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Congratulations! Your business is growing. Now, you have the resources to hire a sales staff to meet your needs. The people you hire will be the driving force behind your brand and can make or break your company – no pressure.

Components of a Great Sales Team:

Knowing what makes a great salesperson can help you get started with the hiring process. Many companies make the mistake of looking for anyone who has sales experience written on a resume. This may not always be the best strategy. The best sales person you’ve ever had may not have a bit of sales experience.

Look for people who are driven to succeed, who can remain optimistic even when they don’t make a sale, and who are motivated by healthy competition. These individuals can help you meet your goals every day and may very well become rainmakers for your company.

Do’s for Building Your First Sales Team:

Do research on sales – Sales departments can look drastically different across businesses. Understand what your target market is looking for in sales and then build a sales program that caters to their needs. You may need a team that is better about cultivating long-term relationships for repeat service or you may need individuals who can cut a deal fast and reach a large part of the market in a relatively short period.

Do use a screening service –If you can afford to use a sales testing service, do it. Many of these initial tests will eliminate candidates who don’t have the skillset necessary to succeed in a sales environment. Those who score well may be better candidates to interview for fit, personality, and availability.

Do ask for help – Use your network to find individuals who are highly motivated to succeed and then see if they have the qualifications necessary to succeed in your environment. Ask other, non-competitor companies for their experience with recruiting sales members.

Do widen your geographical scope – Instead of looking for candidates who are heavily involved in your professional network, look for someone who is slightly outside of or wholly outside of your network. They can tap into an audience that you may not have come into contact with yet.

Do use the right tools – Sales people need to be linked with a reliable phone service. Use project management and phone tools that can grow with your company to help you and your team stay on-top of leads.

Dont’s for Building Your First Sales Team:

Don’t rely too heavily on commissions – Use incentives, but avoid putting too much pressure on sales teams. Ask for advice about using commissions and offering salaries and benefits packages. Some great salespeople may not work well under the pressure of earning a commission, but they may perform beautifully if they are allowed to work at their own pace and develop relationships. Choose a compensation structure that makes sense for your business.

Don’t be too quick to hire or fire - The turnover process can become very expensive if you don’t find the right individuals at first. Take the time to find candidates that you feel strongly about, rather than hiring someone with an impressive resume. One highly capable salesperson may be worth two or three mediocre ones.

Don’t rely on one hiring technique alone – Get your entire team involved in the sales hiring process. Use active and passive recruiting techniques, and develop a unique interview process. Remember that the hiring process is not only about finding the right candidate, but also making the right candidate want to work for you. Make your business stands apart during the hiring process to encourage talent to seek you out.

Don’t hire stereotypes – This is not a hard and fast rule, but your organization may not need someone who is too confident or too chatty. Those individuals may not listen to your customers and could potentially cause more problems than they solve. Many sales positions rely more on listening and finding a way to relate and help that person.

Don’t hire the same persona every time - Check each new hire for fit by introducing him or her to the team during the interview process. You will likely need a spectrum of skills to create a highly functioning team, so try to balance personality types so that team members complement each other.

Every sales department goes through some turnover, but using the right approach can decrease the financial and emotional toll that the hiring and firing process can create. Over time, the right hiring practices will lead to a highly functioning and profitable team atmosphere.


Josh Christy

Founder of Booth, passionate about helping to grow businesses that matter.