When is the right time to hire a salesperson in a small business?
Starting my translation agency I had a plan to deal with new client acquisition by myself, being the most motivated person in the team. And I did it successfully in first years of my business. However I constantly find myself overloaded with other things that I cannot delegate (contracts, finances and banking, recruitment, new marketing ideas, planning etc.). Is it time to find a salesperson/sales assistant? I cannot afford a real time selling shark at this point unfortunately.
Interesting challenge. I had an audience with a client, that turned out to have the same challenge. A business showing signs of significant growth potential, but needing the operations attention of the owner, serverly hampering the ability to perform business development activities and eventually driving future sales. A lot of smail to medium size businesses exhibit and have the same challenge. I recommend the approach of outsourcing the business development phase to a part-time consult. Why? The initial heavy lifting is the hunter gathering of potential clients, based upon the actual focus market segment of the business. This activity embodies identifing the actual decision makers you need to actually talk to catch the "fox", close the deal. The funnel created by this acitivity could reduce your involvement to just participating in the close, presentation meeting. This enables a more affordable approach. Once a sufficient funnel exist, the next stage is opening up to the possibilty of hiring a 1099 experienced sales person with an approriate combination of per day/week/or month compensation and commission to sweaten the pot. Experience folks allow you to get to where you are going with the least amount of your direct involvement. Over time this talent can gradually train less experience folks, who will become your permanent team. I believe it is a workable plan in the crowfund rasing era we are in. Fruit for thoght!
If you are growing, you want to hire a sales person just before you have the money to justify it. If you are not growing, you want to make sure that you have the cash to justify it upfront.
There are a lot of good sales people that are willing to work on commission only if they buy into your vision.
When I started my first company, the biggest mistake I made by far was waiting to hire a salesperson. This decision definitely not only slowed potential grouth but as you point out, took away valuable resources from other business activities. Like all other functions, sales is a craft and takes highly experienced and passionate people to be successful. The best sales people are natural relationship builders.
As you speak with potential candidates, note how they interact with you and your team. Do they follow up? Do they talk about themselves or seek to find out more about you and your business? This will give you good insights into how they will approach and treat your potential customers.
may I look at the issue from another perspective, assuming that you have some time to coach and give advise to the new hire (I here also assume that he has some experience in the job objectives) and may be the financial pressure will be released by finding someone on a comission basis. When this sales person brings you more business; will you have the capacity to take it in view of all what you do.
Considering Phill Bush comment, may be you need to analyse all your activities and decide what kind of manpower you need; it might be an admin assistant who will save all your time id doing paper work so you can more focus on generating leads within your capacity.
You have the classic Conundrum. My view on it would be depending on what Industry you are in, you may be able to go with a Commission Only Plan. That is Unusual in this day and age. I would recommend going through the list of All of Your Business Tasks and Putting them down in an Order the Typical Deal. This would then let you determine where you can get help - Likely Inside Sales or Sales Support, and where you still have to be Engaged. At some point in time, you will have to break down and do it.
Find a way you can negotiate earnings with a potential assistant or salesperson. As you been a successful salesperson as you are, it would be easier for you to find another one right on spot. Express clearly what you are looking for, be open to possibilities in businesses, and empower that person. Trust her/him - because you have to. Don't be shy about telling your actual financial situation but show your desire to work this out.
Maybe you can find a person with great people skills you can trained on how working for you in exchange of something that person may be interested on.
Open negotiations are ranging on the 10%-20% commissions plus probably another benefits or perks.
It's up to you what would they be, but from what I read you need someone to help you. You will be so grateful at the end.
Tricky tricky question. Why can't you afford one? Are you too busy looking at the trees without seeing the forest? Is it possible you are doing things that although important are not streaming a revenue. Maybe you are shying away because you prefer to do things "you like" instead of those things "you should". If this is the case DO NOT hire. Start doing sales (or whatever) yourself. Gain confidence, fail, succeed etc.
If this is not the case than hire.
Richard Stern-Suggest you hire experience sales representatives as soon as possible.
They will expand the business by going to the people the know and travel an assigned territory.
The goal is not only to get orders, but obtain information.
Suggest considering a good commission and bonus compensation package.
It sounds like you have an established business. You may not need a "sales shark", you may need a strong lead generator. More a marketing role that will help you build your brand and acquire clients. IMHO, not every business needs a true salesperson. Call the role business development, where they have responsibility to grow your business and evangelize for you.
You mention two distinct positions:
A salesperson's only job is find prospects and bring in business from the new relationships and maybe (depending on how you set up your company) nurture current clients to get more business.
Do you want a hunter or a farmer?
It sounds like you need a hunter.
A sales assistant assists the department in the process but rarely ever solicits or closes a sale.
If business grows X % can you handle the increased volume?
If it will be overwhelming you may need an assistant.
Either way you must give them the training and tools to excell.