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By Tawheed Kader, Founder & CEO at ToutApp
I come from an engineering background. When I began building ToutApp, I thought that I needed to hire an experienced rep. This didn’t work well for us though for a few reasons, including:
- They had lots of baggage
- Need a support system
- Need a playbook
- Can sell. But cannot necessarily build
On the other hand, there are perils from hiring inexperienced reps as well, including:
- Need a Support System
- Need a Playbook
- Can’t necessarily sell. But can build.
We’ve had a lot of success growing people with no sales experience. We focus on hiring people who have the following:
- Don’t necessarily focus on sales experiences.
- Focus on hiring 10X-ers.
- Have a steady progression into a selling role.
- Follow an iterative process of learning and building a selling system.
No Prior Experience Required
When I hired our first rep that brought in Dropbox, Box, Atlassian, and some of our biggest customers, she told me that she didn’t want to be in sales.
Find the 10X-ers
We look for 10X-ers to join our team. A 10X-er shorthand for the qualities and temperament we see from our top sales reps. During the hiring process, we’ll review a prospective hire’s LinkedIn profile and conduct background research. During the interview process itself, we look focus on six attributes that characterize our 10X-ers.
The attributes that we look for include:
- Culture – Incredibly important and company specific.
- Skills & Abilities – Do you have these?
- Affinity – you have to love what you do.
- Experience – consider what experience is necessary for the role. VP of sales needs sales experience, a new sales rep doesn’t need sales experience.
- Sparkle – Some people call this grit. It’s what binds you together with your team.
- Clock Speed – When you’re talking with them at a quick pace, can they keep up with you and learn fast?
Some common characteristics that we see from our highest performing reps include:
- They had responsibility at a very early age. One of our best reps helped out their parent’s pizza chain after school.
- Is incredibly mission driven.
- Millennials don’t want tasks. They want a mission they can believe in.
- If your vision matters, then your salespeople will do what it takes to make a sale.
- Understands the difference between tasks, objectives and goals.
- Creative and systems level thinkers.
- You need people who solve a class of problems, not just one problem.
- If you can hire people who are system level thinkers, imagine what you can do.
Have a steady progression into a selling role.
Our sales reps grow into their roles as salespeople. Sales reps begin in a reactive role and are focused on helping customers and prospects. Next, we’ll have our salespeople work on being more proactive and helpful. Lastly, our salespeople learn how to proactively reach out to prospects and close deals.
In other organizations, this type of structure would be structured as follows:
- Customer Success – reactive help
- MDRs – proactive help
- Closers – consultative sales and closing
In our experience, by the time someone has progressed through all steps in a selling role, they’ll be a super rep.