So, your startup is growing and you’ve begun to delegate responsibility to new all-star hires. Yes, I know, it can be hard to give up control, but as long as you’re patient and wait to hire only the best, then you’ll be in good hands!
It’s no surprise that, for many startups, there’s a significant challenge in attracting and keeping the top talent. While there are plenty of salespeople to choose from, there are a limited number of talented people who are able to step into the fast pace of a startup environment. The key is to attract and retain sales people that will grow your startup as well as stay long term.
It’s your job to identify, recruit, and keep this all-star team because it can make the difference between just another a startup and a true startup powerhouse. Let’s take a look at 3 hiring tips you’ll need to consider when hiring your sales staff.
1. Define the Role
You need to define exactly what the sales role will be in your particular business model. Do you want salespeople who know how to present well? Are you interested in those who know how to close a deal? Do you want someone who already has good industry contacts? Are you looking for someone who has knowledge of your product and who is truly passionate about it?
These are all questions you have to consider when you’re searching for the right sales team. You may want to focus on just one skill or a combination of a couple of them but, either way, they’re questions you have to ask yourself as you’re getting started.
2. Recruit and Interview
Once you’ve sifted through resumes and you’re ready to begin conversations with potential salespeople, be ready for something fundamental: if they don’t interview well, then they’re not going to do the job well.
Confidence, clarity, and energy are just part of the sales pitch a potential employee needs to project to you during an interview. If they can’t even sell themselves, then it’s time to keep interviewing.
3. Team Hiring
An often overlooked tactic in hiring, according to the many startup founders I’ve spoken to, is team hiring. It’s ok to do an actual interview one-on-one with the potential sales candidate, but it’s also important to get a second, trusted opinion by involving team members in the hiring process.
Team hiring allows your startup as a whole to assess the candidate’s overall strengths and weaknesses. Any salesperson worth their salt has to function well on a team and any star salesperson will know how to use their talent and initiative to build and maintain relationships. Your team needs to ask itself, “Are these relationship building qualities self-evident?”
In addition, as the representative of your startup brand to the market, the way in which your sales staff projects and maintains the brand is absolutely crucial. Look for salespeople who don’t mind rolling up their sleeves and getting “dirty” with the job that needs to be done.
Remember that the sales staff will be making some initial and absolutely key contacts in the field representing what you’ve worked so hard to build, so be patient and don’t hire for the position unless you find exactly what you’re looking for!