Recruiting the right people for the right role is always a task that has so much riding on it. After all, you don't want to invest significant time and resources in getting someone that actually takes you backwards. Full time positions are meant to be long-term, so it's important to get it right.
Taking on 'sales' staff can be an even riskier exercise because you will be relying on those very people to generate your future business. The worst case scenario would be investing in a recruitment campaign for a sales position or team, not getting the right people, but still having all the associated costs and then struggling for future business. And it does happen, all too regularly.
Being a very important part of your overall organisation/team, the sales department and its individuals can be quite complex and definitely require proper 'care and attention'. Once you have been through a process to get the right people in place, it really isn't simply a case of letting them get on with it i.e. chasing targets and their commission. The sales team must work cohesively towards a strategy set by you i.e. providing them with direction and a plan on how to get there.
It goes without saying that you will want the best people, but you will also want to retain them. There comes a double-edged sword in having really good sales performers - they do well and will have their eye on the next step, be that upwards in your organisation or sideways into another organisation, maybe for better terms and conditions. So, if you work at creating the right environment for them to be successful, enjoy what they do, and are appreciated and rewarded for their efforts, then they are far more likely to commit to your cause.
We therefore suggest that you create a sales recruitment strategy for bringing in the right people, for providing those people with a proper induction and for offering ongoing professional development, training and coaching. You could link performance to some of these benefits so that it is not only financial remuneration that drives success, but the overall package deal that comes with your company being a great place to work.
Also, think about rewarding success with additional responsibility; show that good performance can lead to a greater involvement in 'closing the deal' rather than simply being lead generators. Those that provide clear and deliberate opportunities for their sales teams can expect loyalty and enhanced performance, especially if your staff are satisfied with their salary packages.
While we are on the subject of financial rewards, retain your team's motivation and commitment by keeping commission rates high, possibly at the expense of the fixed salary element, to show the top performers and those aspiring to be, that potentially the sky really is the limit and people might want to stick around for the long-term.
This of course will benefit everyone, as it limits the churn in the sales team, so less recruitment is required (so less resources) and those already in the sales team can grow their understanding of the organisation which will help them a healthy performance level.
It all comes back to the very fabric of building a great sales team - making sure you get the recruitment strategy right in the first place, so that your staff enter a culture and follow a strategy that is designed to make them want to stay and do well. Get this 'right first time' and the benefits can be exceptional.