The Key to Hiring Great Salespeople



In order to build and develop a great sales team, you first have to hire great salespeople.

But hiring salespeople isn’t as easy as, say, hiring an account executive or a customer service agent. Hiring salespeople is an art form. After all, these people will be the face of your company and ultimately determine if your business excels, stays afloat, or dips into the red.

Here are a few things to keep in mind when it comes time to hiring great salespeople.

What Works Now?

Before beginning the hiring process, take a look at the best salespeople on your team. What makes them the best? What traits do they have that mesh incredibly well with your organization specifically?

To do this, observe and interview your best sales reps to determine what personal characteristics and specific skill sets they possess that have recently led them to sales success. You can also interview your existing customers to see how they want to be sold to and what about a salesperson gets them excited and closer to “yes.”


The interview will be your first chance to see if the candidate will be a good fit for your company.

One of the most important things to test during the interview is “coachability,” or the person’s ability to take and apply constructive criticism.

One way to test this is to have the candidate act out a certain scenario. After s/he has finished, tell him or her two or three things s/he did well and two or three things s/he could improve on. After you’ve reviewed these points, ask the candidate to go through the exercise again.

If the prospective salesperson is able to successfully incorporate the constructive criticism you gave, you’ll know s/he will be “coachable” during his or her tenure at your organization.

Buy In

In order to create a cohesive team of committed salespeople, it’s important that everyone buys in to your mission.

In order to accomplish this, you must first make your core purpose, mission, and goals very clear and concrete. Once you have these formulated, it’s important to write them down, communicate them with your team, and explain why they’re so crucial to your organization.

To ensure you’re hiring the best salespeople for your business, outline your mission during the second or third interview and see how the candidate responds. If they seem fired up and in line with your core purpose, s/he will make a great addition to the team. On the other hand, if s/he seems lackluster or apathetic, it may be in your best interest to keep looking.


Sales is the most important function in every organization, so take your time when it comes to hiring great salespeople. Remember, not every salesperson can sell anything to anyone. That’s why it’s incredibly important to know what selling skillset works best for your company, determine that candidates are coachable, and ensure your salespeople buy in to your core mission.