A Six-Stage Hiring Process For Hiring a Sales Manager and Salespeople
Winning sales teams rarely arise by accident or luck; they are built by hiring well and developing your salespeople. They start by hiring a sales manager who understands how to use a proven process to hire the right salespeople and then follow it. The process we use was designed with core values at McCaw Communications.
McCaw Communications was a leader in the wireless industry before we all had iPhones. The number one core value at McCaw was to hire and develop good people, which I know they did because I witnessed the process as one of the people. In this article, we’ll focus on a hiring process focused on hiring the “right people” for your business and culture. When you find the right people, the development of these people will be easier and more effective.
We won’t cover how to prepare your company and sales culture in a way that will attract the people you want, but you can find this information in our book, Part-Time Sales Management. Your sales environment should have characteristics that attract team-oriented high performers. This link will help you assess your sales environment and will only take five minutes to complete. You’ll also receive a report with recommendations for improvements. Let’s get back to the hiring process.
At Sales Manager Now, we use a six-stage hiring process that has helped when hiring a sales manager and salespeople. Each step is essential, but even more critical is “how” you approach and work each step of this hiring process. Since most owners or managers don’t hire all the time, it’s hard to get practice, which makes it harder to get better.
Without a hiring process, it’s much easier to hire the first person that feels comfortable with you or is referred to you by a friend or colleague. You’ll like them, but they might not be who you need to build a high-performance team.
As always, if you need support or are seeking a Fractional Sales Manager, book a time with us, and we’ll do our best to help.
Stage 1: Document Your Expectations
- Job Description – This seems simple, but job descriptions in many small businesses are written based on who is hired instead of hiring for the job needed. You must create your job description in detail first before entertaining anyone. Far too often, interviewing starts before the job description is written, leading to a condensed verbal description of the job expectations. Here are the areas we included in the job descriptions:
- Title of the role
- Who they report to
- 3-5 Key responsibilities
- Remote or in the office
- Ramp up expectations
- Quarterly expectations
- Define Candidate Requirements
- Education – Make sure a degree is needed to perform well in the role before making it a requirement. You might miss out on some great people that never finished their schooling but started developing a great work ethic.
- Document Compensation Structure
- What will their annual goal need to be?
- What is fair annual compensation for this role at goal?
- Determine the best salary, commission, and bonus structure.
- Will you be offering other perks or benefits?
- Document the compensation plan and describe how and when they will receive payments.
- Develop Wiley Hiring Job Match Template – Sales success at other companies or industries is not necessarily a sure-fire indicator a person will be successful with yours. A quality full-person assessment geared toward sales is worth its weight in gold. Creating a template geared toward your company culture and position takes personality assessments to the next level. We use Wiley’s Profiles International PXT Select as our hiring tool. If you need help with building a template or ordering assessments, we can help.
- Develop an onboarding outline. Your outline should include all a new salesperson needs to know and learn to be successful and who will teach them. Finally, lay out a schedule and checklist.
Stage 2: Create an advertisement for the position
Be specific, share the compensation range, and don’t be shy about your company’s desirable qualities. Good people are looking for good places to work, not just a job or paycheck.
Money is always a consideration, but the environment will attract good people more than you might think, but you need to position it well, or they’ll never apply to find out. In other words, please don’t overlook this because it is so apparent to you, and use words that explain things to others that don’t know you.
You don’t want your advertisement to sound like all the other ads (team-oriented, hard-working, honest, no earning ceiling), or they’ll miss your intent. Include the following:
- Select the right title for your ideal candidate. Your job description can have the final title, but your advertisement could be more creative or use keywords to attract your desired candidate.
- Open with company core values, culture, vision, and history. Be creative in how you describe this. Don’t simply list your core values; tell a story or explain them. An example could be, “Our people like helping each other and will go above and beyond if it helps the team.” In this example, we are describing the team, not telling the candidate who they need to be. Candidates who value working with people like this will tend to act the same way. Try it.
- Include all or a portion of the job description. We are marketing, so this is a marketing decision. If the details are essential to filter some people out, include more. If the role is typical, keep it short in your advertisement.
- Include the salary and on-target earnings OTE, so they understand the potential on goal.
Stage 3: Create An Online Survey for Candidates to Complete
We often use hiring boards like LinkedIn, Indeed, or Zip Recruiter to reach our candidates. They provide a form of organizing the hiring process and using qualifying questions, but they could be more robust.
We like to create our online survey as the beginning of our interview process and a qualifying tool. We use Zoho Survey, but any survey or form tool can work. The survey intends to weed out auto-robot applicants and those who will not invest the time to learn about our role and share their thoughts in the written word.
The survey interview also lets us know how well they write, which is critical in today’s selling world. We also ask they upload a cover letter directed toward our role and what we offer to learn if they have done any homework.
Our time is too valuable to weed through useless resumes, and this part of our hiring process eliminates the majority of unqualified candidates. In addition, the candidates you are looking for appreciate an organized approach as it’s communicating to them how organized your company is. Your survey should include the following:
- What contact information do you want?
- What qualifying criteria, such as experience, education, or _____, should you ask?
- 10-15 Questions to gain insight into how the candidate has responded to specific scenarios.
- The last question should be asking for their questions. What people ask tells us a lot about them.
- Ask them to upload a Cover Letter and a Resume through the survey to keep it simple.
- Decide who will be receiving the surveys.
- Determine the timeline for responding to their questions from the online interview.
- Determine how long the candidate will need to wait to be notified if they are selected for an interview.
- Set up an automatic email letting them know you received their survey, when you will answer their questions, and if they are selected for an interview. This way, you do not need to follow up with them if you choose not to meet them. Make sure you answer their questions regardless of whether you will interview them. It proves your integrity.
You will link the survey to your company website job posting described later.
Stage 4: Create a Hiring Page on Your Company Website
This hiring process will be using the candidate hiring platforms to attract talent but NOT using their organizing and communication tools. To accomplish this, you need the job description posted on your website so you can direct candidates from the hiring platforms to your webpage. Your survey link will be at the bottom of your job description. Include the following on this web page:
- Job Title
- Full Job Description
- Qualifying criteria
- Compensation described
- How to apply instructions
- Link to Online Interview
- Use this page link with the hiring platforms. Direct the here to apply.
Stage 5: Post on Job Boards and Share with Contacts
- Select the best boards for your area and the role being posted. LinkedIn is best for a more professional role or requires more experience. There are many options; here are some we use. LinkedIn, Indeed, Zip Recruiter, Craigslist, and Others
- Post the advertisement you created on the platforms you choose.
- CHECK THE BOX OR GIVE INSTRUCTIONS TO APPLY ON THE COMPANY WEBPAGE
- DO NOT ACCEPT APPLICATIONS THROUGH THE JOB BOARD
- Ensure all employees get a copy of the posting and allow them to search. Paying a spiff is a good idea. I suggest half on hire and half after XX days. Consider sharing with your vendors or customers as well.
Stage 6 – Review resumes, conduct interviews, and make a selection
- Respond to all candidates that asked you questions on the online survey within one business day. This will prove your integrity and begin trust with those you want to interview.
- Review the surveys, resumes, and cover letters to decide who to interview.
- Send invitations to the candidates you want to interview and allow them to schedule. We use a scheduling app like Calendly. This is another test of their willingness to follow the process and use technology. Some candidates will call directly or press in via email. Their assertive nature should be noted, but follow the hiring process and have them follow it. You need assertive salespeople, but you also want those who can follow a proven process.
- Be prepared with your questions and conduct a Zoom or face-to-face interview. You should have a set of questions you will ask each candidate and specific questions based on their resume. Getting back to McCaw Communications’ core value, if you approach hiring with development in mind, you should include “a commitment to improvement” as a criterion in your interview process. Keep it to a time limit so you stay on purpose.
- Decide which candidates will move forward to a second or final interview with you. Send an assessment to this small group of candidates (1-4 max)
- Ask your finalist if you could send your hiring assessment to them and then do so.
- Conduct additional or final interviews with others on your team. (If you are having your manager interview, only send candidates you are comfortable hiring.)
- Present a verbal offer to your ideal candidate and receive a verbal acceptance. Confirm a start date.
- Present a formal offer letter that includes the job description, start date, and compensation plan.
- Conduct your onboarding plan when they start.
And there you have it. It might be a bit more than you are accustomed to, but you know the old saying, “You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results.” If you need help with any of this, book a meeting with us, and we’ll see what we can do.