Question: How do I build a sales force as I grow my business?
Answer: It is never easy. It’s like mining for diamonds. You search, hire, evaluate and then decide if the person fits or not. If not, you do it all over again. MSNBC’s Your Business advisors recommend the following:
Understand the dynamics of the purchasing decision on your customers’ behalf. It is quality, delivery, reliability or price that drives your customers to buy? Is it a long purchase decision or one made in a relatively short time frame? These dynamics will determine what characteristics your sales personnel should possess.
How is the customer served? Is it a personal sales call? A visit to the customer’s home to explain your service or product and then prepare a quote and explain it? Or is it primarily a telephone contact? Or is it via electronic media with a customer service interaction for questions? How you service customers and what vehicles you use to connect with customers and prospects will determine the type of sales personnel needed.
The workload will determine the number of personnel and type. Is the work predominantly field work with some inside sales support? Or is it primarily inside sales contact with customers with an occasional field sales call? The answers will determine the number and quantity of sales personnel needed.
What tools are needed? Desktop computers, laptops, tablets?
What type of personality is needed? Go back to the initial considerations – the dynamics of the buying and how the customer is served. If the sale is primarily in the field in someone’s living room, you will need a different personality than if it is primarily a telephone contact with an inside sales person who needs to be able to create a customer relationship without ever meeting the customer face-to-face.
As a business owner, your first and most important role are sales. But at some point, you are going to need help if you want to grow your business. Hiring sales personnel is sometimes an iterative process. The first person you hire may not work. Recognize that fact fast and adjust.