If you’re wondering when to hire salespeople, you might already be a step behind.
Unfortunately, many people don’t really think about their next sales hire until they need someone immediately. That might be because a team member left, or you realized you won’t be able to meet your goals with your current team.
Unfortunately, by that point, you are already in trouble. Consider the following risks of waiting too long to hire salespeople.
Risks of Waiting Too Long to Hire Salespeople
1. Hiring the right salesperson will take time.
As you know if you’ve ever been involved in hiring, finding the right person takes some time. Salespeople especially can be difficult to hire. Finding someone who fits your culture, your process, and your industry can be challenging.
Consider that if you are looking for a more experienced sales rep, they will likely be happy with their current job and may be depending on future commissions they have earned. Finding the right person who is in a position to make a move will take time.
2. Onboarding your new salesperson will take time.
Even if you hired someone from a direct competitor, you’ll need to set aside time for your new hire to come up to speed. And the more your new hire’s experience differences from your job description, the more time you should expect to spend.
One of the best things you can do to accelerate onboarding speed is to develop a robust sales PlayBook that new hires can use to learn about your processes and best practices.
But no matter what tools and training you have for new hires, expect to spend at least a few weeks getting them up to speed. And set aside recurring times during at least the first 90 days for review and additional training.
3. For your new hire, building a pipeline will take time.
So let’s say you’ve successfully hired and onboarded a new sales rep. Congratulations!
Unfortunately, unless your new hire is an inbound rep or your sales process is fast and transactional, expect your new hire to spend some time building up their pipeline.
The time this takes will be dependent on the quality of your new hire, the potential market for your offering, and your lead generation processes.
One great way to accelerate pipeline growth is to have your salespeople develop and work monthly Prospecting Action Plans.
4. For your new hire, closing business will take time.
Even once your new hire has developed a pipeline, you may find that it takes them a bit longer to close opportunities than your current sales reps.
New salespeople may find it difficult to answer prospects’ questions or handle objections, which can slow the sales process. And they may be less effective in presenting your solution than the existing sales reps.
Role practicing can be especially helpful in evaluating your team members’ skill levels and helping them to improve. Going on joint calls with your sales reps can also expose areas for improvement and drive future trainings.
5. Some new hires just won’t work out, and discovering this will take time.
Unfortunately, not all new hires will work out. Some may leave after finding things more difficult than expected. And others will fall short of goals and need to be let go.
Figuring out whether a new hire will make it can be challenging. You don’t want to give up too quickly on a new hire, but you don’t want to keep them for too long if they’ll never be successful.
The best way to evaluate new hires’ success is by developing benchmarks you can evaluate new hires against. Look at your most successful reps. What did they achieve when they were starting out? How quickly did they build their pipelines? When did they start to see results?
Once you have established clear benchmarks, it’s easy to see if your new hire is trending in the right direction. If not, you can develop a performance improvement plan, or just let the salesperson go.
So the first part of this post might seem a little bleak. You might have noticed a trend – growing your team with the right reps takes time.
You might be thinking that the answer of when to hire salespeople is last year. And you might be right!
Don’t despair – here are four best practices you can use to figure out when to hire salespeople.
Best Practices for When to Hire Salespeople
1. Develop both top-down and bottom-up forecasts.
Rather than simply setting goals for your sales team and passing them on, develop a process for using both a top-down forecast and a bottom-up forecast to build your sales plan.
The top-down forecast is where your management team can set expectations for sales growth. The bottom-up forecast is where your sales team can set expectations for what they feel is achievable.
So if you see a big gap between your top-down and your bottom-up forecast, you may need to consider hiring more salespeople. You should be able to figure out how many people to hire and when they’ll need to start in order to ramp up in time. Consider that a rep who starts in Q3 may not see any results this year and plan accordingly.
2. Review data monthly as a management team.
If you’re not currently doing so, establish a recurring call or meeting with your leadership team where you can discuss numbers and progress toward goals.
In these meetings, review which people or teams are underperforming and which are overperforming. Do they balance out? If so, you’re lucky. If not, you may need to find alternate revenue, and a new salesperson might be able to help.
Look to identify leading indicators that will help you better analyze trends and maintain growth.
3. Maintain a candidate pipeline.
As a sales manager, one of your best potential tools once you’ve figured out when to hire salespeople is a pipeline of potential new hires.
As you interact with sales reps, whether they are from competitors or not, consider whether they might make a good fit within your organization. Develop and maintain relationships that you might be able to leverage and grow in the future.
You should always have potential candidates in mind, whether or not you are planning to hire anytime soon. This way, once you’ve figured out when to hire salespeople, you can skip ahead a few steps.
4. Evaluate and build morale.
If you’re struggling to figure out when to hire salespeople because of turnover on your team, you might have an issue with morale. And if you don’t address it, you’ll be spending a lot of time hiring new salespeople as your team leaves.
Develop processes for regularly reviewing morale and working to improve it. Consider what you can do personally to improve morale and what can be changed in terms of systems and processes to improve morale.
I hope this guide is helpful as you consider when to hire salespeople. And I hope you’re not thining it’s much too late!
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