Top Tips For Building a Salesforce
One of the few positive aspects of this current recession is that there has been a flurry of new business growth. Entrepreneurial-spirited individuals, frustrated with the corporate world, are testing the waters with their new ideas, and startups are challenging large, slow-moving organizations by developing innovative products and services.
While many of these streamlined, smarter enterprises will succeed, others will fail. Why? There are many reasons for business failure. However, it’s almost always due to the lack of building a successful sales force. Some entrepreneurs think that they are the only ones who can possibly sell. Giving over the sale of their product or service to someone else is akin to handing over their baby.
Others get so immersed in day-to-day execution of their business that they simply don’t make the time for big picture projects like working on the growth of the company and building a successful sales team.
The reality is that, at some point, business owners need to spread out the sales efforts and bring in talent if they’re going to be successful. It’s not about hiring a support person who will only get the overflow sales “dregs”. Instead, it’s about hiring one or more sales superstars who share the vision of the organization and use their experience and professionalism to take the business to a higher level.
Finding those superstars can be challenging, but they’re out there. In fact, since the rash of layoffs in the last year, there has never been a better time to hire a salesperson. Many qualified professionals would jump at the chance of working with a company that is growing instead of teetering on the brink of failure. How can you build the best sales force for your specific needs? Here’s how:
Find Someone Who is Compatible with the Company Culture
Startups can be chaotic, and not everyone is cut out to work in one. Make sure that any candidate you’re considering is comfortable with multi-tasking and pitching in at a variety of levels and thrives in an environment where there might not always be a lot of structure. Oftentimes, successful “big company” salespeople are like fish out of water when they don’t have multi-layers of management and corporate structure around them. Others are ready to spread their wings in a startup. Find out their comfort level before you make the commitment of bringing them on board.
Look for Someone with Connections and Contacts
Besides having a desire to work for an up and coming company, your potential new hire will be substantially more successful if he or she has a fat Rolodex of connections and contacts. Where do you find such a person? Go out into the field and attend some industry events to see who might be interested in a new opportunity.
Don’t Micromanage the New Hire
If you’ve hired the right person, they should be able to hit the ground running without the need of being hovered over for an extended period of time. Sure, you’ll need to make sure that they’re completely up to speed on what they’ll be selling. However, once they are, it’s time to give up some of the control, and let them go out and hit the ground running.
Work on the Company and Not in It
While making sales is vital to the success of your business, you also need to devote time to working on its overall growth and direction. Successful entrepreneurs and company owners understand the need to have enough company resources so that they can be the leader and not get bogged down by the nitty-gritty of day-to-day operations.