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5 Questions You Must Ask When Hiring Sales People


Sales and Marketing
Good Sales people are like gold-dust, in high demand and can be expensive. So how do you distinguish who can cut the mustard and those that will just limp along without ever hitting target? You must ask these 5 sales questions when hiring sales people:

What motivates you?

There’s only one correct answer, or variation of this answer and that’s money. They have to chase money like it’s unrequited love because that’s what will have the phone glued to their hand for weeks on end. However, you must observe when hiring sales people. Saying they’re ‘money-motivated’ is easy; proving it is another. Watch their body language – do they keep eye contact with you when they say it? Do they look physically hungry for it? If the answer is yes, move on to the next. After every question, there’s inevitably a follow-up question. Why does money motivate them? Is there a long-term plan that you should know about? A house, a car or a future of laying in wads of £50 notes? Whatever it is, when hiring sales people, it’s important to see if you are both on a linear journey together or if there’s going to be cracks in the road further down the line. According to Peppercline’s Online MBA program, 1 in 10 say open communication is the most important component of an employee-boss relationship which is just one of the ways of motivating sales people so be sure to start early.

What are your salary expectations?

You may think this is a given, after all, it is an interview. However, unlike standard interviews where candidates don’t have to prove their skills to you in the moment, hiring sales people is a whole new ball game. Getting a job is a job in itself. You have to play a certain game in order to get what you want out of it without over-stepping the mark. In this instance, no one wants to be the first to give a number and they want and enjoy the back and forth. Ebsta’s Founder and CEO Guy Rubin says that when he’s hiring Sales people, there’s a tactic he uses, “This is the question where candidates must prove themselves. When I ask “What are your salary expectations?”, I expect them to come back with “What does the role offer?” to which I reply with “It’s dependent on experience” and they reply with “I’m looking for 30,000” so I say give a lower number, say “£25,000” which is when it gets really interesting; this is where they prove their skills. I want them to negotiate with me. If they don’t, I won’t hire them.”

What were your targets at your last sales job?

In the data-driven world that we find ourselves in, numbers are everything. If candidates can back up their claims with impressive numbers, they should definitely be piquing your interest. Targets are always a great place to start because you know what KPI’s they’re used to hitting and whether they’d struggle with yours. You can also ask how much they billed over the last 6 months, how many calls did they make a day, how many emails, how many prospects were in the sales process at any one time? All of this information will help you gain an understanding into the type of Sales person that they are.

What Sales tools have you used before?

9 times out of 10, Sales teams will be using some form of CRM. Take Ebsta for example. We use Salesforce internally and our own Ebsta Enterprise edition tool so that Sales teams have 100% accurate data when and as they need it. Finding out if your candidates have experience with similar products will help you determine how much training will be required after hiring. If they’re familiar with Salesforce, they’ll be able to fit right in and get started with the way your sales process works. If not, you’ll have to account some time for training them up. Either way, when you’re hiring sales people, you want to know the capabilities of your candidates and asking them which sales tools they’ve worked with previously will help you do that.

What questions do you ask prospects when you’re trying to sell to them?

When you’re hiring sales people, you must remember this – the best Sales Reps should know that you need to a) be speaking to the Decision Maker before starting a discussion, b) identify their customer pain points and c) that they meet your business criteria I.e. have budget/are over X amount of people etc. If the candidate doesn’t have an answer, it’s obvious they have no idea how to begin a sales process. You need someone that can jump in at the deep end and swim their way to sales success. There’s a lot of Managers that enjoy the old role-play technique during an interview and unimaginatively, it’s the ‘sell me this pen’ routine that people have been using since sales began. Use this question as your role-play and bounce off their answers – engage in an interview sales process of your product without having to come out and say it. It works a treat, we promise.

The Hiring Sales People Secret

The secret to hiring sales people isn’t just asking them these questions, it’s about how they sell themselves to you as a sales person, not just someone looking for a job. Of course, you need to determine if they’re the right fit for your environment too, according to, 67% of workers believe that the most important aspect of a job was to have an employer with similar values. However, before you even get to that stage, you need the foundations in place. Getting the best in the business isn’t easy, but the best things in life never are. Once you’ve hired your Sales Reps, building a successful sales team that never misses target can be tough but we have all the top tips.  
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Katrina Holmes

Hey, I'm the Content Manager at Ebsta responsible for creating and maintaining our web content, blogs and our hip 'n' happening social media presence.

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