Hiring New Sales Guys Is Like Magic - This Is Why You Need an Updated Strategy!

Berlin CEOs — we go through this together.

This article originally had been published on salesmarshal.com
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Berlin is the German capital of the startup economy. Everyone drives towards scaling his or her business, growing the company’s platform and user base, increasing sales and revenue. More significant investments are pouring into the region; the uprise of the economy is the engine for more sales jobs.

Especially in the B2B product lines, the key to growth often goes through hiring more sales talents, whom all drive revenue and contributing to EBITA. No matter if hunting larger SMBs or Fortune 500 companies; growth is made possible by attracting and developing talented- and hungry sales professionals. Hence most of the developing startups go through a period of growth-pain. Not that the talents scouts are unable to spot talent; competition for great performer has grown tremendously. It used to be a war for IT skills to build the backbone of the business. The wave will soon hit the front end of the business, if not done already. The ultimate goal of every business, to increase sales revenue and to become profitable.

The illusion of making your business attractive to everyone…

It is not enough to offer weekly baskets of fresh fruits and weekly lunches; after-work beer and hippy soft drinks are becoming a commodity. I have seen a company which has replaced their water cooler with a wine cooler, and another New York business offers 28 brands of breakfast cereals. I have seen black jack tables and ice cream machines, and we all understand that you want to become an attractive place to work at and create an atmosphere which fosters creativity. Your efforts are the oil of the engine to keep on staying great as a business. Also, it may reflect the dream of creating a company which everyone likes to be working.

…and why it will not work for sales candidates.

As much as sales people enjoy the gimmicks and passion of your business, their number one thrill is measures in closes, kills, and numbers at the end of each month; and expressed on the commission reports. Sales people are entrepreneurs playing their own game within their reality. Of course, they also take part in team play and enjoy a great business environment as everyone else does. On top of your exceptional culture in your business, you need to create those well-paid exceptions to reward outstanding sales success.

The challenge in selecting talent

The difficulty when searching for talented sales professionals is picking the great from the mediocre. For every great candidate, 5–7 candidates are jumping on the band wagon of mediocrity. They are coming along for the ride, and may increase the total number of sales, but pull down the average performing KPIs. Whenever you are adding people to your sales floor, you will notice that the ramp up period for new seller increases over time. Obviously there are several reasons why this is happening, but in general whatever you have perceived as a regular sales performance in the past, will become exceptional in the months to come.

The reality of your sales floor

When your business starts selling, the first few people joining your sales team have the advantage of the lower hanging fruits. They also approach as many best-suited prospects as possible, to build their pipeline. On many occasions, there are fantastic commissions to be made in the beginning, until you decide to mainstream you remuneration plan for the employees to come. When you choose to pump in a new blood of additional sales professionals, you also increase the fight for leads and prospects. The “older” seller who may already maintain a network of clients will start to live off referrals from their base, as new seller force their way into the market. Inbound leads will often go to the highly decorated veteran, instead to the rookie, who needs to provide proof of performance before earning himself incoming leads. The experienced seller gets richer, while the newbies will need to work double as hard, to catch up on performance. Ramp-up will slow down as a consequential law of every sales operation.

How to master the challenge:

How to staff up your sales floor, without slowing down average performance? You need a larger lead base, to replicate earlier success. For every generation of hiring new seller (not just a specific cohort of a particular starting date), you need to broaden or shift your target audience and ideal prospects. When you were selling to SMB, start selling to enterprises hiring a new generation of sales professionals who are equipped to succeed in that matter. When you were addressing the automotive industry, the newer generation may focus on banks and insurance companies. When you were selling into a particular region, an English speaking country, bring other markets into the mix, like Germany, France or Italy. You soften internal company competition and avoid that older seller start playing unfair, to secure their lead base (and future income).

In any case, working with an unlimited supply of prospects, like selling into a large pool of SMBs or when selling into a very selective group of potential clients, it is vital to share best practice across the team. I am not talking about the single best tip of your highly decorated seller; I am referring to a detailed session. Most people will tell you that the reason they were successful early on was due to their belief in the product and their activity, addressing many prospects.

To be telling the truth — they simply didn’t know better. There had been no benchmark, nor negative influencers, not many failures or drop outs. All of them had no clue, supported and helped each other. They also learned during this process. Every wrong action, misused arguments or ineffective questions provide valid feedback. In those times when you are raiding through an enormous lead base, you can adapt and turn your tide to become successful.

Remember, the person or species which adapt to changes will be a success. Much activity helps during the process because a high number of leads provide the opportunity to make it better in your next calls, the one after and the other hundred you are doing next week. If you need to cherry pick leads, you do not have the opportunity for trial and error while sitting on a significant burn rate.
On a side note, did you ever hire an experienced seller, who has been around the block and knows what he is doing? How many of those were able to replicate their success for your business? 
Instead of shielding your best performing seller, not to lose their commissions and lacking performance, you need to over share their daily activities, and their know-how they were applying their experience throughout the day. The better you bring that knowledge to as many people as possible, the more you can speed up development of the youngsters. In fact, imagine you would tape every sales call, and analyze each one of them thoroughly, to build conversions and KPIs, you could create a sales pitch, based on conversions. It would adapt to changes in the market, and always stay up-to-date.

As long as there is no system doing that for you, we like to offer act as a medium, to transfer experience and knowledge across your team. Our duty is to increase average sales performance, bringing it to the next level. Contact me today, to find out how we can help you make more sales with your business.