Running a startup necessitates a certain attitude of scrappiness and a willingness to go grassroots and lean whenever possible. However, entrepreneurs can’t afford to go too bare bones when it comes to amassing competitive, world-class sales teams.
Building a team of selling all-stars requires effort, not to mention both financial and mental investment. While onboarding sales pros shouldn’t break the bank, it deserves an appropriate amount of fiscal outlay. At the same time, business founders should spend enough time plotting out the wisest ways to grab and keep stellar people. After all, having an efficient sales crew makes it easier to hit objectives and scale predictably.
If you’re stumbling because you don’t have the right sellers in place to grow your operations, check out these five strategies. Implementing them will help you improve the flow of leads and allow you to better position your brand.
1. Offer better sales tools than the other guy.
Who are your biggest competitors and how do they set up their sales funnels? Find out as much as you can, right down to the types of software they prefer. Plenty of incredible sales tools are on the market, and more are emerging all the time. You might discover that many of the highest powered ones work seamlessly with what you already use.
Why add more to your tech stack? Salespeople appreciate being able to make their jobs easier and more effective. When you’re interviewing candidates for job openings, you can woo them by showing off all the tools that they’ll have at their disposal. Remember: You don’t have to be the biggest fish in the pond in order to streamline your technology. Plus, many tools are subscription-based, giving you the opportunity to spend less while getting more value.
2. Hire for potential and passion, not necessarily credentials
While you might not want to bring a team of pure sales newbies aboard to lead your selling operations, consider interviewing people who don’t have tons of on-paper experience. For example, you may receive a resume from someone whose other skills indicate a passion for learning and improvement, even if the candidate’s sales background is weak.
Often, onboarding individuals who show raw ability and possibilities can be a far better choice than trying to snag salespeople with many years under their belts. Not only will you pay less for newer professionals, but you’ll be able to guide them along the way. Plus, they’ll be glad for the opportunity to shine and may just impress you beyond your wildest expectations by turning into sales “sleepers.”
3. Make speedy hiring decisions after a long-enough interview process
You can probably recall some interviewing experiences from your past that left you with a bad taste in your mouth. One of the biggest complaints among applicants is having to jump through hoop after hoop during the selection process.
It’s fine to ask job candidates to undergo a few interviews, perhaps even on Zoom or with the rest of your executive team. You might even want your top picks to pull together a sales plan or complete some other project. But taking too much time could end up backfiring. Your best candidates are probably interviewing elsewhere. They may assume you’re not serious if you’re bad at communicating your intentions or seem to be dragging your feet. Consequently, if you have to extend your hiring process for any reason, let applicants know upfront so they’re not surprised.
4. Include formal training and mentoring into your hiring protocol
Employees want to earn a reasonable salary. However, that doesn’t mean that they’re only money-motivated. About 60% of workers say they want to be tasked with projects that serve a purpose. In other words, your new sales team is craving meaningful responsibilities, not busy work.
Of course, you probably don’t want to give untested sales employees authority raises from the get-go. Instead, institute a formal training program into your onboarding. Explain to applicants that they can expect to learn on the job, and if they perform well, they’ll be rewarded. The rewards could come in any form. For instance, you may want to issue larger commission percentages for contributors who remain on your team for a long time. Additionally, you might consider making opportunities for advancement more transparent. As a result, your salespeople will know what they need to do to scale the corporate ladder.
5. Create an irresistible culture that attracts high achievers
Make no mistake: Brands with strong loyalties are irresistible not just to consumers, but to employees as well. Why do so many people want to work at Apple or Google? It’s because the brands have a strong cache. Applicants know what they’re getting because they understand the culture of the companies. And even though your organization is just starting out, you can disrupt the market with a stand-out culture.
How can you advertise your culture in a big way even if you’re the “little guy” in the industry? Use social media and content development to showcase what makes you different. Encourage your current employees to talk about their experiences. The more buzz you can build about your positive reputation and working environment, the higher the chances that great sellers will start knocking on your door for a role.
Job candidates are actively willing to move from employer to employer right now. Take advantage of their eagerness to be a part of your growing brand by capturing their attention early and giving them what they want to remain fulfilled.