In large companies, the recruitment of sales people has become more scientific. With the latest statistics, personality profiles, proven orientation programs and effective use of LinkedIn, large paper companies can usually find and hire successful candidates.
Not so much for small and medium enterprises (SMEs). Although they have tools such as LinkedIn, small business recruiters do not typically have the experience, infrastructure, and institutions to hire candidates as successful salespeople. In their struggles, SMEs tend to make the following mistakes:
1. Recruitment of large companies
SME recruits often assume that if a salesman in a large company (such as IBM or Goldman Sachs) succeeds, he will also succeed for a smaller one. These salespeople would however “probably be their new job with a question like” Happy to be here! “Where are the Business Support Teams?” According to Ram V. Iyer, President of the Princeton-based The Midmarket Institute, newly hired employees have difficulty with unknown tasks, such as business research and development. ‘competition analysis.
To avoid this error, SMB recruiters must define the full range of tasks that each sales position involves. You should then look for candidates who have completed these tasks or who have the ability to learn them quickly.
2. Define “sales stars”
SME recruiters often seem to believe in the horrible myth that “a great salesman can sell anything to anyone”. In fact, salespeople who are really good at a given job rarely succeed in selling a different type of product or in another sales environment.
“The sales stars are more like idiots, which are absurdly good for a certain type of sale and not much more,” says Howard Stevens, former CEO of Chally Worldwide Business Training Company. “The expectation that a” sales star “can also succeed in another role is similar to the hope that a top basketball star will play football.”
To avoid this error, SME recruiters should look for successful candidates through perseverance and training, rather than candidates who are natural “stars”. Since these “above average” sellers are more intellectually flexible, they can be recycled for a wider variety of sales positions.
3. Ignore the adjustment of the culture
Robert I. Sutton, co-author of Scaling Up Excellence: Achieving More Results Without Dealing With Reality Less to Decide.
For example, I have seen more than one medium-sized hi-tech company hire slick sellers (the kind that wears three-piece suits), although their culture is strictly athletic shoes and hoodies. Even if they are talented salespeople, unsuitable newcomers can “undermine the culture and brand that the company wants to build and project,” says Sutton.
To avoid this error, SME hiring agents should interview sellers – even those who sell in remote areas – with the same attention to the “cultural skills” they grant to candidates who will be working at head office.
4. Reassign engineers to sales
As outside hiring can be dangerous (as noted in the errors above), some SME recruiters conclude that it is better to hire their salespeople from their existing workforce.
In general, this recruitment strategy means that second-rate engineers become sellers rather than firing them. It rarely works because “most engineers do not have basic sales capabilities and they have a vague idea of how to communicate with customers,” says Iyer.
To avoid this error, SME recruiters should only recruit if a person has already demonstrated the relevance of selling and, ideally, the ability to do so. For example, when I was working as an engineer early in my career, I was so frustrated by the inability of our sales team to sell the software I made and sold a copy to Lockheed Martin. As such, I would have been an ideal candidate to move to a sales position and, shortly thereafter, get into marketing.
5. Overloading vendors with Tech
Because they have so many problems in recruiting salespeople, SMEs often try to compensate for this by implementing sales technologies such as CRM, hoping that they will provide the consistency and structure needed to improve the success of sales. candidates. Unfortunately, sales technology is a good investment only if sales people have good sales skills.
For example, “If you simply invest in a better generation of prospects without harassing salespeople’s skills, you’ll be throwing money out the window,” says Michael Pedone, CEO of SalesBuzz.com. “The world is full of unprepared sellers who abuse prospects.”
To avoid this error, SMEs should first focus on recruiting qualified salespeople and then invest in programs to train them to sell effectively to the SME target audience. Only when the SMB has formed a trained team will it need to invest in sales technology to make the team more efficient.
6. Provide inadequate business training
Larger companies generally have established and proven procedures for updating new suppliers. In contrast, SMEs often find that “the integrated sales staff has it all wrong,” according to Joanne Black, the author of the bestseller No More Cold Calling. “They flood the hiring of product details, game books, and then release them,” she says.
To avoid this error, SMEs should “train new employees for the ideal target customer of the company, what are their problems, what is it about being in the person and what they want to hear from a seller, “says Black. “They have to learn and practice how to conduct a business conversation with their ideal prospects.”