5 Smart Moves for Hiring the Best Salespeople

Welcome to Recruiter QA, where we pose employment-related questions to the experts and share their answers! Have a question you'd like to ask? Leave it in the comments, and you might just see it in the next installment of Recruiter QA!

Today's Question: What's your top advice for hiring the best sales representatives?

The answers below are provided by members of FounderSociety, an invitation-only organization composed of ambitious startup founders and business owners.

1. Ask Them to Write a One- or Two-Page Strategy

We ask our prospective sales hires to write us a 1-2 pager about how they'd plan to go about growing our sales. This allows us to see how they think and gives them an incentive to think strategically about our business before they arrive.

— Lisa Curtis, Kuli Kuli

2. Offer a Great Commission and Lower Base Pay

The best sales representatives are willing to forego a higher base pay in exchange for a higher commission rate. If you offer a higher commission rate, only the hardworking and most effective sales representatives will join your company.

— Ajmal Saleem, Suprex Learning

3. Develop Your Sales System First

Sales is the most critical function for a startup. Many founders abhor spending the time required to develop sales processes. There are no easy answers. Hiring an ace salesperson rarely creates a scalable system, nor does partnering with an outside firm to provide leads. It is up to you to prospect leads and build your funnel. Once you have a process, add good salespeople to execute your plays.

— Tony Banta, Live Mercury, Inc.

4. Look for People Experienced in Your CRM Tools

I won't tell you to look at their past performance or check their background – that stuff is obvious. What I will say is that you need to ensure they're either experienced in your CRM tools or willing to learn them. Especially in sales, accountability is essential, and your salespeople can't be accountable if they're unwilling to use your established systems.

— Steven Buchwald, The E2 Visa Lawyer

5. Hire Candidates Based on Their Intrinsic Qualities

We believe it's best for people to live true to their intrinsic characteristics. So, hiring extroverted people who thrive on being around others and who are passionate about what you do as a business is a win-win for everyone. They will do what they love – and what they're naturally good at. Meanwhile, your business will be better represented by them.

— Jessica Baker, Aligned Signs