Last week I asked this community what topics they wanted me to tackle. Simon had a good question, so I’m going to jump on his first. Simon’s question was; what makes a company attractive to sales people.
The first and most important thing about a company to a sales person is . . . believing they can be successful. Sales people make a living on performance. Their livelyhood is tied to their ability to drive revenue for the company. No revenue, no commissions. If a sales person doesn’t feel they can be successful, they aren’t going to be attracted to the job. No one wants to fail, especially sales people.
To make a company attractive to sales people the following are critical:
- a generally available, hip, exciting, fun, cool, product that is in high demand – no one likes selling paper clips
- a generous, yet fair commission plan with upside potential
- sales focused leadership – sales people can be leery of companies run by finance or techies, they often don’t appreciate the selling cycle and this shows in the culture
- A culture where sales people are revered – sales people like to know they are important
- Freedom – allow the sales people to manager their own business, there is nothing worse to a sales person than micro-management
- Support – technical and operational, sales people hate getting mired in the crap that keeps them from selling, give them the tools and the people to be successful
- Customer focused environment – sales people are the face of the company. They need to know the customer matters and their customers will be treated like gold
- Opportunities for growth – sales people can get bored, knowing they can do other things is important
- Did I say a good commission plan? I’ll say it again.
- Belief they can be more successful at your company than the next company
- BONUS: Great leadership
Attracting great sales people is about providing as much of the above as possible. It’s about creating a place where sales people believe they can be successful. It’s about creating a sales culture that brings in as many of the traits into a system that ensures the sales person, the sales team, and the company will succeed. Sales people can be a lot like athletes. They are paid on performance. They know the impact they make on an organization, therefore they want to play for winners, who appreciate what they do and show it in the systems, the leadership and the compensation.
To attract the sales people, whether you are a start-up or a well established company, build an environment with as many of the above as possible and wrap into a compelling culture. Do this and you’ll have all kinds of sales people whistling at you. You’ll be more than attractive . . . you’ll be HOT!