Trinamo Blog

Recruiting Sales People? Lose 1 year in the market if you get it wrong

Posted by Fiona Coughlan on Mar 28, 2017 4:11:07 PM

It’s not always the company with the best product that becomes the market leader; more often it’s the company with the best marketing and sales execution that wins. People are your greatest investment... and getting it wrong can be expensive in more ways than one. It all comes down to recruiting the right people, for the right roles at the right time - every time.

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Whether you’re an early stage business or a more established company, Trinamo believes you need systematic disciplined marketing and sales activity over time in order to get noticed and drive revenue growth. People, processes and organisation are the three essential components to drive activity and acquire customers. These three elements need to work together, if they don’t and one is sub optimal then all are affected.

People are the most expensive investment a business can make. Recruiting the wrong hires at the wrong time not only wastes money but results in lost (forever) customers. This can prevent a company from being first to market or becoming the market leaders. In marketing and sales, a wrong hire can easily cost you 6-12 months in the marketplace.

Below are Trinamo’s top tips to help you hire the right marketing and sales professionals to grow your revenue:

 

1) Plan out the number of hires

A coverage model is a great mechanism to help businesses map out when to invest. Use the annual business plan and apply some basic equations to identify how many marketing and sales people it will take to achieve the revenue goal. A typical assessment might look something like this:

  • “Net New” Annual sales target of £1m
  • · Average contract value of £50k
  • So net new customers needed = 20 within 12 months
  • · Lead conversion rate is 1 in 10
  • · Sales cycle is 3 months
  • · Average number of deals per sales person per year is 5

These metrics provide information to help model the additional marketing and sales resource required:

  • Marketing resource needs to deliver 200 top of the funnel contacts
  • A new business revenue target of £1m would need 4 new sales hires up and running from the first day of the financial year; assuming they are all fully productive… which may or may not be the case! Ensure you build in some resilience… assume your most productive sales person leaves. Never assume your under-performers will leave. It will be your top-performer that goes first and will be the hardest to replace…

This is a basic illustration of a more complex reality but even a simple assessment will help your company plan to decide when they should begin the recruitment process.

 

2) Hire the right skills

As companies evolve, why people buy from you and how you sell to them changes. What you need to do to be successful when you are a “start-up” is different to when you are an established brand, with a large customer base and market reputation. It’s important to understand the type of marketing and sales expert your company needs in order to grow.

behaviour staff knowledge.pngFor an early stage business, the founding team needs to expand. Often this first serious foray into recruitment can be a mine field. A common question we’re asked from founders and CEOs, “Why is hiring sales people is so hard?”

Firstly, sales people can sell themselves… always look at their performance record… What targets were they set, did they achieve them and if so, did they over achieve? Make sure any recruitment agency provides this detail.

Many early stage companies mistakenly recruit sales ‘farmers’ when they should be identifying sales ‘hunters’…. even with hunters, find ones who operate well in the early life stage of a company.

Another question to ask is; “Has this person any proven experience of successfully taking new, unknown brands, products and services to market and systematically growing sales?”  To grow a business, the hiring process needs to be as systematic and objective as the sales processes:

  • Think about whether you need an entrepreneurial hunter type or an empathetic key account manager.
  • Write an authentic job description and if possible benchmark it against industry best practice.
  • Have a standard profile for your ideal candidates.
  • Create an evaluation grid including soft skills and specific talent or experience you require.
  • Ensure there is a multi-stage interview process for each short listed candidate.
  • Use the multi stage recruitment process to determine whether or not the candidate is the correct fit for the company.

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3) Manage them!

Research last year by BambooHR, a software company, found that 31% of people have quit a job within the first six months – there were various reasons cited including – ‘Didn’t receive enough training (in other words, employees don’t want to be thrown to the wolves unprepared)’.

If hiring a sales manager, check and see if a candidate has managed sales people before? What was the performance of their team? It is one thing to be a great sales person, another to be a great sales manager…. think of sporting analogies; how many great team players go on to be great managers?

Sales management requires both hand-on selling but also coaching, mentoring, training and development of people. On top of that, for earlier stage businesses you will need them to help build out pragmatic sales processes, sales operations and sales enablement.

Do they have the skills, empathy and motivations to lead others… and the knowledge and willingness to introduce processes?

Good sales candidates are the most difficult to find and can, be some of the most expensive in more ways than one!

For any expanding business finding and keeping the right sales talent is an ongoing challenge. Getting it right is even more important for an early stage business with rapid growth aspirations or for an established businesses trying to juggle the ‘cash cow’ business with new ‘search’ stage strategies.

Bandwidth is the typical constraint but Trinamo can help with the first daunting sales hire by following our sales recruitment methodology to ensure you employ the right talent. Equally we can place interim staff for businesses that may want to ‘try before you buy’ - these experienced sales practitioners can be a safe pair of hands for a business to test a sales initiative before going to the expense of recruiting (the wrong) head count.

To find out more call +44 (0) 207 801 6309 or to book a free marketing and sales growth consultation click below. 

Free Marketing and Sales Growth Consultation

Topics: Trinamo's Top Tips