cycle, spend money to advertise the job and train new employees from scratch. This is why investing in career development matters, you want your salesperson to have progression with your company in the back of their minds, as it will encourage them to work harder.

Don’t get caught up on industry experience

It depends on what services or products you’re selling, but usually and often in our experience, a fantastic salesperson outweighs industry experience, so don’t get too caught up looking for ‘the perfect candidate’, they likely don’t exist. They can learn the industry, if they possess the qualities you’re seeking and if they’re keen – you’re likely off to a good start.

Set interview tasks to test commitment

Task-based interviews at a second/final stage are a great way to gauge how well somebody can perform under some healthy pressure. Set them a realistic task, something you’d like to see them succeed at.

It’s ok to not know where to start. If you’re unsure where to begin and need some support with finding the right salespeople for your sector, get in touch. Learn more about our expertise here.