Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sales Training – Does It Form Part Of Your Selection Criteria When Recruiting Sales Staff?

The next time that you are recruiting sales staff to fill an important sales job, just spare a few moments to look at your proposition through the eyes of a candidate.

A serious candidate will already have done some basic research about your organisation and the products or services that you supply but there may still be many questions that remain unanswered right up until the time the interview takes place.

Increasingly, these days, one of the main subjects of interest is the way in which you develop your sales staff over time. Are the good prospects for advancement if performance is good?, is the salary/commission package fair and inspiring, and, more and more, is there regular product and sales training?

Product knowledge and sales training are often confused. Almost everyone in the organisation, to some extent, needs some product knowledge and some of course need in-depth knowledge of the products you sell. Salespeople need to be able to answer customer’s questions up to a point and to have a support structure in place if they are asked very technical or complex questions.

That is product knowledge and most salespeople will acquire a good deal of it as they go on.
Sales training, however, is something quite different. Yes, of course your sales force need to know the product but they do not necessarily need to be experts if you have a good sales support team in place who can provide answers to those slightly stickier questions.

What the salesperson does need is how to position your products when approaching a prospect, where you stand in relation to your competitors and their products, unique selling points, (USPs) and so on.

Then there are the sales skills themselves which are also the focus of a lot of sales training, for example:

How much discount can they give or need to give in order to compete with main competitors?
Upselling and cross selling – what are the available options?
Selling add-on and incremental products & services, e.g. maintenance contracts, warranties, etc.
What are the benefits to the customer of buying your new product, what problems is it going to solve for them?

These are typical elements of a sales training program for any organisation with a dynamic product range and should be made available to all sales people on a regular basis, either as part of an induction for a new employee or as a top-up course for existing salespeople.

Sales is a profession just like any other and those who work within it, on the whole, take their level of professionalism very seriously. Those organisations that provide ongoing training for all of their staff, not just sales staff, will find that attrition rates are lower and performance is higher.

As the UK’s leading specialist sales recruitment agency, Aaron Wallis provides an impressive array of sales training material on our website so if you are looking for a sales job, or an employer seeking to find someone to fill a sales job – take a look at what Aaron Wallis has to offer when it comes to sales training.

Friday, 6 March 2015

What are the bad habits to look out for when recruiting salespeople? - and how a specialist sales recruitment agency can help.

The fact is, we all have bad habits! Yes, even me, and probably you too. 

The habits I’m referring to are things we do in our professional lives in order to make the day go faster, easier and involve less work. So what are the bad habits to look out for when you have a sales job available and you are recruiting sales staff?


Lots of salespeople dislike administration. They tend not to do it properly because it cuts into their selling time. They perceive it to be non-productive so they avoid doing it, always leaving it “until tomorrow.”
The problem is, as we all know, tomorrow never comes and the poor sales guy end up with a pile of incomplete “paperwork”, which nowadays probably doesn't involve paper at all, cluttering up his desk – and his brain.

The result? Things don’t get done, or they get done too late, colleagues are not kept up-to-date with what is going on in the salesperson’s world and things start to break up.

How to spot it at an interview – ask a question like “tell me about your typical day, how do you divide up your time?” If there's no mention of the "a" word, you might want to move onto the next candidate.

Good sales “PR”

Although salespeople frequently operate out in the field, they tend to forget that their colleagues, or at least the office-based ones, do not. Whereas a good field salesperson could, and should, be out and about when the customer has requested to see them, or when there is a good chance of catching someone, the staff that support them back in the office usually work to “normal” office hours.

If you start the day at 6am in order to get to a client for an early meeting because that’s the only time he or she could see you, which is very much the case in a lot of sales jobs, then you could be forgiven for taking a breakfast break after that meeting and then making your way into the office.

Your colleagues, however, may simply see that as “the salespeople here do as they want, turn up when they can be bothered,” being unaware of the actual facts or choosing to ignore them.

The salesperson should always ensure that at least one other person in the office knows their diary, where they are and when they have to be there – this information will percolate around the business and, as a result, colleagues will be aware of the schedule the salesperson has to keep and will think more highly of them although I wouldn't over egg that particular pudding.

How to spot it at an interview – “do you keep a diary, do you share it with colleagues?” “Is it an online diary or the old fashioned paper type?”

Is he or she a team player?

If you ask whether someone is a team player they will probably say that they are, because that's the way many organisations think that work should be structured, but are they really?

Most sales jobs actually involve a team, even if the business does not have a formal team structure.

The marketing department generates leads, the salesman follows those leads up and closes the business, probably after a demonstration by the sales support people, then the production staff, or the buyers, warehouse people and so on, all move in to play their part.

It’s almost always a team effort of one sort or another.

So, when recruiting sales staff and sitting in front of the latest candidate for your sales job, it’s important to know how he or she will fit into the overall structure of the business.

If the salesperson takes a disproportionate amount of the “credit” for the sale it can cause bad feeling and work against the interests of the business so try to nip it in the bud before it happens.

How to spot it at an interview - at an interview, spot the “Lone Rangers” by asking questions like “in your current sales job, how many people are involved in the average sale, from enquiry to delivery, and who are they, (roles, not names)?”

If the answer is “one” or “just me” then proceed with caution.

OK, I know these aren't really bad habits like some I could, but won’t, mention, but they are potential problem pits just waiting to open up and swallow up your time and resources if you are not careful.

When you need to recruit sales staff and be confident that you are talking to candidates that will really fit in with your business culture, always contact a specialist sales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis. We can pre-screen candidates for your sales jobs and save you time today – and problems further down the line.