Many of our clients are struggling to hire sales professionals.
A few weeks ago, one of my clients observed that “all the good ones are taken.”
If this is something you’re experiencing, know that you are not alone.
According to Gartner:
- Organizations are grappling with a talent shortage with 78% of CSOs indicating that it is difficult or somewhat difficult to attract high-quality sales candidates.
- 54% reporting regrettable seller attrition above target.
- On average, there are only three available candidates per open B2B sales job posting, and job postings stay open for an average of over two months.
You can read the full article here: The Looming Sales Talent Crisis
So, if you need to hire salespeople, what should you do?
Our first piece of advice when it comes to making ANY hire is to have a solid hiring process. You can find our Family Business Hiring Process here: 12 Steps to Finding, Hiring, and Onboarding Top Talent
In this article, we’re going to do a deep dive into the first step, which is to define the job requirements and develop an ideal candidate profile.
How to Develop an Ideal Candidate Profile
Consider the best sales consultants you currently have on your team now. What makes them great?
Make a list of their qualities. Consider:
What qualities would make them a great fit for your culture? How would you know that they are aligned with your goals?
Consider things like their values and personality.
Relevant Sales Experience
What experience and qualifications would the ideal candidate possess?
Do you need B2B experience or B2C? Do you need them to prospect? Or will they mostly handle inbound sales? What about relationship building, persuading, and closing?
Required Product or Industry Knowledge
Is it essential that they have experience in your business? What knowledge do they need to already have?
Make a list. For example, if you were hiring for a construction business, they might need to know about things like construction materials, building codes, and technical specifications.
Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Skills
Proficiency in utilizing CRM software is important for managing and tracking customer interactions, leads, and sales opportunities.
Good candidates will either have used the same CRM you use in your company or have used a different CRM and are technically proficient enough to learn a new system.
Communication and Negotiation Skills
A B2B sales consultant should have excellent communication skills to effectively convey product information, negotiate pricing, and build rapport with clients.
Look for candidates who can handle objections and articulate ideas clearly, listen actively, and tailor their communication style to different stakeholders.
You want sales consultant candidates with a proactive approach to business development.
They should have the ability to identify and pursue new sales opportunities, cultivate relationships with potential clients, and expand the customer base.
Technical Knowledge & Expertise
Technical expertise allows the sales consultant to provide accurate product recommendations and address customer queries effectively. How much technical knowledge would they need to be successful in your company?
Depending on how technical the selling process is for your products, this might not be as important as some of the other qualities, such as sales skills.
Do you sell to clients with complex projects and unique challenges?
If so, look for candidates who demonstrate strong problem-solving abilities, the capacity to identify customer pain points, and the creativity to offer appropriate solutions.
Time Management and Organizational Skills
Will your consultants need to handle multiple accounts and projects simultaneously?
Effective time management and organizational skills are critical to ensure that sales processes are streamlined, deadlines are met, and customer relationships are properly managed.
Teamwork and Collaboration
Building strong relationships with internal teams is important for your sales consultant.
Look for candidates who can collaborate effectively, communicate cross-functionally, and work cohesively within a team environment while working remote from the office.
Successful sales consultants are driven by achieving sales targets and exceeding customer expectations. Look for candidates who are motivated, resilient, and have a results-oriented mindset.
Create a Scorecard for Interviewing
Once you have your completed profile list, develop it into a scorecard.
Use a 1-6 scale, that way there is no middle or average, they are either above average (4-6) or below average (1-3).
You can see an example that we use for hiring a CFO here: CFO Hiring Scorecard
Use the scorecard during your interview process to help you rank candidates fairly and make a good hiring decision.
You can also use the scorecard with your current sales consultants as part of their performance review.
Do your top performers score high on these qualities?
Hiring the right sales consultants is crucial to the success of your family business
Hiring the right sales consultants is crucial for any business, but it takes on particular importance for family businesses. Here are three reasons why:
1. Protection of the Family Legacy and Reputation
Your sales consultants represent the family business to clients and prospects.
If they don’t uphold the values, service levels, and reputation that the family business stands for, it can erode the trust and legacy that took years, or even decades, to establish.
An adept sales consultant will respect the history and emotional value embedded in a family-run enterprise.
2. Close-Knit Business Structure
Unlike larger corporations, family businesses often operate with a closer-knit team. This means there’s limited room for errors, and each role is crucial to the business’s overall success.
Sales consultants in family businesses often need to interact closely with their teammates, including family members.
Hiring the right individuals ensures smoother internal communications, fewer conflicts, and a more harmonious work environment.
3. Long-term Growth and Sustainability
Family businesses, by their nature, tend to focus on long-term growth and stability rather than short-term profits. This means sales strategies need to be sustainable and focused on building lasting client relationships rather than quick wins.
The right sales consultant will prioritize customer relationships, loyalty, and trust over immediate sales, ensuring that the business continues to thrive over time.
They understand that in family businesses, a sale isn’t just a transaction – it’s an extension of a relationship that has been nurtured over time and is expected to continue well into the future.
Would you like some help with hiring?
Ferguson Alliance offers experienced advisors who can guide you through the hiring process, ensuring you find the right candidate who meets your specific requirements.
To learn more, book a call with one of our advisors: Book a Call