Sales reps are the face of your publication, which makes hiring for this position especially challenging.
The best sales reps have an understanding of the market. They have the experience to identify prospective advertisers and convert qualified leads into sales. When sales reps are able to pinpoint the clients most likely to convert, sales increase and businesses grow.
Thankfully, there are steps you can take to get the hiring process started on the right foot. To put your organization in the best position for finding and hiring sales reps, start by following these five tips.
When you’re hiring sales reps, you’re going to wade through lots of resumes. As you sort through the applicants, look for signals that an individual is well-organized.
Reps are expected to keep track of client lists, call prospects at various points during the sales pipeline, and follow up with prospective clients at defined intervals. At many digital publications, sales reps are also expected to manage a CRM database. These are all tasks that require organization and attention to detail.
If a candidate returns your invitation for an in-person interview promptly, that’s a good starting point. Be honest with applicants during the interview process and make it clear you’re looking for a highly-organized individual for the job. You might also want to ask a few questions, like “How do you stay organized?” or “What is your experience with managing a CRM?” during the interview to gauge whether the applicant is a good fit.
Salespeople hear the word “no” more than “yes.” It’s a part of the job, but it’s also something not everyone can handle. A great salesperson will not only learn what the best targeted fit is for the sale, but they will understand that not all “no’s” are forever. A person who lets a few bad calls kill their energy is not the right fit for the field of digital media sales.
The best sales reps are perseverant, yet respectful. That means they maintain contact and follow up with sales prospects, but they aren’t so pushy that it draws prospects away from the publication. Experienced salespeople are aware that budgets and bandwidth are the rulers of decision making, and applying too much pressure on a potential client will usually backfire.
Once you’ve extended interview invitations to your top candidates, make sure to draw up a list of questions that include examples of perseverance at the workplace. During the interview process is also the best time to assess whether a prospect’s personality is a good fit for your publication.
As we’ve said before, digital media sales is all about timing. Telephone calls, emails, and other outreach efforts should all be conducted in a tactful manner, to assure each contact is getting the most out of the interaction.
When evaluating prospective sales reps, look for individuals who have experience juggling multiple tasks in busy work environments. Are they able to schedule their days using the latest digital tools and contact clients at the times when they’re most likely to be responsive? These are important skills to pay close attention to when hiring sales reps.
When you call a job applicant, do they pick up the phone or does your call go straight to voicemail? Especially with younger generations, telephone calls can be intimidating. However, being able to pick up a phone and cold call a potential lead is an important skill for a sales rep to have.
Clients want to work with sales reps who can provide as many answers to their questions as possible. They want someone who will answer the phone personally when they call with an issue or a concern. Without that personal attention, there is a good chance clients will move their ad dollars to a publication that’s able to provide that personal service.
You might not find a sales rep who possesses all of these characteristics. That’s OK. If a salesperson checks off the majority of these boxes, they might be the right person for the job.
Hiring sales reps is an art and a science. While there is no definitive blueprint to finding the best salesperson, these tips will give you a head start in finding someone who will represent your company well and convert leads into longtime clients.
To learn more about growing your publishing business through direct digital ad sales, contact Broadstreet today.
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