Top B2B Blogs

B2B Marketing

Featured Author on Business 2 Community

AG on IT Marketing World

Subscribe by Email

Your email:

Browse by Tag

Sales Prospecting Perspectives

Current Articles | RSS Feed RSS Feed

The Benefits Of Hiring An Inexperienced Sales Rep


Hiring a new sales rep can be an interesting exercise for us.  Our services are not the easiest to sell. We offer a solution that most companies think they can do on their own and for less than they will spend on our services. To compound this issue, a lot of these companies have used other services to solve their problem and have been "burned" by companies that offer pieces of what we do. Picture your shoes being untied as you go for a walk, but you can't bend over to tie them because you have your hands full with groceries. (Yes I know you could put the groceries down, but roll with me here). Anyways, a person comes along and offers to tie your shoes for you for five dollars. Seems to be a waste, but you need the shoes tied so you give the person 5 bucks. He ties your shoes and then as soon as you start walking you fall on your face dropping your groceries all over the street. You look at your feet only to discover the guy has tied your shoe laces together. You tie your shoes the correct way, start walking and they become untied again. Here I come along and say "hey I can tie your shoes for you so that they stay tied, but it will cost 10 bucks". That's a tough sell.

As we think about who to bring onto the team we will look at what always appears to be a million resumes. Each one has the true sales spin on it, using terms such as rainmaker, self starter and my favorite, elephant hunter. Many of them look great and I would be happy to hire several of them, though the "elephant hunter" seemed to be logical choice to me. I mean hell, if a guy can bring down an elephant, he can surely sell our solution. My CEO will look at all the resumes, listen to my recommendations and then proceeded to ignore all of them. He often prefers to hire the guy with a total of 0 days experience selling solutions like ours. He explains, "He has all the tools to do this job and no one knows it yet." I would be skeptical to say the least, but fast forward 6 months, and the guy is a rainmaker. How does this happen? Not that I get upset about it, but I thought for sure that we needed to invest significantly in someone with plenty of experience to get the job done.

As it turns out the inexperienced candidates greatest weakness was can be his greatest strength. They are a blank slate. As the person responsible for training I did not yet understand this. I would have to show him who to call, when to call, what to say, what steps to follow, how to prepare a proposal, how to negotiate, hell even how to dress for different meetings. I quickly realized how much easier it was to train someone who just listened and learned, and did not have any preconceived notions or bad habits to undo. Absorbing every piece of information I could throw at them, following our processes to a T. A lot of experienced reps would have used their knowledge from past sales experience to guide them in their sales process. This could be great. Then again, this could be awful. Our sales process is a bit unique and more than a couple of reps have come to us thinking they were going to crush their number only to leave with their tail tucked between their legs. As these inexperienced new hires grow into their roles, I am always pleasantly surprised with how fast they pick things up.

When I relay my surprise with how well they are doing to my CEO, he explains: "What I look for in a sales rep is work ethic, intelligence, personality and the willingness to learn. The sales process can be taught. The personality traits cannot. I trained you and you were a lot further behind than him. Now you are training him. The goal is to have all of us sell the same way, to have the same message and the same great results. It takes a bit more work, but the end result makes it worth it." He has created a process to develop a sales team that emulates the behavior and has the passion of the first person to successfully sell our solution, himself. There is no replacing a great experienced sales rep. They bring industry knowledge, they are usually up and running quickly, they have contacts and they don't need to be closely watched over. That being said, you may want to look into bringing on some unproven sales executives into the mix at some point. They are a clean slate ready to learn and execute the sales process in the way that you would like. If you have the time, they could be well worth the investment.


Great post! Your CEO's perspective on hiring sales reps reminds of a quote from Chariots of Fire, by Ian Holm's character, the coach of Ben Cross's character, Harold Abrahams. He was referring to running but it of course applies to sales reps as well. 
"Well, you can't put in what God's left out!" 
Tom Scearce
Posted @ Monday, July 19, 2023 1:39 PM by Tom Scearce
Tom thank you very much for reading and comparing (somewhat) my blog post to "Chariots of Fire"! Awesome flick. That said, the quote is on the money. When it comes to sales some people have "it" and most people do not have "it". "It" can't be taught.  
Happy Hunting and thanks again for reading.
Posted @ Tuesday, July 20, 2023 12:42 PM by Chris Lang
Comments have been closed for this article.