How to hire a salesperson

How to Assess & Hire a Salesperson?

Published on November 9th, 2022


Be it cookies baked fresh from the oven or the software that works as the lifesaver to your business venture, at some point if you have something to sell, you definitely need a salesperson.  Either you have to be a salesperson or you need someone who has the sales persona that has cracked the code to sell what you have. And, there is a big difference when selling software and selling cookies. So, there is a lot to look out for when hiring the right salesperson or putting together a strong sales team. Before getting into all these specifics, let's start with ‘A’ and walk through the rest.

Who is a salesperson? What is a salesperson’s job?

A person whose duty it is to sell goods or services in a specific area, whether in a physical location or over the phone. When contextualizing a B2B service, a salesperson or a sales representative is an expert who contacts and develops connections with business decision-makers in order to market a product or service as software.

There is an obvious set of qualities that a sales representative should have. However, while hiring a salesperson, you should first chalk down which kind of role you are hiring for. Although the one-word intent for the sales team is to sell, the number of roles in a sales team is as follows:

  • Sales development representative (SDR)
  • Inside sales representative
  • Outside sales representative
  • Account executive (AE)
  • Account manager
  • Sales manager
  • Customer success manager (CSM) 
  • Sales engineer
  • Sales operations manager
  • Regional sales manager
  • Director of sales
  • Vice president (VP) of sales
  • Chief sales officer (CSO)

How to hire a good salesperson?

There is a basic set of skills that a salesperson has right from the get-go and these are nonnegotiables. If you are just looking for a quick glance of what is required for a sales rep, here’s what you should be looking for.

  • Communication: Any salesperson must be able to communicate effectively (verbally and in writing) in order to promote the goods of your business.
  • Setting goals: Strong candidates show that they have established and met goals, such as sales quotas.
  • Presentation: People with strong presentation abilities are especially important to inbound sales teams as they make product pitches.
  • Research: Those who are good at research will be able to prospect effectively and demonstrate a thorough understanding of their potential customers by examining written correspondence using the first emails.

    If you are looking for a more descriptive understanding of how to evaluate a sales representative, the following read will be quite helpful.

How to evaluate a salesperson: The sales representative’s non-negotiables

Sales is never an easy job, and it's always as unpredictable as ever. However, to not make it harder, there are a handful of points a hirer can tick through. Here are a few aspects that need to be checked when hiring any sales representative.

1. Verbal communication

The salesperson’s quality you are looking for:

After the initial email correspondence, a phone interview is a useful way to find out more about the candidate's communication style. Candidates should ideally be able to succinctly and clearly describe their prior experience selling goods or services. If not, this is a warning sign because it means they don't conduct enough introspection and are more focused on getting recruited than providing you with dependable information about how they'll increase sales. 

As an alternative, you can use video conferencing software to advance this process by first evaluating what you both see and hear. Couple it up with a skill assessment software like the one HireQuotient has to offer and you have yourself the most foolproof solution to test out your candidate. Sales-related skills assessment questions can also be created and curated to test out your candidates, but with companies that have expertise in the field like Hirequotient, which updates and upgrades their repository of questions, you can focus on other aspects that need your attention.

How to evaluate a salesperson’s verbal prowess?

Ask yourself, if the applicant has the ability to clearly, succinctly, and logically express their experience and reply to inquiries.

2. Narrative and social selling abilities

The salesperson’s quality you are looking for: Compelling storyteller who can connect the requirements and convince the customers of results.

Although "social selling" is a relatively new term in the sales lexicon, many of the underlying ideas have been around for years. Whether you work in B2B or B2C, it offers the chance to expand your network and forge meaningful contacts that could result in new business.

Great salespeople are forward-thinkers who can use their listening abilities to craft pertinent tales to illustrate their points. They employ this talent when observing the concerns and triggers of their clients. The fact that they may later turn this into value propositions based on those shared interests is helpful.

Once the customer has overcome the initial contact barrier, a great narrative enables them to emotionally connect with their potential customers. The most effective salespeople are adept at conveying emotions through comedy, excitement, and empathy.

The potential attribute you're analyzing is: Possibility of developing an engaging story to support value propositions in a sale

How to evaluate a salesperson’s capability to convince and compel the customer?

Ask yourself if the applicant demonstrates an aptitude for developing enthralling stories around value propositions.


3. Active and attentive listening capability

The salesperson’s quality you are looking for: How well do they listen to the customer’s requirements? 

It's a good idea to get a candidate out of the office setting for a coffee talk (or virtual coffee chat) to gauge their active listening skills once they have advanced to the next stage or the "on-site" interview (whether virtual or in person).

Finding precise phrases or problems that indicate a prospect's needs requires this ability. Great salespeople may do this by structuring conversations well, encouraging prospects to open up more, and cultivating trust and commitment.

When conversing, be mindful of those who lack self-awareness or an open mind. These personality types might struggle to move prospects through the sales funnel.

The potential attribute you're analyzing is: the capacity to pay attention to, recognize, feel empathy for, and address the needs of customers

How to evaluate a salesperson’s ability to be an active listener?

Evaluate if the applicant addresses client concerns in a way that inspired faith and trust.

4. Sharp attention to detail

The salesperson’s quality you are looking for: You're analyzing a candidate's objection management skills, or their capacity to creatively and boldly respond to pushback.

They are constantly interested in the viewpoints of others and eager to pick up knowledge from their experiences. Instead of making assumptions that would harm their chances of making sales, they make inquiries. When faced with a dilemma, they use their motivation and creativity to come up with original solutions by considering many options. If your salesmen will eventually be working remotely or without much in-person supervision, it is even more crucial to evaluate these attributes sooner rather than later.

How to evaluate a salesperson’s rebuttal?

Understand if the applicant demonstrates originality and self-assurance in managing objections during the role-playing exercise.

5. Homework or in-person evaluation

The salesperson’s quality you are looking for: complete balance of all the skills mentioned above

Examine the precise talents required for the position once a candidate has advanced to the center of your interviewing procedure.

Start with a workout they can perform at home if that makes sense for the role. Give them a written exercise, for instance, if you're employing a business development representative who will spend much of their time emailing and prospecting.

How to evaluate a salesperson’s overall capability?

Ask the candidate to consider this scenario. You are employed by a B2B IT shop that is introducing its newest product to the market: A laptop with 256 GB of RAM and 5 TB of storage. Make a list of five people that fit the ideal client profile for the product. Or if it's a SaaS product pick out a software of your choosing and appropriate the exercise accordingly

It’s not an easy task to pick the right salesperson for your product. Nonetheless, there has to be a starting point for everything. This basic set of evaluation options is more than enough to get you on the right track. To make a more fool-proof system, reach out to the experts at HireQuotient, be it that superstar sales rep or any other position you want to look for, HireQuotient has a skill assessment and a video assessment for everyone.

P.S. Even if you are new to this, we have experts who will help you create a roadmap that can ease out the harsh burn and learn

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Thomas M. A.

A literature-lover by design and qualification, Thomas loves exploring different aspects of software and writing about the same.

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