When Hiring for Sales, Two is Better than One

Devon-McDonald by

As an expansion stage business grows, it most often tends to add headcount in the area of sales. Makes sense, right? More leads to tend to, more opportunities to manage, more deals to close, more accounts to maintain. Most management teams tend to add headcount one by one… maybe, once a quarter/every other they will bring on a new sales superstar in hopes that they will bring their business to the next level.
Here’s the thing… If you can hire two reps at a time when you are initially building out your team: do it.

Seems like a lot — recruiting, hiring, training and managing one new sales rep is a challenge. What about two new hires — doubles the stress, right? Wrong.

You’ll obviously need a bit higher budget for two — but at the end of the day, your sales reps will likely have less base salary and more commission than hires in other departments within the company.

So, here are the top four reasons why you should hire two:

Saves on time. When you are recruiting, you will likely come across a handful of qualified candidates — you are putting in a lot of time, effort, and perhaps money to find them — hire the best ones! If you hold off to hire your second best candidate the following quarter, he/she will likely be off of market. When it comes to training, it is obviously more efficient to have two people going through all of the sessions together — that is a no-brainer. Additionally, you will likely find that the new reps learn from one others questions and issues that come up during training. Which brings me to the next point…

Gives them a partner in crime. Starting a new job can be overwhelming — having someone else who is new, and equally as awkward as they are easing into the culture of the organization is comforting for new hires.  The more comfortable the new sales reps are in your work environment, the more comfortable they will be getting on the phones and engaging with prospects.

***Allows you to measure the new hires against one another.*** This one is, in my opinion, the most important reason why you should hire more than one at time — again particularly as you are just starting off building your team, or a new subdivision of your team (ie Lead Qualifiers). Recently, I wrote a post about their being a lot of changes within expansion stage businesses because they are trying things for the first time, and testing out different models until the right one works. If you hire one rep, and they are not hitting their goals — is it because your messaging sucks? Is it because the rep incapable? Is it because you have a poor training program? WHO KNOWS? Now, if you hire two reps, and they BOTH aren’t hitting their goals… well, its likely that its probably not THEM its YOU, and the poor tools that provided them with. Now, if one of them is doing phenomenally, and the other is not at all — your metrics/tools/content are likely good, one of your hires, however, is not everything you thought they were cracked up to be in the interview process. Which leads me to my final reason…

If one rep doesn’t work out, you still have the other. The biggest mistake a manager at an expansion stage business can do, is to keep dead weight on staff. Yikes. This is a tough one, and I’m going to be pretty blunt here. It’s never an easy thing to let some go, but remember: this is not personal, its professional. You have a business to run. And perhaps you don’t have to let him/her go — perhaps there is a better role for him/her within the organization that is better suited for his/her strengths: customer service, marketing, etc. However, if someone is not hitting their metrics for an extended period of time (90 days perhaps), and you have given them fair warning and tried to find out WHY they aren’t succeed but nothing seems to add up — you can’t afford to have them on your sales team. That being said, if one of your new hires doesn’t work out, you still have the other hire, and the energy that you put into recruiting, training, etc didn’t go to complete waste.