How do I find a sales person?
I know a lot of people here think that you just put up Google Ads, wait for clicks, and then wait for sales, but I think sales is an important task. Following up with potential clients after they get a free trial, solving their problems, etc. Especially with a relatively small niche, very vertical, and B2B, I think sales is extremely important.
I do it all myself right now, which is fine because I am the founder of the company and I know the product inside and out, but I don't feel like I am born salesperson. Plus, I am running short of hours in the day.
Say I wanted to find a sales person in my area.. where would I look? Would a salesperson want to work on straight commission to start? Or maybe some kind of trial basis?
This is an interesting project and socially conscious, so there may be people willing to take a bit of a pay cut to work in this niche. Though I think a good salesman could do very well with the business because there are no direct competitors.
This is a SaaS so there is only a small upfront sale and then a continuing long term, per-month charge for customers. How do you structure a commission arrangement for this sort of business?
So, in summary:
-how to find a salesperson?
-how do I pay a salesperson?
If I were to change anything about our business (started in 2003) it would be to hire a full-time salesperson right from the start. In our business (non-medical in-home care for Seniors and professional advice for their families), referrals from other professionals are the key to driving sales, especially at first. Having a good website helps us also, but if we had hired a salesperson in 2003 instead of 2009, I speculate that our revenues would be as LEAST two to three times what they are now, and probably more.
In our case, when we did finally decide to hire, we sent out emails to hundreds of local and not-so-local people that we know in the business, telling them what we wanted to do and asking them to refer prospective salespeople to us. Ultimately, one of those referrals worked out and now we have a terrific salesperson working for us.
Just since last fall when she started, our revenues are up over 66% and a good part of that is due to her work (with the balance attributable to our website generating inquiries plus our own clients referring other new clients to us).
In our case, we pay the salesperson a fixed base salary. Eventually, we want to have her on a part base, part bonus structure. That will be tricky to do, though, because we want her to be motivated to support the efforts of everyone in the office, and everyone in the office supports sales coming from all sources, not just her. In a small company, she wears a few other hats part of the time and so we need to make sure that we don't want to make her think that we will pay her extra to do something that is dysfunctional for everyone else.
No great salesperson is going to work for you unless they can make a lot of money. Salespeople are not naturally the type who will take great risk unless there is great reward. Entrepreneurs are different, they will do something because they think it is "right" or something they are passionate about.
My suggestion is to keep doing it yourself until you can offer more money or get a business-oriented co-founder whose can take the sales role from you.
If the pass the test of muster (which you carefully construct and go through with them), once you've hired them, I would still set up some tests to make sure that they're following your guidelines and expectations in the field (maybe throw them some leads who are friends of yours, and get an assessment of how they did). I think it's within reason - you need to see how they're doing in the field so you can get your ROI, and you have to make sure that they're representing your service with a proper and professional full work week. I'll give it four p's - presentation, preparation, professionalism and being proactive. The right person will be doing these things consistently.