Staffing your Sales Team

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October 14, 2009
Recently, I traveled up to Kohler, Wisconsin for a much needed "Fall Getaway". I was in the car for 5 hours, which gave me ample time to catch up on my industry specific readings. I read an article in the magazine "SI Review" titled "Staffing your Sales Team"  and I read it from the perspective of particular hiring trends for staffing your sales team within the Indianapolis staffing industry. I have been in the Indianapolis staffing industry for almost 16 years and during that time, I have gone back and forth about what type of individual to hire to sell That’s Good HR, Inc.’s services. In my opinion, there are typically 3 types of backgrounds to look at:

  • Background 1: Someone who has general industry experience- they have sold for the staffing industry previously and you just have to teach them about your niche
  • Background 2: Someone who has sales experience but in another industry and you have to teach them about the staffing industry
  • Background 3: Someone who has worked within the discipline that we sell and you teach them sales (i.e. an ex. accountant)

And the answer is….. actually, it depends. There is no single model for a successful sales force. Now, I don’t feel so bad that I have always been wishy washy through the years as to what I was looking for. The reality is I have hired people which each of the above backgrounds and I have had successes and failures with all of them in the organizations that I have worked for.

I am so glad that I stumbled onto this article and read it because it made some great points that I absolutely agree with and it provided some clarity around those hiring decisions.  No longer will I be always chasing after the answer to the perfect background and there isn’t one.

Here are a couple of great highlights from this article that I would like to share with you:

  • Each Staffing firm has its own unique culture, it’s critical to make sure the person’s work style will mesh well with your system
  • It is very difficult to teach an old dog new tricks, to change them to do business your way

And my favorite of all, as it speaks directly to our industry:

  • Not all sales experience is transferable. The staffing and recruiting industry is the hardest form of selling on the planet. It sells the only product or service on the market that can say no. That makes it unlike and more complicated than any other form of selling

Happy Sales Hiring!