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5 Things to Consider When Hiring Your First Salesperson

5 Things to Consider When Hiring Your First Salesperson

Is it time to hire your first salesperson? 


Maybe you’ve noticed that the referrals you’ve relied on for so long aren’t coming in as reliably as before. Or maybe you’ve realized that you can’t reach your ambitious growth goals without some help. 


Either way, you’re likely to be a little anxious. Hiring always comes with risks, and it’s time consuming and costly to recruit, interview and onboard. 


When you’ve never hired sales help, there are so many things to consider! How much commission should you pay? How long will it take to see results? How do you manage a salesperson? What do you need to provide for your sales hire to be successful? Do you need a hunter or a farmer? Or an inside or an outside salesperson?


Let’s break down some of those first sales hire concerns. 


Commission vs Salary


A full time salesperson in most major US cities will expect to earn a minimum base salary of $40k, plus commission. An experienced sales person will ask for a minimum of $60k and up, depending on the industry and the value of what’s being sold. That’s before you add on recruitment and onboarding costs and payroll taxes and benefits. Your full time salesperson will need to generate around $100k in new business for you to break even.


A lot of sales hiring novices believe the answer is to pay a low salary so that additional commission payments are based on results. A caution here – this can be appropriate in some industries where there is high demand and you’re essentially hiring an order taker. However, in any situation where the product or service is customized to any degree and building a relationship is necessary, a high commission weighting will not generate the results you expect. 


Salespeople who are compensated primarily on commission are unable to invest the time in developing relationships and serving your prospective clients. They need to put food on the table every month and that’s their focus.


How Long Will it Take to See Results? 


In short, much longer than you think! Too many people believe that hiring a salesperson will catapult their growth within weeks or months. 


If you have a full pipeline of prospects and a robust marketing strategy that continually delivers leads, you can expect your new salesperson to increase your close rate within the first few months.


If, however, you are expecting your salesperson to quickly dig up new opportunities from cold outreach, please adjust your expectations. Even top performers need some luck to find and connect with the client who needs your product or services at the precise moment they reach out. 


Smart prospecting strategies, experience and top notch sales skills will help, but they can’t create sales out of nothing. A little bit like a renovation project, expect them both to take longer than you had hoped!


Managing Your New Salesperson


If you’ve never worked in sales yourself, how do you know if your new salesperson is following the right sales process? How do you know if his/her activities are optimal for your industry? Managing a salesperson is not the same as managing an operations person. 


Depending on the product or service you’re selling and the experience level of your new hire, you may need to be more involved in managing than you had thought. Your new sales person may even need some training or coaching. Sometimes businesses hire an outsourced VP of Sales to help them manage their salespeople and provide the necessary training and guidance needed to each peak performance. 


Ingredients for Sales Success


There was a time when managers would give salespeople a telephone book and a telephone and tell them to get to work. Thankfully we’ve moved beyond that now!


For your new sales hire to find the greatest success, here are some things you’ll need to provide:


  • A clearly articulated value proposition – what do you do, for whom, and what is the outcome? 

  • Where do you see the greatest opportunities (sector, organization size, job role)? 

  • Social proof, success stories and testimonials

  • Marketing collateral

  • Access to a CRM

  • An email address and possibly a business card

Hunter, Farmer, Inside or Outside?


What kind of salesperson will generate the best results for your business? 


‘Hunters’ specialize in ferreting out potential prospects and introducing your organization to them. They’re excellent prospectors and they’re typically good at closing new business. 


‘Farmers’ are relationship builders. They build and deepen relationships and engender trust. They prospect too, but they tend to favor existing relationships. 


An ‘inside’ salesperson is someone who manages all their sales activities remotely. They’re typically telephone and email based, and don’t visit clients or prospects in person. Now that the world has embraced virtual meetings, an inside salesperson may be all you need. 


An ‘outside’ salesperson is one who primarily prospects in person. He/she attends in-person networking events, visits clients at their premises and travels within a geographic territory. 


Many sales roles for smaller organizations are a combination of hunter and farmer and often inside and outside too. As companies and their sales teams grow, these roles often become more specialized. 


OMG. It’s a ton of work to hire a new salesperson! You may not even be sure you can afford someone full time. 


Is it possible to hire a part time salesperson? Yes, but much more difficult and with all the associated recruiting and onboarding costs. 


There are turnkey options that may be worth considering. If you’ve hired a VA, a bookkeeper or someone to manage your social media accounts, why not hire an outsourced salesperson? 


The Ventas Group provides an easy entry into sales hiring with part time, outsourced solutions for B2B service-based businesses. Our experienced, US based salespeople are ready to go within two weeks, and you never have to worry about payroll taxes or benefits. 


Give us a call to see if you’re a good fit and get closer to reaching this year’s growth goals. 

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