There’s an adage that we here at Ajax have coined after working with hundreds – if not thousands – of B2B enterprises whose sales teams keep them afloat: Always be recruiting. “But why?” You ask. I’ve got Brian, Chelsea, (insert your favorite sales guy’s name who hasn’t vacationed in 8 years, closes deals daily, and went prematurely grey…let’s call him Larry.) Larrys are great. We love Larrys. We’re going to tell you how to recruit, and more importantly, RETAIN more people like Larry. But wait, why should I be on the lookout for more Larrys (and more salaries to pay)?
Because three things are going to happen.
- Someone is going to be promoted. What if your CEO decides Larry should leave sales behind and become the CFO? It happens!
- Someone will resign/get fired. It may not even be Larry: if Larry’s best friend Cole leaves for your competitor, Larry might not be far behind.
- Someone may surprise you. If you meet some firecracker Millennial at a conference that fits the exact mold as Larry – and may even surpass him energy-wise – are you really going to turn him away because you’re “Not hiring?”
So you’re “sold”: you’re going to jump back on this recruitment train! Now, where do you begin? It’s time to take a deep look within your company’s soul. If you’re recruiting because Larry left, ask yourself: Why did he go? If you just fired your 5th salesman this year: what about your hiring process could be improved to ensure you don’t waste training dollar? Until you understand and concede to what you can be doing better, you’ll never get a great salesman to join your team – nevermind stay there.
WHERE TO FIND YOUR NEXT GREAT HIRE:
The same facts reign true across all areas of marketing, sales, HR, technology, etc.: nothing beats word of mouth. A good referral is worth hundreds of Craigslist applicants, so spread the word: you’re on the prowl for an awesome new Larry. Where else can you look? Recruiting agencies can be super-helpful…and super costly. Be sure you’re ready to make the investment. Online directories like Craigslist, LinkedIn, and Upwork are great places to start, but the candidates will need way more investigating. And don’t underestimate job fairs: give those newbies a chance! They may surprise you.
HOW TO ATTRACT AMAZING SALESPEOPLE TO YOUR B2B BUSINESS:
Ajax Union is always talking about the importance of establishing a UVP: Your organization’s Unique Value Proposition that sets your apart from the competition. But here’s what you might have forgotten: What is your Employment Value Proposition? Establishing a strong “Employer Brand”, is a concept created by Richard Mosley. In a nutshell: what is your organization’s reputation as an employer, aside from your general brand reputation? Here’s how to make it great again:
- Treat people right. This topic is an article in and of itself, but common sense will take you far. Treat people as you would want to be treated – simple as that.
- Make the benefits of working for your company known. This can mean a fun, exciting, culture-fueled Instagram, or a detailed “Why Work For Us” page on your site. Spread the word, and encourage your employees to do the same: this company is the place to be!
- Show them sales are an important part of your culture. Everyone wants to feel that they’re going to be appreciated!
QUALITIES TO LOOK FOR IN A SALESPERSON:
According to Inc.com. There are a few qualities that indicate a successful salesman, though not all of them are conventionally positive.
- A Hunter’s Mentality: Do they possess that hungry passion? Do they notice small details and only reveal their “key move” at the end?
- Predisposition to ADD: That frenetic energy is an AMAZING benefit for salespeople. Just ask them. Most people with ADD/ADHD are proud to reveal they possess that unique quality.
- The Discipline to Follow Up: Simply – did he email you after your first interview?
- Charisma: Ah, that intangible “special something”. If they got it, they got it.
- Resilience: Rejection is par for the course in this role. Can he/she handle it?
- Empathy: Salespeople sell to humans. Can they relate to people on a personal level?
- A Touch of Arrogance: It takes confidence to the point of arrogance to walk into meetings and sell your heart out. How’s their swagger game?
How do you put this investigation into practice? Read the quote that completely speaks for itself:
“I test a salesperson in every way possible before I hire them: I miss our scheduled phone call to see what he does; I ask him to give a presentation and sell our product during our interview; I email him and use an incorrect name to see how he responds; I reject him to see how he responds to rejection. My goal is to find out if the salesperson is truly tenacious and willing to close the deal.” –Jun Loayza, www.JunLoayza.com
RED FLAGS TO LOOK OUT FOR IN A POTENTIAL HIRE:
Forbes.com said it best (as they usually do): If they talk more than they listen, you can bet they’re not going to be “hearing out” your customer’s needs. Some more little notes to add to your “concerns” section of his review:
- Did he/she look sloppy? No one’s going to be sold on a slob. Their confidence level is probably not that great either.
- Did he/she dance around the hard questions? I.e. why do you want to be a salesman? Where did you learn your sales skills? Did you get along with everyone on your old team? Which brings us to…
- Do they play well with others? This may not be easy to spot. Stay safe and call some references. Or better yet, call those who worked with them that aren’t on their resume, and ask for honest feedback.
- Does he/she have the “Sales Passion”? If they’re just kind of ‘blah’, chances are they won’t perk up when they hit that boardroom.
Need help building your dream sales team? Ready to take the next step? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can create a strategy that will work for YOU and your business.