If you have closed at least one sale, the short answer is NOW! Whether you decide to hire or contract with someone to help you, you should start preparing now. Although you may have not formally created a sales department, you ARE the sales department if you have attempted to persuade someone to buy your product or service.
So since you have probably already made an attempt at this point, let’s talk about some things you should do in order to prepare for the day when you will be ready for expansion, which I hope is very soon!
Here are a few essential steps to take in order to prepare for expansion
Sales Process Documentation — Start formulating what are the basic steps from: who your market is, to how you get your leads, to what steps have to be taken in order to complete the sale, and what service is expected from the salesperson after the sale. Writing this down (or typing) will actually help you now as well.
This is the beginning of your sales process. You also want to have some way of tracking contacts and business in some type of software. There is no excuse for a spreadsheet because CRM (client relationship management) software have become a very inexpensive option.
Sales Presentation — Document and gather any material you use to either review yourself or show to a potential client in order to close the sale. This would include a printout of your website, brochures, industry studies, business card sample, etc.
If you have a packet like this, it will be easier to delegate at least part of your sales process to a support person prior to hiring a fulltime salesperson by having the support person prepare all packets or marketing material before your appointments. Good salespeople will want to have something to establish credibility with potential clients, however this exercise is good for you also.
Compensation Plan — It is important that your commission plan is straightforward and easy to understand. If it is not, most good salespeople will not give you a second look because salespeople will need to be able to either understand it themselves, or be able to show it to someone they trust who will understand it and feel that the opportunity is legitimate.
Try to stay as close as possible to how your competitors pay their sales people and add a slight premium to that amount since you don’t have a proven track record of hiring salespeople yet. To help you see what type of money someone could make at your opportunity, you might want to start figuring out what you would make yourself in commissions on the business you close.
If you begin working on these 3 steps fairly early in the process, you will not only have a much better chance of finding good salespeople, but will also close more sales in the meantime.
By Devin Mason