10 Mistakes To Avoid When Scaling Your Sales Team

By Brian McFadden, Director, Recruiters

With twelve years experience and three awards in sales recruitment, we have identified the following mistakes to avoid when building your sales team:

  1. Hire people familiar with your lead times: Consider lead times of a candidate’s previous experience. Someone used to a lead time of 6-9 months can struggle to adapt to a lead time of 6-9 weeks and the volumes.
  2. Don’t hire a “Rolodex”, hire an attitude: A new salespersons network is often a letdown. You need someone that can hunt, gather and close deals!
  3. Avoid job hoppers: I’ve heard every excuse but generally, the CV doesn’t lie. Many moves mean they became the common denominator as opposed to ALL the companies they worked for being wrong. Simply put, good performers are retained.
  4. Hire for cultural fit: A bad cultural fit often results in a changing atmosphere which can result in top performers leaving.
  5. Hire those that are familiar with your order value: Hiring a rep that needs to adjust significantly to the value of your product/service will mean a change in negotiating and relationship skills. This may take months to master.
  6. Don’t hire based on your gut: Be disciplined and score candidates against defined criteria. I’ve seen too many hiring managers make expensive decisions on behalf of their team based on their gut.
  7. Hire someone that’s good with numbers: Negotiation is key and your reps need to be sharp. Don’t forget to test on numerical reasoning. Ask them to calculate a % of two numbers on the spot during the interview – very simple but extremely effective.
  8. Conduct a telephone interview: Your reps need to know how to talk to customers on the phone if they want to sell effectively. Never assume they’re good at it! Always test as part of the process.
  9. Make sure they have sales personality: Sounds obvious, but it’s not. Screen applicants for traits in relationship building, emotional intelligence, conscientiousness and drive.
  10. Choose the right agency: Only use recruitment agencies that have a proven track record in sales recruitment. This will save your time, money and hassle when scaling your team.