The specific needs of the channels, markets, accounts and distributors will require you to hire the right staff and ensure that they are the aligned well with the businesses they're linked to.
- There are many books, seminars, and some terrific courses right here in the library about recruiting and hiring the right people. There are also training programs created specifically for sales managers on how to hire the right salespeople. Those courses should be required for all of us, and even if you've been hiring for years, every so often some refresher classes are well worth the investment. What I want to focus on now though is the critical nature of hiring or redeploying salespeople to fit your sales channel plan.
Like any general title such as integrated marketing manager, business development manager, or sales representative, there are specialists within each of those titles. Some people might be more in sync with social media marketing compared to corporate marketing avenues. As sales managers, we know full well that some people are better suited to some channels, accounts, or situations rather than others. A standard one size fits all approach to developing a sales channel sales team just won't work.
Once again, I'm recommending bringing in another department early to help you with this process. It can only be to your advantage if your human resources contact is fully aware of your needs, mission, and hiring style. You always need to be hands-on with recruiting and hiring, but a well informed HR person can help you so much, and save you a lot of time. You can create a hiring strategy by following the key sections of your sales channel business plan.
Lay out the entire organizational structure so you can visually see the areas where staff is already in place, where hiring will be needed, in addition to noting the number of new team members, and the timeframe required. There are many good org chart software packages that you can use that will enable you to have all of that information in one spot. Obviously job descriptions are important, but I guarantee you that we all have a very similar one for sales representative. Regardless of the similarities, you need to fine tune it based on your specific channel needs.
What are the qualities you're looking for in a national accounts retail executive compared with a salesperson you want calling on major corporations? There are different styles and qualifications for someone selling a product compared with one who may be selling a service from your company. These are critical nuances that you need to have a plan in place before recruiting the process begins. Adding staff is a lot of fun but recruiting is a lot of work. Fact is, you own those hires, so where do you start? Clearly you've got some leads within your own company, and you should have a good handle on that already.
My advice is to be open minded and not say an immediate yes or no to any salesperson looking to be redeployed into a different channel. You've also spent time doing market research of your competitors, and speaking with accounts large and small. If you've been asking good questions and listening, I'll bet one or two good names of salespeople have come up. Conversely, there are probably some salespeople to avoid too. You don't want to do your competition any favors by hiring someone they're trying to ease out.
The specific needs of the channels, markets, customers, and accounts, will require you to hire the right salespeople, and ensure they are aligned well with the business they'll be linked to. Hiring a sales staff entails a lot more pressure than many people think since a mistake can impact revenue for a long time. Developing a recruiting and hiring strategy is well worth your time and investment.
- Surveying the marketplace
- Reviewing channels
- Managing channels and investments
- Developing a go forward plan
- Working with other departments and teams
- Handling channel conflict
- Forecasting sales
- Creating a channel marketing structure