I hired my first salesperson in 2015.
He was already familiar with the industry (worked at other agencies before) and had a good track record, so I figured this was a perfect fit. He could just come in and start closing deals right away.
How wrong was I...
See, I was never taught how to sell. I just learned along the way and created my own processes and tactics.
And they did work... for me.
They were processes and tactics that lived in my head that no one else knew.
So even though I hired a salesperson with experience, he didn’t know the process I created that worked for our company. Or all the ways to handle common objections that came up in our sale. Or [insert anything related to the sales process, systems, tactics - you get the picture]...
You see, just because a salesperson has sold before doesn’t mean they know how to sell your thing. They can figure it out, but it does take time.
Would you rather they figure it out over a long time on your dime, or you just teach them your methods that already work and then let them improve upon them?
I lost tens of thousands of dollars on salespeople because I did the former. And it was my fault, not theirs.
Documenting your processes, onboarding, and training, not just in week 1, but continually over time, is super important to sales positions (and really any position).
There’s no way someone can just jump in and be seamless. It’s an unreasonable ask.
Looking back, I wish I would’ve documented everything I was doing earlier, on-boarded the sales people much better, and continually invested in training and coaching over time to help them improve and be successful.
Now, maybe you don’t need a salesperson at the moment. Perhaps you’re the one playing that role, and you’re doing just fine.
But if you’re serious about scaling and growing your agency... you cannot stay that way.
You’ll have to hire the right people, delegate, and get out of their way.
You’ll have to train them on your own sales process, your systems, and battle-tested tactics so that they can do their job well.
And if you don’t know how to do that correctly or efficiently, soon you’ll see things will start breaking left and right.
So in this article, I’ll be walking you through 5 steps for not blowing your first sales hire (as recommended by an expert in sales and community mentor at Scalable Services, Dan Morris):
By recording calls, templating emails, creating reusable proposals, and other basic sales materials, you will have the framework of a sales toolkit for your salesperson to use.
There are many parts to a successful sales machine.
A good example of a piece of collateral that’s helpful is a persona description that easily summarizes the needs and wants of your ideal target customer and examples of messaging that they have responded well to, along with example proposals to study to see what you guys really sell and how it is packaged.
Before hiring a salesperson, test to make sure that you can increase leads coming into your business first so that you have a good understanding of the cost and difficulty level of generating leads, and how well you can convert them to clients
This will set you up well for onboarding your sales hire with clear expectations and a pipeline of leads to work on.
As you work on your leads and close the next few deals, pay attention to the special deals, the pricing, the bundle, the contract terms you are using. Make a template or a worksheet that makes it easy to understand your pricing and what is negotiable and not.
If you can start by sharing this with your salesperson and supporting them as they learn, they will be able to hit the ground running more effectively and consume less of your time asking for permission to construct deals.
Confusion stops progress.
Hire confidently with your expectations aligned based upon the steps we talked about above.
Leverage the toolkit and resources you now have available to onboard your salesperson.
Organize to talk about deals in the pipeline regularly and keep referring back to the tools you have developed as they gain confidence.
If you don’t have these things available you risk: