When making a new hire, one of the worst things you can do is invest time and money into a salesperson with no plan of how to manage or train them. You are setting yourself up for failure, and likely going to see a high amount of turnover if this becomes a trend.
A few months back, I was speaking with a prospect who wanted to hire our firm to assist in the recruitment process. The following conversation told me everything I needed to know about the results I should expect when working with this prospect.
Gregg: Can you tell me why the position is open?
Prospect: Our last salesperson quit.
Gregg: Do you know why he quit?
Prospect: We’ll take most of the blame here. We didn’t really train him or spend much time with him. Since he worked remotely far from our corporate office, it was also hard for him to pick up on things.
Gregg: Have you had other salespeople turnover?
Prospect: Yes, he was our 4th salesperson to turnover in this territory in the past 2 years.
Gregg: Did you ask any of these salespeople why they decided to leave the company?
Gregg: Do you plan on putting together a training program to better help future salespeople?
Prospect: I’m not sure. We’ve spoken about it.
Gregg: What makes you think that if I hire somebody for you that they’re going to perform or want to stay if you are still not training them?
Prospect: (Long pause). I don’t know. That’s a good question.
Long story short, I made the decision not to move forward with this prospect. There was no doubt that they seemed like genuinely nice people. However, they had a serious management issue on their hands, and seemed to have no intentions on addressing or fixing it.
In situations like this one, I provide the analogy of building a ship. If the ship has holes in it, it’s irrelevant how great the captain and the crew is, that ship is going to sink. There is no avoiding the fact that holes must be addressed. The ship must be fixed before you can onboard the crew. It’s really as simple as that.
There are many executives out there that are extremely intelligent, however their expertise is just not in the realm of sales. If this is the case, my recommendation is to either hire a sales consultant (whom I’d be happy to recommend if you’re in need), or hire a great sales leader. These hires should be finalized before you ever think about hiring salespeople. With the right sales leader or consultant in place, you are preparing yourself and your organization for the creation and management of a strong sales team.
As I previously mentioned, it is a very bad idea to invest resources into salespeople without any real plan of how to manage or train them. This needs to be repeated because it is so important to understand when assembling a sales team, or addressing the shortcomings of your current team.
Occasionally, I hear arguments that go against my recommendation. Prospects will say to me “Well, we need to generate revenue quickly.” My recommendation is ultimately to fix the problems ASAP. Otherwise, in 6 months you’ll find yourself in a situation where you have invested substantial resources into salespeople who no longer work for you.
All of this doesn’t even breach the subject of company culture. There is a huge negative impact on culture when others see employees constantly turning over.
This is an important topic for me, as I see too many companies rush to hire a salesperson without ensuring that everything internally is optimized and prepared for that salesperson’s success. Just remember that before hiring salespeople, be sure that you have the right infrastructure in place. Otherwise, there’s a strong chance that you’re going to have a revolving door of salespeople.