Does your agency have a repeatable hiring process in place? In an earlier post, I mentioned that the first step in the hiring process is to identify and define what kind of person you are looking for, what they need to succeed in the role, and what responsibilities they will have in order to meet your business goals.
Once you’ve identified who you are looking for, and considered how you will compensate them, you must determine where you will post the job and how you can get the attention of the higher-quality candidates your agency needs.
Here are some ideas that will keep you a step ahead of your competition when it comes to hiring:
- Network your way to your next sales hire. Make it a point to pay attention to the people who are doing business development for creative agencies, seek them out and establish relationships with them. You may be able to vet a potential candidate before you need them, and you may get an earlier notification when a great salesperson suddenly becomes available.
- Reward people who refer your next great hire. Employees are often the best recruiters since they can relay to people in their network all the good things about working for your agency. You can also open up your incentive to those outside of your company. Paying someone to connect you with your next hire is a time saving and cost-effective way to source candidates.
- Respond to everyone who sends you their resume. Show candidates that you value their time by thanking them for their interest, confirming receipt of their submission, and keeping them informed about the status of their application. In a competitive hiring environment, overlooking courteous communications could cost you a desirable candidate.
In a recent Forbes Agency Council post, Brandon Stapper shared some of his agency “hiring hacks,” which include using an online job posting aggregator like Workable to create and manage online job posts. Workable allows you to post your job to 15 of the most well-known job boards in a single shot. Broaden your applicant pool by getting your ad in front of more people.
How to focus on the most relevant candidates
In my opinion, an online assessment is a must when hiring a salesperson. A candidate may say anything to look good, but the results of a quality assessment test seldom lie. Using an assessment is a great way to quickly disqualify candidates while cutting back on the amount of time wasted interviewing those who are not a good fit. You can also use the assessment to identify potential clarification questions for the interview. If you are looking for an online sales assessment tool, we like one offered by The Devine Group.
Don’t forget to view resumes with a healthy dose of skepticism. If you like a candidate, be sure to check references and verify resume claims.
If you think hiring a salesperson is a tough task, hiring a good one is even tougher!
Keep in mind…
- While hiring a salesperson from another agency is often a great way to get someone who can hit the ground running, keep in mind that you might be doing the other agency a favor by taking their business development person off their hands. Do your due diligence!
- Beware a salesperson who knows all the right things to say in the interview. Some salespeople are much better at interviewing than selling, which is not nearly as good for your bottom line as it is for theirs.
A note on timing
Do you need a new business person to bring in a new revenue stream, like, yesterday? Then you probably should have started to build a hiring process twelve months ago. Yes, seriously.
It’s critical to plan for your agency business development person well in advance. Last week I was interviewed by Hubspot for a post on agency sales problems. They wanted to know about how long it typically takes to hire and onboard a new business person. In the best case scenario, it’s probably three months, but more likely it's closer to six. Factor in time to locate, attract, and hire a more experienced person in a senior position and those numbers may differ slightly. After they are hired, they still have to be trained on your agency’s practices and go through onboarding. And then they need to ramp up, get prospects in their funnel and develop the relationships that ultimately lead to closed business.
Depending on who you hire, they may bring some business or some strong industry contacts with them. This can reduce or offset the time for your new hire to ramp up and start bringing in closed deals. Be aware, though, it could be nearly a year out from the time you first identify a need before your new hire is in place, up to speed, and able to earn at their full potential.
Always be looking for your next great hire….
The above timeline assumes you suddenly realize a need for a new business person and are starting from scratch. You can significantly cut down on the time by interviewing on an ongoing basis throughout the year. For example, I have an ongoing job posting and a steady stream of applicants. If I see anyone I am interested in, I send them an online assessment and depending on how they score I will set up an interview with them.
By accepting applications on candidates’ schedules, whenever they are actively looking, I get access to a whole stream of people that I would never see if I waited to do my hiring within a small time frame. Because I have made these connections and pre-vetted my arsenal of new business all-stars, whenever I need to staff up, I can do it in fairly short order; say one to three months.
In my next post, I will tackle interviewing strategies, techniques, and questions specifically for hiring a new business person for your agency. If you haven’t already subscribed to the Duval Partnership Blog, you can do so here.
Get better at hiring new business professionals:
Read more about how to hire a new business person for your agency:
- 3 Common Sales Hiring Mistakes Made by Creative Agencies
- How to Hire an Agency New Business Person: Needs Assessment
- How to Compensate Your Agency New Business Person
This was originally published on LinkedIn Pulse by Mark Duval on May 26, 2016.
Image credit: © sondem / 123RF Stock Photo; modified by resizing and text overlay.