Allan is the CEO of a small technology consulting firm. He recently wrote:
“I don’t like to sell. I do it because I have to. I’d like to hire a salesperson to take this burden off me. Got any advice?”
Allan, you’re certainly not the only business owner who feels this way. I can’t tell you how many have approached me with wondering how they can hire a top notch seller who can immediately bring in business.
The truth is, you can’t. Top salespeople aren’t cheap. Nor do they have any desire to leave a proven career path to go to work for an emerging company where there’s no success path. And they won’t take a commission-only job; they want a decent base salary.
So you’ll likely end up hiring a B or even C-level salesperson – because that’s who you can afford. While these people have the POTENTIAL to be wildly successful, they cannot step in and deliver quick sales results.
And, unless you’re properly prepared to onboard them, you’ll spend tens of thousands of dollars before you see even a fraction of the contracts you were hoping for. In fact, you may finally fire them and have to start all over again.
In order for you to create an environment for sales success, you need to identify the formula first. Here are some questions you should get clear on before you hire a salesperson.
- What knowledge/expertise does your seller need in order to sound credible with potential decision makers?
- How will you get this person up to speed on this?
- What is your value proposition? Is it strong and compelling?
- Can you clearly articulate the business case for using your services?
- What does it takes to capture the attention of a corporate decision maker?
- What valid business reason can you give decision makers so that they’ll spend an hour of their precious time to meet with your or your salesperson?
- What is your typical sales process like?
- What supporting material do you have to help at each step?
- Do you have any thought leadership material that you’re already leveraging?
- If not, what can you do to prove the value of your expertise to decision makers who will invariably check you out online?
Get the picture? It’s not a matter of simply hiring a salesperson and turning him or her loose. You need to figure it out first – even if you don’t like sales.
A good salesperson is every much a professional as you are – and just as valuable. Make sure you give them the environment they need to success.
For more info, check out my book on Selling to Big Companies. Since it was written for consultants and entrepreneurs, you’ll find lots of good ideas in it. You can download the first two chapters on my website. Just click here now.