“ Climb as a team or die trying ” has been the motto of our sales department for some months now.
Mr Jeff launched a change in its business model in January 2018: we went from working with external suppliers to creating a community of franchises in LATAM.
Our goal since then has been to expand our brand offering the best laundry service and to revolutionize the market. We had a project and we needed a team that was capable of selling it order to grow as quickly as possible, but how would we get it?
Exploring new recruiting opportunities
From People Sales we knew that by not being a traditional company, our selection process would not be comparable to any other. If you are looking for a good profile, you will not find it by using the popular channels. It is most likely that the best profiles are neither in the market nor will they apply to your job offerings.
We started by doing this, publishing attractive job offers in different channels, which helped us raise the volume of candidates, but did not give us the quality we were looking for. In order to attract this talent we had to offer the candidates good working conditions and emphasize the opportunity of being able to grow and earn money without limits. However, it is not always easy to translate these characteristics into a traditional written offer. It was because of this, that we took the initiative to contact potential candidates directly and help them understand the real meaning of the Mr Jeff experience.
Let’s not forget that a good salesperson is moved by the possibility of getting involved in an attractive project within a successful company. This made things even more complicated, since we were in a very early phase of selling a project, not knowing whether it would be a success or not. In addition, the team was going to work with a foreign market in a different time zone.
How did we do it? We started making a team offering not only an employment possibility, but also an enriching personal and professional experience. In addition, it was important to establish a solid base, for which we relied on the first layer of the sales team, we listened and took into account the opinions of our team and worked to improve their happiness and well-being within the company.
What did we offer? Competitive salaries, attractive commissions, initial on boarding and continuous training — we will write an article on this topic soon -. In terms of company culture, we have monthly and quarterly events to strengthen the internal communication and relationships and, above all, to give them the real value of the position they occupy in the team. We know that the sales department is the key to carrying out an international expansion process, so we let them know they are valued.
We realized that when our employees are happy and tuned with the company’s objectives and methods and believe in what they are doing, they talk about what they do to their acquaintances in a positive way. If you think about it, when you have a positive experience, one of the first things you do is share it with your friends and family. Here we saw the opportunity to have a new source of “social” recruitment, so we created the referral program, establishing an attractive financial compensation for anyone who could provide candidates suitable for the position.
When talking about the advantages of this program, we must emphasize that we have significantly reduced costs, the time invested on talent acquisition and the risk of failure. Our team knows what works best and what is required. In addition, the sense of commitment and belonging is usually, in a large percentage of cases, much higher than in external candidates, so its effectiveness is greater. When it comes to finding new ways of working and making improvements in recruitment, we are always open to new possibilities.
Skills for success
When we were defining the recruitment process, we realized which profiles were more or less suitable for Mr Jeff. In order to have a rapid growth and not die in the attempt, it is imperative to hire a profile that we know will work for us and for that reason, we should not be afraid of making a few mistakes, as has happened to us.
As you know, each product and service requires different attention and has a different sale style. From experience, I can tell you what the main skills are that the ideal candidate must have to be part of the sales team at Mr Jeff.
The capacity to absorb and apply quick learning is essential. The salesperson should understand the clients needs and fulfill them.
Customer orientation and curiosity. The candidate must be able to ask valuable questions that allows him to get to know the client and reach the sales maximum potential. A person only interested in giving a sales pitch, without worrying about what is of interest to the client is not suitable. The salesperson must be an observer and actively listen.
We rely on previous success as an indicator of real merit. What are your previous successes? What are your main achievements? We look for people who have already been successful in sales and who have been part of big projects.
The person has to be intelligent. It is important to know how quickly he/she captures complex concepts and then transmits them easily and attractively to the clients. A start up is constantly changing, so the process must be agile.
It is important that you have a clear orientation to results. In Mr Jeff we do not envisage a salesman who has no ambition to reach goals and to constantly re evaluate those goals. Not only should you strive to achieve those goals, but you should be able to plan strategies and solutions to possible problems and want more, much more.
Good management and tolerance to frustration, knowing how to learn from their failures and transform them into a motivation to achieve their goals and objectives. We have proven that one of the main factors to achieve success in sales in our company is self-motivation, when it decreases or disappears, so do sales.
Flexibility. The person must be receptive to new ideas, strategies and ways to execute. To work in a startup is to expect the unpredictable, if he/she is not able to effectively manage these changes, it is doomed to failure.
Finally, alignment with the company culture. Precisely because of the unpredictability and the rapidity with which the company is expanding, it is necessary for the person to own the project in order to provide value proposals. A young, dynamic and technological person, in which we are able to trust in key situations, fits this profile.
After evaluating hundreds of profiles, these are the most valued competencies the candidates in our sales team must have. This category of sales staff has led us to sell more than 100 franchises in a single month and to expand the brand with more than 700 points in the Latin American market in just 9 months. Now you must find the key competencies that best suit your company and the product or service you offer, leading you to achieve success.
We all know that working in the sales area of a startup is not easy, but if you manage to build a small family of professionals that support the project, adopt the project as their own and put all their energy into working and growing you will be already be halfway there.