How do I go about finding a salesman?
I have a start up and realize that I need help with regards to selling my product and services. I have never had to do sales before and I am still learning. In order for my business to succeed I need someone who is a pro in this area. Any suggestions on where to look for someone?
You ask for one. How can I help?
In all seriousness, I think you need to start with a firm assessment of the maturity of your business and offerings:
1) Do you have a well-defined set of offerings, or at least a well-defined value proposition?
2) Are you sure? OK, let's see the customer pitch deck that's been used successfully. And your price sheet. And your demo. And proof of the value of your solution.
Now let's talk about the sales process.
3) Do you have a list of references. And all other items needed to get past normal customer objections.
4) How many leads do you generate per week? Does the salesperson have to generate those? How many of those get to a sale? How long does it take?
5) Do you have standard contract templates and a full order-to-cash process?
6) What is the average deal size?
And then there's the business itself...
7) How much capability to deliver do you really have? (If the salesperson brought in $8M in business, would you be able to deliver $8M, or just $6M?)
*) In summary, is your sales process scalable and repeatable?
The above are hard questions. Good salespeople will ask many if not all of them before they will allow you to hire them... because a good salesperson knows that their compensation depends on all of them, and good salespeople are laser-focused on what's going to get them paid. (It's what makes them good and why you hire them.)
If you can't answer all of the above, you may not be mature enough as a business to hire a salesperson. Rather, you may need someone(s) in strategic business development and/or product management to get the above answered. (Oh, and *that* is actually what I do for my clients.)
Long response hope it helps:
1. If you have a competitor look on LinkedIn- not to poach someone that works there but look for a person that was at your competitor early on in their launch and might have left after a few years. This person might have been the person that captured their first customer wins but after he/she built it, the VCs came in with their own VP of Sales, and he/she got marginalized and left for a position with greater responsibility. Sales is competitive and the person with this profile will want to win.
2. It is expensive but use a recruiter who specializes in startups and will bring you people that understand risk.
A couple of additional thoughts:
In my experience, you are not just looking for a sales person. What you need is some that is an expert in placing your product into the market that understands how to position the product with the customer that are willing to buy what you have today and take the ride to the future. What that means is this person will need to scale from doing the tactical things you need today cold call, gorilla marketing, educate you on the process, grow within the organization and be the person that builds your team and direction for sales.
What you most likely don’t want is the tenured big company Sr. Sales guy who has been selling with the benefits of major marketing budgets, sales support, brand awareness by nature they will look at you day one and say you have to build all this infrastructure before I can sell.
The best place to start looking would be your competitors in the same product arena. You know who your competitors are going to be, therefore look on linkedin for the people who work there and target them first. With a new business you may need to give them a different incentive to join - maybe you cannot offer the corporate perks they are currently getting, but, you could offer them a part of the company (even more incentive to make sure it is successful)
Finding the right salesperson is just the first step, then the major dilemma is how to keep them motivated with incentives.
There are several models, but the two models with which I have experience:
1- Salary based sales plus commission. The salary keeps the salesperson motivated to find prospects, and the commission is an incentive to close.
2- Independent Reps that are on commission based only. RepHunter.com is one good resource for finding serious Independent Reps who are willing to work on commission only.
I'd stick with 100% commission. It separate the looters & moochers from the hard workers, and more importantly, it reveals who has the level of confidence required to work on straight commission, the same confidence that's required to become a star producer in sales.
As to finding salespeople, I'd start going to business networking groups and simply observe. Find some on Meetup.com (skip the chambers), and you'll instinctively know by watching them present their 30-second commercials and how the interact with others, who the real sales pros are. Approach them after the meeting to discuss your opportunity.
I've done this more than once with great success.
David: What is the average order size you are targeting and what is the historical sales cycle? The answer to these questions will help in formulating an answer to your question. If the average order size is small and/or the sales cycle is long, a 100% commission plan will not be palatable. Also why are you targeting local businesses as opposed to regional or national businesses? From a sales perspective it often takes just as much time to close a single local business deal as it would to close a deal that would be of a much greater scale.
After viewing your Web site, it seemed to me that an independent rep (i.e. 1099 contractor) that sells advertising or other promotional services to your target audience (small retailers) might be worth considering - especially if they are tech savvy. They would have pre-existing relationships to leverage, know how to sell, and may be open to working on a highly leveraged (i.e. commission) basis, either on an exclusive basis with your firm, or by adding your offerings to their current portfolio. You may want to post something on job sites in your local area to see if you can stir up some candidates. Once you get your business rolling, you can take a more traditional approach to building out your sales model and team.
If you have a solid marketing plan in place you might be able to get someone to sell on a 100% commission basis. Strong sales people would be interested if you have a great product that is priced well, ready to sell and you have marketing dollars and activities set to get them leads. Hope that is helpful! Good luck
I would go onto LinkedIn and find and join a group in your market and if they have a group specific to sales join that too. You need someone in your industry who has been there and done that so they hit the ground running and ramp up quickly. That said, it's unlikely that you will be able to find someone to work on a commission only basis unless that is the norm in your industry so you may be faced with paying a base salary plus commission. Rather than write a book here feel free to give me a call and we can discuss. I can be reached on 603-458-5106 direct or 603-264-4707 cell.
If there is any way that I can be of overall assistance to you please feel free to contact me.
office number 860-350-4440
If you can close the business, what you need is someone who can find you qualified prospects and build your market, your processes capture your value proposition, , your messaging so you can scale and bring on a salesperson. That, David, is what I do - so that a salesperson can be hired to continue the path forward. Not quite sales, not quite marketing - enough of both to get you to that level. Take a look at www.magnusmg.com.
You could do the structured way, or otherwise like casual conversations
or simply verifying his online manners and communications.
Put yourself in a customer's shoes - think you'd listen to him?
The book "The Ultimate Sales Machine" is a great guide to creating a sales team. Simple tot he point, no fluff and legitimate real world solutions. The author is a no nonsense action taker, so be prepared to take action, no excuses. :)
You can call or email me directly to chat
I want you to succeed and I'm happy to do it