Hiring Inside Sales Reps

How to Assess and Hire Inside Sales Reps?

Published on November 30th, 2022


On average, inside sales roles have increased by 7% since 2015.

Unfortunately, the art of hiring great inside sales reps is often overlooked. Many businesses think that improved AI and data forecasting can optimize sales performance by transforming it from an art form into a science.

But, while it’s true that data can improve sales, it’s no excuse for failing to hire the right sales experience for your team.

Who is an Inside Sales Representative?

An inside Sales Representative is a salesperson who engages with customers and clients remotely or through the means of digital communication to sell their products or services.

Inside Sales Representatives may be responsible for qualifying inbound leads that have often been acquired through online campaigns, or they may undertake outbound campaigns where they will serve as the initial point of contact between the business and the prospect.

Inside salespeople, in contrast to outside salespeople, spend most of their day talking on the phone or sending emails. Along with helping consumers, it is their responsibility to use effective sales techniques and close deals.

Roles and Responsibilities of Inside Sales Reps

An inside sales representative has the following roles and responsibilities in a business setup:

  • Knows the product front and back to answer customer queries
  • Talking to customers and creating rapport
  • Responsible for closing deals and processing payments
  • Responsible for customer follow-up
  • Developing leads and referrals
  • Creating a personal marketing plan
  • Achieving monthly sales quotas
  • Has excellent oral communication and best practices in customer service when interacting with customers

CTA 5.png

How to Assess an Inside Sales Rep?

A salesperson needs to be competitive, resourceful, persuasive, competent, engaging, and intuitive in order to succeed in their industry. Let's explore some approaches for assessing and hiring qualified applicants for your inside sales team

Look for Competent Reps

To begin with, you must determine the candidate’s competency. Since rejection is a common occurrence in the sales industry, it's critical to assess how well each candidate handles rejection and if they are able to quickly bounce back.  Using situational interview questions is a great tactic to gauge this and other competencies.

You can also evaluate a candidate's sales abilities by having them do a simulated sales call or give a sales pitch for your product. This can demonstrate the candidate's capacity for persuasion and their ability to work under pressure.

Experience vs. Potential

You may get candidates with shimmering resumes, who may look appealing, but remember it is the record track that matters. The sales industry is highly cutthroat. It calls for seasoned professionals who can handle pressure while providing outcomes consistently and negotiating challenging situations.

Having said that, a fantastic applicant doesn't always have to have experience. Just because a candidate has years of experience in the field doesn't mean you should hire them. Instead, focus on figuring out whether the individual has a strong sales DNA. They can be trained to succeed in your organization whether or not they have the experience if they have the correct abilities and traits.

Hire applicants with a strong commitment and desire to succeed

How badly a salesperson wants to succeed in sales can be the deciding factor in their performance. Find applicants who have a strong drive to perform at a high level and the dedication to go above and beyond to succeed in sales.

A salesperson who gives up when the going gets difficult is the last thing you need. This means that in addition to being persuasive, a good salesperson must also be persistent and patient. It's critical to determine whether or not your sales candidate possesses these traits.

You can quickly have a demotivated employee in your hands if you recruit someone who does not exhibit perseverance in the face of failure.

Gauge their Listening and Questioning Skills

A sales representative is one who can sell consultatively, using active listening and questioning techniques to identify the prospect's problems and challenges and then develop a unique solution to meet those needs. Pay attention to elements like the following to determine whether your candidate has the necessary skills:

  • Are they able to maintain eye contact during the interview?
  • Are they easily distracted by background activity?
  • Do they keep interrupting you?
  • Have they followed instructions throughout the application and interview process?
  • Do they ask great follow-up questions to get more information?

Make sure they are Coachable

Candidates who are coachable will accept accountability for their decisions, whether or not they are successful. They will acknowledge that there is room for development and be receptive to helpful criticism. Candidates who are not coachable might find it difficult to adapt to your sales environment and apply new systems and practices.

This could have a detrimental effect on both your sales culture and performance. Ask the prospect about their prior failures and how they were able to move on and get better to see if they would be coachable. You can also inquire about the candidate's present sales problems and what they are doing to strengthen them.

Use Pre-employment Skill Assessments

You can make use of the widely available AI-based pre-employment assessment tools to assess your candidate efficiently and effectively. This will save a ton of your time and give you unbiased results and feedback on the candidates. 

Inside Sales Representative Interview Questions

Apart from the above-mentioned approaches, you can also ask these questions to assess your candidate for the inside sales rep job:

  • What abilities and personality attributes make you a good inside sales representative?
  • How would you describe our product as an inside sales representative?
  • How do you respond to a customer's objections?
  • How do you determine when to stop trying to sell a potential consumer our product?
  • Which of your sales as an inside sales representative was the most fruitful?
  • How can the target market for a good or service be identified?
  • Which data entry software do you use to monitor sales?
  • How do you think our company can improve our sales strategy?
  • Why do you want to work here as an inside sales representative?
  • Describe a situation when you didn’t meet your sales target. How did you handle it?

Strategy for Hiring Inside Sales Reps

Here is a foolproof plan for you to employ while recruiting an inside sales rep.

Establish your ideal inside sales rep

Consider the qualities you are looking for in a sales representative as a start. This will be greatly influenced by the kind of your company, the goods or services it provides, and the market it serves. If you're a founder and you hire a sales rep, that person will be selling directly on your behalf, so consider these questions:

  • Who are your clients, and who is your target market?
  • What level of expertise is required to offer your goods or services?

With the answers to these questions, you should be able to loosely define what your ideal salesperson will look like. It might be someone with intricate knowledge of a certain industry or market, someone with experience selling a certain kind of product, or someone who knows how to interact with a certain kind of customer.

Write a compelling job posting

Once you've given due scrutiny to the characteristics of your ideal inside sales representative, it's time to create a job description that will draw in candidates that fit that profile.

It's more difficult than it appears to get this right. While 72% of managers claim that they provide clear job descriptions, only 36% of the candidates agree to it. 

Offer competitive compensation

You can entice the best sales rep to join your company by providing a competitive compensation package. Keep in mind that you are selling the position to candidates just as much as they are selling you their relevant talents. When job candidates are pleased with the positions being offered to them, great matches occur.

Construct a comprehensive pre-employment skills assessment

Despite the rise of skills-based recruiting, traditional CV-based hiring practices continue to be the most common.

CVs can only tell you about the experience and education of your candidates. They can't help you reliably measure skills, they're wide open to hiring bias, and they can't predict job success.

Making a thorough pre-employment evaluation and delivering it to your applicants will give them the opportunity to demonstrate their skills rather than simply tell you what they are good at.

Online tests level the playing field for your candidates, allowing you to assess their talents in a data-driven, scientific manner.

Interpret the Results

You can evaluate and analyze the results after your candidates have finished their assessments to develop a shortlist. Based on the average scores, you may quickly identify who your top candidates are.

Interview the Shortlisted Candidates

The next step is to interview each potential sales representative.

Consider what you want to obtain from the interviews, keeping in mind that the results of your candidates' assessments will provide you a thorough picture of their strengths and limitations. Are there any notable gaps in their sales knowledge that you want to interrogate? Is there anything else important to your business, perhaps market-specific knowledge, that you want to measure?

You can also include the interview questions discussed above at this step.

Conduct an effective onboarding process

When an applicant accepts your job offer, the hiring process is not over. You must successfully onboard your first sales representative.

Employee onboarding is essential for assisting them in adjusting to their new workplace and settling into their new role. It's worthwhile to devote some time and money to creating an effective onboarding plan because the rewards are significant when done effectively.

Concluding Thoughts

While great talent exists, sales is a hyper-competitive job market with a relatively high turnover rate.

If you’re willing to make a competitive offer, you can likely find sales talent with your preferred competencies and fill your sales positions quickly.

However, you should also be prepared to address the churn that comes with the profession and take steps in order to boost retention.

When you find the right candidate and you’re prepared to invest in their personal development, it makes sense to keep them on your team as long as possible.

That’s especially true since it’s estimated that the cost of directly replacing an employee can be as high as 50% to 60% of an employee’s annual salary.

Hiring salespeople is tough, but keeping them is harder. Don’t let your hard work during the recruiting process go to waste.

Sales Hirng



Radhika Sarraf

Radhika Sarraf is a content specialist and a woman of many passions who currently works at HireQuotient, a leading recruitment SaaS company. She is a versatile writer with experience in creating compelling articles, blogs, social media posts, and marketing collaterals.

Scroll Image

Hire the best without stress

Ask us how

Never Miss The Updates

We cover all recruitment, talent analytics, L&D, DEI, pre-employment, candidate screening, and hiring tools. Join our force & subscribe now!

Like/ dislike something or want to co-author an article? Drop us a note!

Stay On Top Of Everything In HR