February 23, 2018
For the success of any company sales teams make the difference between a good and bad reputation, as well as growth and loss. They are the first contact with a potential client and a valuable source on the needs and demands of customers. Beyond the obvious reasons and motivations for hiring a sales team, publishers need to consider a specific approach to building their team that will translate into success.
Practice a solid HR vetting technique.
Like with any relationship, people are more than the sum of their resume. It is easy for any employer to look at basic information about a possible employee’s experience in years, completed projects and connections in the industry. This perspective only takes into account a checklist of what their capabilities are.Consider a different perspective with focus on their character and personality. Instead of only thinking about the training time needed to grow their technical skills, analyze things that will represent your company in the correct light. Salespeople represent the living image of your brand to your readers. Some of your vetting factors should include – passion and drive for their work and community, consistency in performance, strong prioritization, and also the ability to build and grow relationships. Pursuing salespeople with these skill sets will not only positively impact your sales but also your brand loyalty in your local communities.
Search for people with a passion for your industry.
There are many ways to evaluate if someone is a good fit for your company. Sometimes having someone fresh in your industry might bring about new ideas and possibilities. Other times, it is vital to have someone more experienced and knowledgeable with the nuances of your industry and clients.No matter the background of your salesperson, to evaluate their passion level you should look out for some of these qualities – coachability, competitive nature, communication skills, competence in building rapport, rejection tolerance, ability to take initiative. They have to easily adapt and learn new processes and new technology as you automate and grow your work flows. They have to equally grasp the vision of your newspaper to reach your local community and be innovative in providing the right service. They have to take ownership of their work and see themselves as the main piece to complete the big picture.
Interview with your sales DNA in mind.
Customer retention is achieved by the value they receive from your company. When your service run smoothly, your customers and staff are happy. It is mainly when unplanned errors and setbacks occur, the true strength of your team is tested.
You cannot prepare for events that happen out of your control, but you can plan for a good interview system, to make sure your team is selected right. This matters because every time an employee leaves, it can cost a company 30-50% or as high as 1.5x that person’s annual salary.The main ingredient for seeing the sales DNA fit in any interview is keeping your questions open-ended. This can include testing their commitment by asking if they see anything that can be improved within your brand, or asking about a current job-related book they are reading, or actually testing if they know what the job entails. Even go further to ask them about a technical area or tool they want to learn about. These example questions dig deeper to evaluate the person that might be a long or short term employee. Listen for clues in how they answer, making sure they are not just patting themselves on the back but also crediting outside people in their lives. Also look if they have done some research, asking questions about your current work and even offering future projects to consider.Some companies go deeper on their screening processes. This can include requiring a candidate to provide sample work from prior jobs and/or create new work for a current or past company project. Other evaluation criteria include interviewing with multiple departments present that might impact the sales process. For many localized teams, having the current team directly interact with the candidate at the final interview stage will help make-or-break your decision.
Invest in the proper tools early on.
Today many companies struggle to retain their salespeople. One of the main reasons remain the implementation of new technologies and providing opportunities for personal growth. Sure company events and benefits offered do attract future employees, but building your company culture around more flexible and adaptable processes by using the right technology offers lasting advancement options.This keeps your company ahead of competition in the eyes of your salespeople. Especially when it comes to technology, it provides ways to help focus your energy on the things that make a difference in the sales negotiations. Instead of staying in the office to take a call, managers can be on the go and respond to calls or emails. Travelling is easier because all your documentation is accessible at your fingertips so your company sales pitch is always at hand.
Technology is not only beneficial when your sales team is outside the office closing deals but also when working at their desks. For retail or business account contracts and ad placements, call center and self-serve portals help in automating the back-and-forths between emails. Utilizing sales CRM systems, centralize client data to help improve customer service and increase ROI. Your team can delegate tasks, track when someone needs help to complete their work and easily process the data between your team departments. Managing your classifieds becomes easier, training new salespeople is faster and more work is being completed.With each passing year the generational gap keeps growing, and companies are realizing that the recruitment process, especially for salespeople, needs to be revived and refreshed. By taking the time to evaluate who you want to attract to your team, you can better improve your sales package. This is mainly achieved by making sure you are sticking true to your sales DNA.