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Everything You Need To Know To Hire, Train And Retain A Killer Sales Team

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Hiring is no easy feat (not to mention it’s costly). But hiring for sales and business development puts even more pressure on hiring managers. After all, your salespeople are the ones who will be in the trenches with your customers, representing your company.

Even when you have raw sales talent in the door, they need ongoing training to learn the nuances of your business and stay up-to-date on trends. Once you’ve spent all that time hiring and training, it’s even more critical to retain your sales superstars. If you don’t, you’ll just have to start the whole cycle over again. So how do you do this well?

We’ve compiled a list of hiring, training, and retention tips from the experts of Forbes Business Development Council who’ve been there and done it hundreds of times. Check out the master guide below.

[Bonus: Meet six members of the Council here.]

1. Look for natural curiosity.

Business development can be a demanding and exciting role. It requires a myriad of skill sets, but at the end of the day it boils down to whether the person is passionate about building relationships and whether they have high cognitive and logical reasoning abilities. If I ask you to build a boat, I expect you to ask me what the boat will be used for first.” — Lisa Box, WP Engine, Inc.

Read 6 more qualities to look for in biz dev candidates.

2. Don’t hire a chatterbox.

Often times, sales professionals spend too much time talking instead of listening. Those that get a clearer understanding of a customer’s wants are most successful. A salesperson who only talks is probably going to be mediocre at best. A salesperson who asks questions and investigates their responsibilities is a fact finder, and is most likely to adjust their pitch to the customer’s needs.” — Tracy Avin, MBL Benefits Consulting

Read all 8 hiring red flags to avoid here.

3. Put interviewees on the spot.

Work with the interviewee to understand, at a high level, the last product or service they were responsible for selling. Once you think you’ve got it and understand it, ask them to sell it to you. Have them treat you as a new prospect they’re meeting for the first time, and go for it. Any interviewee that’s made it this far in the process, especially if they’re a superstar, should be able to do this in their sleep.” — Joel LeBendig, CommunityCo

Read the full set of sales interview tips.

4. Measure more than output.

“Even if you’re selling the best product in the world, devaluing the work of the SDR is like putting the cheapest gas in a Maserati. It starts with your data. If your SDRs are being measured too heavily on output alone (calls, emails, etc.) versus more tangible results (handoffs to AEs), they’re not going to have time to do good research.” — Kyle Porter, SalesLoft

Read the full article on how to stop poorly developing your sales team.

5. Incentivize for retention.

“In most industries, the sale is only the first step. In some cases, businesses won’t actually make money until well after the sales team has moved on to other opportunities. Incentivize the team to find healthy revenue by rewarding them if the relationship lasts 12 or 24 months down the line.” — BJ Kito, Digital Surgeons

Read all 7 tips on how to build a winning commission structure.

6. When problems arise, look to leadership first.

“The good news is this: If you have strong leaders, you can change the culture with the right amount of focus, energy and communication. Remember, the culture echoes your leadership team. The first thing you have to decide is if you have the right players in place. Chances are, if you have a poor company culture, you have to make changes within your leadership team immediately. If their team does not trust him or her, this leader will be ineffective and will not be able to gain agreement on the desired outcome.” — Keriann Worley, CBS Radio

Read the full article on shifting your negative team culture.

7. Trust your team. Listen to your numbers.

“As a remote sales leader, you must manage your team without seeing them every week, and provide meaningful guidance and feedback without having face-to-face interactions or personally seeing their work. To do this effectively, trust what your staff members, CRM, and sales data are telling you. Without that trust, there is no way to understand and guide what is going on in each market.  — Josh Pittman, Nutrabolt

Read the full article on managing mobile employees.

Learn more about Forbes Business Development Council and the qualifications for membership here


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