What about hiring a salesperson?

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Many of my clients want to hire a salesperson. They figure they are not very good at selling, so why not hire somebody.

In my opinion, this can be a huge mistake. Here’s why:

1. Salespeople take a lot of energy to manage.

2. Salespeople are not “magic bullets” that instantly sell for you. You have to provide them with tools, expectations, a good compensation structure, a good solution set, and marketing collateral.

3. Only about 1 in 5 or 1 in 10 salespeople are any good. The rest are no better, if not worse, than you.

4. It is very hard to find that 1 in 10 who is great, and harder still to keep them happy with you. Most great salespeople are gainfully employed and earning great money.

5. You have to distinguish between salespeople who generate leads and those who manage accounts. The former (getting leads) is the most valuable, because these people don’t mind making calls and visiting strangers. But you have to watch out for the people who love going to networking events and “schmoozing.” They are often worthless.

6. You need to know how to ask good questions about pipeline management and activities to keep the salesperson honest and accountable. Few technical people do.

In my opinion, it is far better for you to master marketing and sales as a professional, develop a system and then — when your firm is big enough, start recruiting a salesperson. In other words, don’t abdicate the sales and marketing function.

If you have had a good experience with a salesperson, please post it here, including what you did to make it work out for you.

(P.S. See my new web site as listed above in my bio if you haven’t already. I’ve taken itprosuccess off and put in its place a new site. Your comments to me via the email on that site are welcome, but need not be posted here at Sitepoint).

Andrew NeitlichAndrew Neitlich
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