Hiring a good sales rep is extremely important when you're developing your business. It is first to find your focus - what you want your sales rep to do for you, whether it's product category or specific distribution channels. A good way to start is to make some research online, and look for qualified, experienced sales reps with the right expertise. Contact many sales reps, not just a few and you'll improve your chances of finding a suitable one.
After finding a sales rep, it is very important to train him/her properly and according to your company's needs. Sales reps need to know the product and its features really well. Be sure to prepare for them marketing materials, guides, etc. Also, don't think your work is done after you've hired a trained a sales rep. You need to do follow up and make sure the sales rep is showing results. Check your customers' reactions and see how the sales are going and whether they have improved since hiring the sales rep.
Here are a some worthy websites that could help you with your search:
How to hire a sales rep.
First of all, all sales reps were not created equal. Do not underestimate the importance of hiring the right person, for the right position, at the right time. With this, you should always be looking for someone who is "competent".
In order to find this "competent" person, you would first be required to understand what you need this person to do. Thus, start with the roles and responsibilities of the position.This then needs to be worked into the contract. Beware of "template contracts" its a good way to create a lot of unnecessary shit.
The cost of a good contract drafted by an excellent commercial lawyer will surely be worth it if you take into consideration the cost (both emotional and physical, not to mention time) of dealing with unsolved issues of a poorly drafted contract.
Point being, any good contract starts with risk management and duty specification.
Lets say this is sorted. And its only sorted when you CLEARLY know what you are looking for. You must know what the person must do, when they must do it and how they must do it.
Then you can network for the rep, headhunt or place an add.
In the interview, make sure you understand the potential rep's mental situation along with his or her physical situation. They may only want to do sales because they cant find any other work... if this is the case, beware! Are you there to train people or to hire the right person to get the job done?
Check a person's character by doing the research needed and check both good and negative history of the person. Nobody is perfect. Be aware of their imperfection at the beginning.
Be straight, to the point and assertive. Don't beat around the bush. Be clear on your expectations and MOST IMPORTANTLY I always tell people upfront before hiring them that I if I find that they are an asshole (consistently putting their needs and wants before the business, peers, clients, service providers) that I will fire them. I have the person agree to this. Otherwise most people wont be able to perform consistently.
Another thing that I do in interviews is to ask the applicant to explain his or her position in a story, one sentence or word. You will be amazed what you will hear and how much this will tell you about a persons personality.
One sales rep I worked with answered that he was a "Fireman" and true to his word, he was constantly looking for fires to put out everywhere in the office.
Another word of caution.
Never give a person a management position who only has theoretical knowledge, they are sure to decrease productivity by about 30% by simply being an asshole who constantly look over everyone's shoulder while creating bottlenecks and dead end meetings by simply trying to be useful.
Also. NB NB NB: Incentives. Create incentives that focuses on team performance not individual performance. If you reward individual superstars, you will be creating a system where you breed assholes who try to outperform each other. Its not worth it... and over the long term the company as well as productivity suffers as a result of it.
Also. NB NB NB: Sales targets. Dont set arbitrary sales targets. Set specific, clear goals that is attainable through ACTION. For example instead of saying sell 50 units, rather say Assist 300 Clients, Present 100 clients with your closing question and then make 50 sales.
It directs the attention of the sales rep onto the action that lead to results.
And lastly. Product knowledge. Competence is created through confidence in action taken. This requires a clear understanding of the product. Very important.
Hope this helped, good luck.
Good Sales Book References:
SalesDogs- Sorry cant remember
How to Sell your way through life. - Napoleon Hill
PS: Make sure your contract provides for a provision in employment where you have a month or two to see how the new rep performs, if they dont perform you should have the right to let them go without any trouble.
Overall it sounds as if you havent been in sales yourself, be sure you understand the foundation of good selling. You could otherwise be mislead by simplistic graphs and shit that makes things look good while not contributing to the bottom line.
Good Resources to understand sales.
One thing to remember is that sales is very different than marketing. I was recently doing a contract for a company that hired a sales rep at about the same time they hired me. The guy they hired was an OUTSTANDING sales rep. He took a company with no pipeline (no sales in the works) and created an flood of new business in less than 6 months. The owner of the business wanted this sales rep to build new marketing material. The sales rep was an incompetent marketing. His materials took for every to build and they were very bad.
The friction between the CEO and the sales rep over the marketing drove the sales rep out of the company. He is selling tons of software for someone else. Now the CEO has neither a sales rep or useful marketing material and the sales pipeline has dried up.
My husband works for an IT Consultancy and they have to find people willing and able to sell dry software products. The owner of his company has a litmus test pretty early on where they basically pretend to be disinterested by one of the candidates answers and then just politely cuts the interview short.
So what is your approach to sell into small companies?Candidate answers anything...
Oh, ok... well I think that concludes my questions. Thank you, we'll let you know.He expects a truly good salesman to fight for the interview the way he'd fight for a sale... If he gets no resistance and the candidate just leaves then he's an automatic disqualification. If he fights to stay in the interview or to get a follow up conversation w/ the owner then it keeps him in the running (It's also important with what tact the candidate fights... They want proactive, not predatory).
Make a salesman sell you on himself/herself!