The key to growth is a strong sales team—but building that team can be a complex and time-consuming process. Hiring the wrong person can cost your business thousands of dollars, but if you get it right, you’ll see exponential gains. That said, recruiting sales reps doesn’t have to be complicated. This guide will explain how to hire a sales rep who has what it takes to succeed.
Why Should You Hire a Sales Rep in the First Place?
Hiring sales reps (when the time is right—more on that later) is one of the most important things you can do for your business. Why? They’re the ones who close sales and generate revenue!
Effective sales recruiting will lead to a team of good sales reps who generate much more revenue for your company than they take in salary and commissions. That’s because skilled salespeople dramatically increase your company’s ability to convert prospects and close deals.
That sounds great, right? But before you start building your sales team, you need to be sure that your company is ready to put that team in a position to succeed.
When to Hire a Sales Rep
If you’re looking to make your first sales hire, the answer to this question isn’t cut-and-dry. But you must get the timing right. If you hire a sales rep too early in the process, you may be wasting resources that would be better spent elsewhere.
While there’s no straightforward formula, set amount of time, or amount of money earned that can tell you exactly when to hire your first sales rep, there are four milestones that may indicate that it might be time to begin hiring sales reps.
1. You have at least ten clients
With ten or more clients, you know that people are willing to buy your product. It also shows that you know how to sell your product and that you have an effective sales process in place.
Of course, 10 isn’t a magic number. Consider the other factors on this list, along with your business as a whole, to make your final decision. For example, if other metrics (e.g., a high volume of inbound leads) indicate that there’s a strong demand for your product, you may decide that you’re ready to begin building out your sales team.
On the other hand, you may have 20 customers, but if they’re not using your product or service at all, you might want to work on developing a more compelling offering before you begin hiring sales reps.
2. You have product-market fit
It’s important to know that you have a product or service that people want and that the market is large enough to make your business viable. If there isn’t enough demand for your product in its current form, hiring a sales rep will exhaust resources that could otherwise spend on researching the market and adjusting your product to meet the needs of that market.
3. You have a working sales process
Before you hire your first sales rep, it’s essential to have a process in place to provide them with the direction and resources they need to sell your product or service. At a minimum, you’ll need to provide:
- Education on your company, your offering, and the markets you serve
- Your ideal customer profile and buyer personas
- A list of realistic expectations and KPIs
Ideally, you’ll also be able to provide your new sales hire with:
- Effective messaging
- An explanation of key activities at each sales cycle
- A list of common objections and how to respond
- Marketing collateral
The more of these items you have in place, the more likely it is that your new sales rep will be able to hit the ground running. If you hire a sales rep without having a firm foundation in place, you may find that you’re spending too much time training your sales team and that it’s taking focus away from other areas you need to concentrate on.
4. You have an effective lead generation strategy
If you’re having trouble keeping up with the volume of inbound on your own, then it’s about time to hire your first sales rep. But if you’re not generating enough leads to keep your current team busy, it’s probably a little early to begin building a team unless you’re going to have them focus on outbound sales.
When to Hire a Sales Rep If You Already Have a Team in Place
If you already have a sales rep or a sales team in place, it’s easier to determine whether it’s time to make a new hire. Here are three questions to ask yourself before hiring additional sales reps:
Is your current sales team maxed out?
Take a look at your current team’s numbers. Do you have enough leads to support additional sales reps?
What return are you getting on your current investment in sales?
When you’re building a sales team, you want to make sure that each team member is bringing in at least the same amount of money (ideally more) as they cost you in salary, benefits, commissions, etc.
If you’re spending more on your sales team than your salespeople are bringing in, then you need to figure out what’s going wrong. Stop hiring sales reps (unless you’re replacing an existing sales rep), and reassess your approach rather than adding new members to a system that isn’t working.
Do you have an effective training program in place?
Consider each sales rep an investment. Examine all the details that you would when making any other type of investment.
How much will they cost to train, how much will their software, training, and tools cost the business? What will it cost to generate the new leads that they’ll require? For a new hire to be successful, you have to invest in them—so you have to make sure you have the funds to do that.
Make Sure the Time is Right Before You Hire a Sales Rep
As with so many things in life, timing is everything when it comes to hiring sales reps. Hire too soon, and you could find yourself without the resources you need to meet your most important business goals. But, on the other hand, if you hire too late, you could struggle to meet demand.
After reading this guide, you may have decided that it’s not the right time to hire a sales rep. But ultimately, a strong sales team will become the lifeblood of your business. So when the time is right, make sure you find the best applicants and use sales assessment testing to ensure you’re only hiring the top candidates in your talent pool.