By - Sandi Webster

Hiring Top Sales People

Your sales team is at the heart of your small business. A great sales team can increase revenues, keep current clients satisfied, and bring in new customers, but your business can stagnate and suffer without the right salespeople. When looking to hire the best sales team for your business, there isn’t much room to improvise on the recruiting process. Hiring top talent requires effort and patience. Here are a few steps to get started:




The first step is to develop guidelines that will help to identify and prioritize the required and desirable attributes of a sales candidate fit for your organization. Lee B. Salz of the Sales Architects blog suggests creating a profile of your ideal sales candidate as a part of your “needs analysis strategy.”

“Just like the salesperson needs a profile of the ideal client, the recruiter needs a profile of the ideal candidate to develop their needs analysis strategy. This detailed, written description presents a comprehensive picture of the successful candidate for the role. This document serves as the basis for the entire sales talent screening program. Interviews, mock role plays, and assessments should compare the candidate to this profile.”



Geoffrey James of Inc. Magazine notes that many entrepreneurs hire salespeople without knowing how their customers want vendors to sell.

“The more you find out about the environment in which your sales rep will be selling, the better you’ll be able to decide whether a particular candidate is right for the job. And by the way: Your customers will be complimented and pleased that you bothered to ask.”



Once you’ve created a profile of your ideal sales candidate (an avatar) and learned what your customer wants, you’ll be able to write a concise and detailed job description. Refrain from using jargon and be specific on what exactly the position requires and the duties performed by that role.



Look to colleagues, customers, family, and friends for personal referrals. Utilizing your personal and professional relationships will most likely yield the best results and is also less time-consuming. As a last resort, place your job description on legitimate job boards, such as, and industry publications.



Once you’ve selected a candidate to interview, remember to remain personable and only communicate open-ended questions to avoid answers you’d prefer to hear. Your job during this stage is to assess the candidate’s character by asking questions that illustrate personal experiences that complement the primary attributes listed on their resume. Lastly, it would be best to determine how the candidate measures up against the profile you’ve created by the interviewing process.



When discussing compensation, Jim Dunn, a sales training expert for Whetstone group, says,

Every salesperson will tell you that they’re very money-motivated, which is probably what you’re looking for, especially if they’re paid on commission. But in most cases, their past experience will demonstrate whether or not they have a track record of making large-figure sales.

Dunn advises requesting to see the candidate’s final W-2 form to verify their past-income claims.



No guarantee hiring a new sales member will work out in the long run. Create a formal probationary period along with precise measurements of sales expectations during this trial.  I like to give every new salesperson 90 days from their start date to get a solid sales contract.  Based on the salesperson’s actions and leads, I will know at 45 days if this person is a keeper.

By following these simple steps, you’ll be able to hire the right salesperson that will contribute to impressive new growth.


This blog is an updated version of an original blog. The blog was updated by Dr. Sandi Webster on 6/27/21.