The short answer is recruit train and retain.
Your company has great products and/or services, a proven market, growth potential but you are held back by the sales growth not going as planned. You know the opportunities are out there but you just cannot seem to recruit the sales people that bring home the deals.
Most Sales Directors will do the following:
Place adverts or employ recruitment agencies, searching for people already with experience in their industry that can hit the ground running. Then train them on the job and leave them at it.
These are the most common responses and they don’t work, or at least not to the level wanted by the Sales Director. Let us have a look at why before presenting the solution that really does work.
1. The people recruited are not the right profile.
2. The training is virtually non existent and not to professional standards.
3. The management, motivation and leadership of the team is lacking.
To put this right you have to before you even think of recruiting, design and write down your recruitment profile and induction and ongoing development plan. Here are some of my ideas from experience.
Idea 1: Recruit motivated, goal oriented raw talent. Even Leonardo Da Vinci could not make a great statue unless he had some great clay to start with.
Yes, you say but how. Well forget recruiting from your own industry it is just not going to produce the numbers for growth. Instead recruit people with closing experiences in other industries. Pick industries where the income for sales people is not as high as yours. So many industries pay good sales people peanuts or cap earnings. You now have a large population to recruit from. It is quicker to teach the product knowledge of your company than to teach someone how to close deals. You must in your profile recruit to your values, so that a natural team spirit and identity emerges.
Idea 2: Train your Sales Manager on leadership, and motivation skills. This is a skill quite separate to sales which is what he or she excelled in to be promoted to Manager. The Sales Manager needs to be sensitive and offer leadership. If not one ‘bad apple’ will demotivate the whole group.
Idea 3: Do not expect your trainee and openers to be promotable to closers. Many industries start people as trainees, relationship builders, ice breakers, door openers. Needs lots of rapport skills, taking rejection etc. Closing is a totally different mind and skills set. Most really good sales openers will never make it as a closer. Great if it happens but not a reliable source to fast grow a business.
Idea 4: Consider older people who are not sales professionals. Most Sales Managers will believe that it is best to recruit young for the energy and sales experience to deliver. Often wrong assumptions. Motivation, money hunger, drive, positive attitude are not age and experience specific. A 60 year old seriously motivated to earn commissions can perform very well. They also have age prejudice against them which will mean they value the opportunity more. They also will, depending on their carer to date, have many skills in communication that are actually relevant to sales. Life skills, parenting, managing, team building, in any context develop practical sales skills. Interestingly people new to sales often outperform sometime because they do not sound like stereotypical sales people.
Idea 5: Manage out of office influencing factors. Many people bring their home life to the office and many a good sales person is ruined by negative external pressures, stresses or influences. You need to ask and prove real motivations and influences. Do they have support of those around them for your position? What can you do to change make that better or at recruitment stage is it going to be too negative an influence. For example money hunger is usually good in sales but if your closer has desperate financial pressure s/he may become too pushy or desperate and trigger buyers remorse situations.
Feel free to email me any comments or challenges firstname.lastname@example.org.