Graduation is Coming: Tips for Recruiting High Performing Sales Reps

Sales People and Manager Metting
Graduated Students

We are edging closer to college graduation. For many companies, this means a fresh pool of bright-eyed and bushy-tailed applicants. If your team is among those getting ready to recruit new sales reps, it’s important to know what to look for. After all, recruiting and hiring the right team of people can mean the difference between success and failure of your company. To ensure you’re hiring the high-performing sales reps you want, here are a few of the top tips and tricks for your recruiting team.

Check this out for some insights in hiring talented candidates! 3 Tips to Help You Find the Right Sales Candidate

Why good sales recruitment matters

Currently, the average annual turnover rate for sales teams is around 25%. The acquisition of a rep costs an average of $29,000 and training costs around $36,000. For most organizations, this turn-over rate and associated expenses are not sustainable. Therefore, in order to maintain good sales performance and healthy revenues, you must optimize your recruiting process. Setting smart goals for what you hope to achieve in your recruitment process, as well as your company environment, can position you for sustainable sales success.

Decide who you’re looking for

Recent grads don’t have the employment histories of their veteran counterparts. So, recruiting sales talent fresh out of college requires assessing skills beyond the traditional employment history. Eager and malleable, these candidates are perfect for training to best suit your companies needs. Although different sales jobs require different skill sets, it’s important to first identify what sort of personality characteristics best fit your specific sales roles. Looking into extracurricular activities can provide useful insights.

Student athletes

Athletes are conditioned to work toward improving themselves and reaching short- and long-term goals. Former athletes can be highly self-motivated with strong work ethic and team mentality. These skills are invaluable in a sales career.

Alumnus of Baylor University and student athlete turned CEO Mark Hurd, extols the benefits of playing college sports in relation to the professional world. Stating that, playing collegiate sports provides experience in high-pressure situations and offers opportunities to develop leadership and teamwork skills, which can pay off when students enter the professional world.

Science/Engineering majors

If you’re in a highly technical field or your team is frequently calling on system engineers and laboratory scientist, you need your reps to be able to understand what they’re selling and the lingo of industry professionals. Graduates with a degree in science or engineering can make great additions to your team. You can craft their sales knowledge to fit your company while their industry background fills knowledge gaps that other reps might possess.

Class officers

Sales requires critical thinking and being comfortable working in team settings. Former class officers and student government members possess these skills, as well as a range of others that can add value to your team, including:

  • Time management
  • Effective communication and listening skills
  • Networking experience

A handful of schools are renowned for their exceptional student government programs, consistently producing graduates who go on to become changemakers in their fields.

College newspaper editors

A skilled writer can serve as the secret weapon your team needs to develop compelling and grammatically sound sales proposals and presentations. Former school newspaper editors and reporters are comfortable with writing and possess a strong vocabulary that can be useful in contacting and meeting with prospective leads.

Show off what you’ve got

Candidates looking for their first job out of college, particularly millennials and Generation Z’ers, have a unique set of priorities in regards to what they want out of a company. If you’re interested hiring young talent, it’s in your best interest to create a workplace that attracts them.

Up-to-date technology

Millennials and Gen Z’ers are tech-savvy generations and prefer to use the latest technology to increase their productivity—in turn helping your profit margins. Make sure you sales enablement and office tools are all up-to-date.

Talent management

Recent grads want to maintain a healthy work-life balance; therefore, they prefer companies that will allow them to do so. Social impact, collaboration, continuous learning, flexibility, and company culture are all of high value and should be considered when presenting your company benefits package.

Performance incentives

Millennials and Gen Z’ers are motivated by awards, recognition, and additional responsibilities when working to achieve goals. Adapting your career growth plan to provide specific guidelines and milestones can give new hires something to work toward. Implementing non-monetary incentives such as flexible work hours or catered lunches can be just the draw you need to get the recruits you want.

Ask the right questions

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Once you’ve made contact with your ideal applicants and it’s time to start the interview process, you want to be sure you’re using that time wisely. To gather the most relevant and conclusive information, Hubspot’s Mark Roberge suggests five key questions to ask of your candidates:

  • Are they coachable? It’s important that new sales reps are able to absorb and apply feedback.
  • Are they curious? The best sales reps have a passion for the process and should be asking inquisitive questions.
  • Are they intelligent? Candidates must be able to master tasks and think critically when out on their own.
  • Are they hard-working? Strong work ethic is essential for success.
  • Have they ever been successful? Past examples of success in some area of their life should be demonstrated.

Preparing your hiring team for graduation can set you up for success in recruiting the best of the best. We hope this guide helps your team achieve its hiring and, ultimately, sales goals!

Maddie

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Executive Sales Recruiting Experts

5 Tips For Managing a Successful Sales Team

Sales People and Manager Metting
Sales People and Manager Metting

Managing a sales team is inherently difficult. Most people who have worked in this industry agree it is outrageously competitive, stressful and demanding. There is no doubt working as a sales professional takes a considerable toll on the mind and the spirit. A good sales manager minimizes the stress while helping the sales professionals on his or her team meet their potential. Follow these tips to get the most out of your sales professionals.

Regardless if you are a veteran sales rep or a rookie, there are ways to make improvements. Study, practice & master these 5 components of successful sales calls to improve your sales career immediately! Your quarterly/annual review will be something you will be looking forward to!

Check This Out For Some Major Motivation! The Cubs Affect – How to Create a Wining Culture of Excellence & Accountability for Your Sales Team

1. Help Your Team Stay Organized

Some sales professionals are smooth with words and social interactions yet lack organizational skills. Managers can do their part to contribute to sales success by helping their sales staff stay organized. This way, the sales aficionados can zero in on converting prospects while you keep the paperwork and other details in line. Track employee sales statistics, keep all relevant data properly organized and you will have more than enough information available to make truly informed decisions.

2. Provide Extensive Call Feedback

The best sales managers are willing to interrupt their work day to listen in or even participate in sales representatives’ phone calls. Join a random call, evaluate the sales professional’s performance and your team will have the motivation necessary to give their all during each interaction. Be sure to take detailed notes during calls so you can make specific references to the manner in which the representative handled the conversation.

3. Train More Than You Think is Necessary

Nowadays, the most common complaint of new hires is the lack of in-depth training. It seems as though the importance of comprehensive training got lost in the shuffle at some point in the past decade. Some employers refuse to invest in extensive training as turnover rates are high, especially in the sales sector. When in doubt, over-train your team as opposed to under-training them. Continue to implement new sales techniques, push your sales staff to progress and your sales figures will gradually improve.

4. Provide Creative Forms of Positive Reinforcement

Dangle a coveted prize and your sales team will respond. Even a minor incentive will motivate your team to push for better sales numbers. In some cases, rewards beyond money end up motivating sales professionals more than anticipated. Consider letting the sales rep with the best numbers choose the restaurant for the next group outing, take additional paid time off or select a group activity for the team to enjoy on an upcoming Friday. Though these are minor rewards, they mean a lot to sales professionals embroiled in the heat of competition.

5. Let Your Sales Superstars Shine

Sales People Gathering

Do not micromanage your team to the point that their natural abilities are constricted.  Let your sales stars spread their wings and fly on their own. Evaluate each representative’s strengths and weaknesses, provide ongoing constructive criticism and your sales team will improve with each passing day.

Focus on Sales Strategies and the Numbers Will Come

Do not over-consume yourself with quotas and numbers. Though quantifying your sales team’s success certainly matters, the targeted numbers will prove much easier to reach with the right managerial guidance. Follow the advice detailed in this article and your sales team will be well on its way to success.

Related Reading: Sales Leadership 3.0

Marla DiCarlo is an accomplished business consultant with more than 28 years of professional accounting experience. As co-owner and CEO of Raincatcher, she helps business owners sell their business so they can get paid the maximum value for their company.

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Professional Sales Management Cadence Training

5 Components of a Successful Sales Calls

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Making sales calls can be a challenging task for sales professionals. It can be quite intimidating to reach out to others through the phone and “sell” something. However, sales calls are a crucial aspect of keeping your business running successfully.

Regardless if you are a veteran sales rep or a rookie, there are ways to make improvements. Study, practice & master these 5 components of successful sales calls to improve your sales career immediately! Your quarterly/annual review will be something you will be looking forward to!

Check This Out For Some Major Motivation! 4 Cold Calling Scenes from Movies That Will Inspire You To Make The Sale

Establishing The Initial Statement

Always have an attention-grabbing opening statement. This is the same as with the in-person meeting, and it may be information you have discovered in your pre-call research. Positive and insightful comments about the industry, the company, things you have in common or even something positive going on in the community is always a great opening. Top sales professionals study, practice, & master these simple but effective telephone selling techniques.

Avoid any negativity or comments that indicate you feel you are taking up their time or taking them away from something important. This not only creates a negative impression of the importance of the call, but it also plants a seed about getting off the call.

Don’t Forget To Smile

While the customer cannot see you, he or she can tell if you are happy, smiling and positive or if you are distracted. In a study by the University of Portsmouth in the United Kingdom, researchers tested the ability of people to tell if the speaker on the other end of the phone call was smiling.

Not surprisingly, they found that people were very accurate in telling if someone was smiling. Additionally, the research also showed that when they hear someone smile on the other end of the call, they were more likely to smile as well.

In sales, this is a powerful tool. If the customer is also smiling and engaged in the conversation, you have their attention and their interest. Of course, this has to be authentic, but showing positive emotions on your face does come through in the tone of your voice and should not be discounted as an effective technique.

tone-positive-emotions

Keep It Simple

On sales calls, it can be tempting to keep adding to options, ideas, possibilities, and considerations. However, when you are on the phone, there is no way that you can see the expression on the customers face, there is a good chance of losing them in the what-ifs or even talking them out of a sale by presenting too many alternative options.

Keep it simple and stick to your plan. If another challenge or issue comes up in the conversation, make a note of it and ask the customer if this is something, they would like to discuss the next call. This is a great way to set up a follow-up call, which is now much easier to prep for as you have a topic and an understanding of the customer and her or his company.

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Be Bold and Speak with Passion

Being bold and passionate about the topic is not something to do all through the call, but it allows your voice and your intensity or excitement to be real and unscripted during key points in the conversation. Many people stand up and move about when they are interested, excited and engaged, and if you are one of those people, do it at these times in the conversation.

Try to make sales calls where you can use a range of volume for your voice. You do not want to have to continually use a soft voice that may make it difficult for your customer to hear what you are saying. You should be able to talk, laugh and exchange information at a comfortable & natural volume/tone of voice.

It is also important to keep the pace of the conversation comfortable for the other party. Match your speech rate with theirs to avoid frustration on their half of the conversation. If you are a fast talker, slow down to avoid overwhelming the other person, particularly if they are a slower talker.

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Emphasize Product Value

There is nothing wrong with using traditional types of sales methods to emphasize the value of the product or service you are selling. In-person sales techniques use short storytelling, and this can be very effective for phone call sales presentations as well. Just keep it simple, streamlined, and specific to what the customer has talked about and shared about their needs.

Related Reading: 5 Steps to Mastering The Art & Science of Selling

In addition to the explicit value of the product or service, what are the other values making this purchase offers the customer. Can you deliver it tomorrow? Do you offer tech support for installation? Will your team come and train their team on the product or service?

All of these value-added types of issues can make the difference between a sale and a “no” answer. Again, this is where knowing your product and service and weaving it into a story that resonates with your customers and shows the benefit of your product really stands out.

story-telling-value

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Successful Telephone Selling Techniques

How To Prepare For a Sales Call

Preparing For The Sales Call

There are very few sales professionals who enjoy making cold calls. Even making phone sales pitches to known customers is a challenge for many salespeople. Cold calling can be particularly for those who struggle with the lack of personal contact available in a face-to-face sales meeting.

 The reality is that with expanding sales territories and less budget for travel, most companies are requiring their sales professionals to spend more time using the phone and online technologies as opposed to person to person meetings with customers.

 The good news is that techniques, strategies, and approaches to successful sales calls are something that can be easily learned and mastered. Like any type of sales process, there are things that the sales professional must do to prepare for the sales call. Strategically prepare for the sales call by keeping these key factors in mind.

Related Reading  4 Cold Calling Scenes From Movies That Will Inspire You To Make The Sale

Strategic Sales Call Preparation

One of the key factors to keep in mind is that a cold call should never be a call to an unknown entity. There is enough online information to have a basic idea about the size of the company, what it produces or the services it offers, and what products or services you are selling that can solve a problem they are experiencing.

This does take prep work, but it is not long or tedious work. Ideally, when doing your due diligence on the company and the individual, jot down a few notes that you can keep in front of you during the call.

Related Reading How To Sell Strategically

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Keys to Mental Preparation

If you are dialing a phone number and you are stressed, distracted, unhappy, unmotivated or frustrated from the last call, this will set the tone of the first words you speak. A flat tone of voice and lack of passion and belief in making the sales call can easily persuade the customer to end the conversation. Once the prospect senses you are not interested, he or she is not interested either.

Take a minute or two and disengage from any negativity you may be experiencing. Take a couple of deep breaths, close your eyes, and visualize a winning sales call. Play a mental movie of just what you are going to do. Build your confidence up, and get mentally prepared with a positive and energetic outlook about the opportunity to have this conversation. If you feel more energetic with a quick physical activity break, take a walk, step to the window and look outside, and just give yourself a minute to come back to a calm, composed mental state.

sales-passion

Next, be sure to have your written notes easily visible, either on your desk or have the CRM page, spreadsheet, or document open and visible on your computer. Also, be sure all the specs and technical information, if applicable, is right at your fingertips, so you are not hunting around if there is a request for more information.

physical-activity

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If you would like more tips on how to succeed in your professional sales career, contact us for more information!

The Benefits of a Great Sales Playbook

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What Can A Great Sales Playbook Do For Your Team?

For sales leaders, a great sales playbook provides clarity around the most critical aspects of running a high-performing sales team. You can’t vacillate on your sales methodology or be wishy-washy on what makes a qualified lead when you’ve put it in writing for your organization. To be more clear about the importance of a great sales playbook, here are several little-known facts:

  • “Best in Class” sales teams (top 20%) are more than twice as likely to deploy sales playbooks compared to Laggards (bottom 30%).
  • Research by the Aberdeen Group reveals that 54% of salespeople using Sales Playbooks are likely to meet their sales target versus just 46% when no Playbook is available to the sales team.
  • The average Selling Price increases 3.9% when using playbooks because you transition from selling a product to selling a solution.

A great sales playbook can increase performance and efficiency by allowing for faster onboarding, more effective sales training, and skill development. Great sales playbooks support team culture, promote repeatable processes. A great sales playbook can identify gaps in your sales, marketing, and product by highlighting why opportunities are not progressing in the pipeline.

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When executed properly, sales playbooks can have a tremendous impact on your revenues, sales efficiencies, and profits. Sales playbooks create healthy interactions between Sales, Sales Engineering, Services, Product Management, and Marketing. Using it as a starting point, these units will be better able to work together to systematically review assumptions, discuss where opportunities lie and distill best practices.

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Watch any team sport and someone on the sidelines has a playbook in their hands. The coaches and players have worked continuously on this book since the beginning of the season focusing on executing their plays flawlessly. Sometimes, things don’t go the way they had planned, but they don’t just throw out the whole book.

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Players and coaches review the plays they’ve run during time-outs and half-time and make whatever adjustments they deem necessary. They try again and make further adjustments continuing the process until the play is successful. Top teams’ playbooks are living, breathing documents that they work on and practice every single day. Follow their example with the way you approach your playbook, and your sales team will be well on its way to new heights!

Want To Learn More Sales Strategies?

If you would like more tips on how to succeed in your professional sales career, contact us for more information!