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How We Hire Sales People
We’re going through an interesting time at CANDDi in terms of sales. We’ve never had a problem actually selling the system, it solves a huge problem for businesses and there is definitely an appetite for it, where we’ve historically struggled is scaling our sales team - we’ve done some things really well, and other things we’ve messed up on.
It’s been quite a learning curve to say the least, and we’re at the stage now where we know what we’ve done wrong, we’ve fixed it and it’s just a case of rinse and repeat. We thought we’d document our hiring process in the hopes that it may help other businesses in a similar situation to us.
Where CANDDi is at the moment -
We’ve just turned 7 with 20 members of staff and have turnover the right side of £1 million. We’re based in the Northern Quarter of Manchester, and provide the most innovative business-to-business web tracking tool available - it helps companies make more sales and increase their revenue. We’ve got plans to increase to 40 members of staff by the end of 2017, and want to become like UK Fast when we grow up :)
The Sales Process -
We’re a telesales company, we contact (and are contacted by) companies to arrange time for an online demo. We then do the demo and sign people up.
Where we’ve messed up in the past -
Demo bookers & Demo doers - In the past we’ve had ‘demo bookers’ and ‘demo doers’ versus one person taking ownership of the whole process, we decided to move away from having two separate roles. Having the same person deal with the whole sales process means that they become competent quicker, they book better demos, and their prospect appreciates the consistency of dealing with the same person. That being said, during the training of new hires (for a very short period of time) they will book demos that they won’t do themselves but this is literally for a week or so.
Strength in numbers - Our sales function historically has always consisted of one brilliant sales person (it’s been me, Tim, Fred, Lisa, or Drew) and that one person has carried the target and in most cases nailed it - but sales is up and down so when that one sales person was in a rut (we’ve all been there!) or when people have decided to move on, it’s been stressful on the business and also puts that person under huge pressure too. We’re going to ensure we’re never in that situation again by making sure we have multiple people in the team to share the target.
The future is bright - When we’ve hired seasoned sales people, we’ve spent huge amounts of time trying to get them out of bad habits they’ve picked up, and it’s painful for everybody involved. CANDDi’s sales environment is unique, we don’t micro manage, we don’t have shitty targets, we are incredibly supportive, and Tim and I would do ANYTHING for the team, all we ask in return is they graft. So when we hire people we want them to self manage. We give them an enormous amount of space, assuming they work their arse of in return. Through experience we find that recent grads respond best to this. They’re smart, mouldable, hungry to succeed, and don’t come with the baggage of a stubborn sales person.
Our current hiring process -
One thing we value highly in CANDDi across the board, is constructive feedback…we’re an evolving company and we’re on a really exciting journey, the only way we are going to improve and reach our goals is by learning and improving. So regardless of if the candidates get the job or not, they’ll get tonnes of feedback from us at each stage to let them know how they got on what they did well at, and how they can improve - and we welcome feedback in return too! There are three stages of our recruitment process…an informal chat, a telephone role-play, and a formal interview. I’ve broken each stage down here…
1) The Informal Chat In most instances, you end up spending more time at work with your colleagues than you do with your friends and family, so it’s really important to try and make sure we gel with our future colleagues - it’s a big decision. The CANDDi Culture is really important to us, and we want to make sure whoever we bring into our ‘dysfunctional family’ (meet the team here www.canddi.com/our-team/) is going add to what we have and thrive in our environment. This stage is all about getting to know the candidate, who they are, what drives them, what they want to be when they ‘grow up’ (I still want to be an ambulance driver!), and it’s their opportunity to ask us ANYTHING about us and CANDDi. And if either party decides that there isn’t a fit…it’s OK, neither party is too invested, and it’s all good experience.
2) The Telephone Role-Play If we’re all still excited to move forward, the next stage will be a telephone role-play, usually with me…I normally send over a copy of the ‘demo booking’ script we use, and give the candidate a few days to digest it and arrange a time for them to give me a call and act as if i’m a business they’re trying to sell CANDDi to. The objective is to try and get me to agree to see an online demonstration of CANDDi, and what i’ll be looking at in this call is: Their telephone manner, objection handling, and whether they get me to say yes! Ok, so it’s a little awkward as it’s a role play and a false situation, but it’s essential for them to get an idea of what the job entails and for us to see what they’d be like.
3) Formal Interview If all goes well with the telephone role play, we’ll invite the candidate in for a (“formal”) interview. This again, is usually with Tim and myself, and it’s an opportunity to get to know them a bit more, what do they find challenging? what motivates them? what are they like when things aren’t going as well as they’d like them to? how do we get the best out of them? This stage is where we can learn more about what makes them tick and how we can get them to be as successful as possible with CANDDi (and any of their future jobs!). Once the interview is done, we’ll have a chat internally, and we’ll be in touch to let them know what’s next!
I hope you’ve found reading this useful, and would love to hear what works for you. Get in touch if you want to discuss any of the above further over a coffee, we’re on Newton Street in Manchester, pop in!