I know. I have been there. I have also made some very expensive hiring mistakes especially when it came to sales! And let me tell you, hiring a salesperson isn't the silver bullet you think it is.

How do you really know if you're ready to hire a salesperson?

Let me ask you a question. You have to answer accurately and it's only you and me here so be honest.

What does it cost you to acquire a new client?

A. It's around £50

B. It's probably closer to 500

C. I've got no dang clue

D. CAC, what's that now?

If you're guessing, or it’s a C and you don't know your client acquisition cost, it's the first indicator that you're not ready to hire a salesperson.

There are some shocking business survival statistics out there. Over 90% of businesses don't make a decade and 95% of them will never reach that million milestone. The difference between the ones who not only survive but thrive is the ones that are able to bring in sales with high enough margins and repeat with consistency.

That means no matter if you're a web agency, an HR firm, accountancy practice, the money isn't in the thing you do or the service you provide. The money is in the marketing and selling of that service.

I was reading a report recently from some research done with 1,500 businesses around the world that were interviewed on the top challenges businesses face in 2021. There was some great market data in there. "Generating traffic and leads" was cited as the top challenge by nearly 50% of the respondents in the market research. This data corresponds directly to the conversations I have with business owners the world over, the most difficult, time-consuming, and costly exercise marketing and selling.

If you think like an investor then you want to make sure that your marketing, your sales, and the salesperson you hire provides a return on investment.

I have a few more questions to ask you before we can talk about hiring a salesperson.

  • Are you certain where your next client is coming from?

  • Do you know exactly how many new leads, prospects, and new clients you need to reach your profit goal?

  • Other than CAC, do you have a grip on your numbers including your client attrition rate?

  • Do you know exactly why clients come to you and why they stay?

  • Do you have systems and processes for nurturing leads and following up?

If you answered ‘no’ to any of the above, you’re likely experiencing feast and famine. Maybe some of your competitors with lesser services are overtaking you and you’re not entirely sure what to do next in your business. That’s what’s driving you to think about hiring a salesperson, it’ll be a silver bullet to all these problems and you can start enjoying the business again. Am I close?

Sure, you might find a unicorn and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. But in my experience (and as I said, I have made costly mistakes hiring salespeople) the buck stops with you. There are things that need to be in place and you need to be the expert at the marketing of your business and selling your services.

I speak to too many business owners who hire an agency, hire a salesperson and try to throw money they don’t have at the problem. It’s not going to work because you don’t know what works. You might not want to hear this but it’s not good enough to have a great product or service. The fate of your business lies in your ability to market and sell, until you have mastered that how can you possibly leverage, outsource or hire for that role?

A salesperson, the latest shiniest new trends and tactics won’t solve the biggest challenge that business owners face. How to get traffic and quality leads - and therefore new clients like clockwork.

You need something different.

So before you hire a salesperson…

There are things you must master and I want to talk about a few of those pillars now.

#1 Clarity

The slightest confusion around your business, your offer, and the value you bring to clients make it extra hard for clients to chose you. You need to be completely clear about your offer and how you wrap that up in so much value, if you (or your salesperson) can’t do this you can be sure your potential clients can’t either.

Clarity is also important when it comes to knowing your niche, who your perfectly aligned client avatars are and the difference between your aligned clients and your ideal clients. You then need to know where to find them, create a pitch that gets their attention, and a compelling brand story that ties everything together.

A salesperson who doesn't have the history, the story, and know your aligned clients can’t be expected to get up to speed with the level of clarity that eliminates any confusion.

When it comes to marketing and sales, confusion = no.

#2 Craft

Crafting an utterly irresistible offer that your aligned clients can’t ignore is on you. This is different from sales and shouldn’t be part of your sales job description. It’s on you, your validated offer needs to be clear, positioned, and priced so your cape-wearing salesperson can hit the ground running.

If you don’t have an offer, you don’t have anything for them to sell.

#3 Content

Consistent messaging, lead magnets, education-based marketing, and everything that’s needed to not only build client relationships but keep you in regular contact with your audience will set your salesperson up for success.

It’s time-consuming and mustn’t be under-estimated, creating great content and like the tools in a toolbox and everything needs to be intentionally designed to take your clients on a journey of getting to know-love-trust you.

#3 Conversion

A client is only a client when they have paid for your services. You need to be able to convert.

From scripts, your sales techniques whether it’s consultative selling or top-down, it all needs to be laid out. It doesn’t stop there. A/B testing, tracking the key numbers, and having a firm grip of numbers is vital before you can leverage, outsource or hire anyone to join your one-person sales team.

It’s time to take control of your sales, break free from the feast and famine, and making sure that you are working ON the business and not IN it. With a smooth process, a regular stream, and a way of getting leads into your business, you can then start to look at adding new sources of leads and start to think about hiring your salesperson.

I get it. Lesser competitors are outselling you, you can’t seem to find where those aligned clients or ideal clients are hiding, you’re focused on the wrong things and getting frustrated that growth has stalled. You have a lack of clarity and consistency.

Before you hire a salesperson, make sure that you’ve swept up the houses and have everything ready. You can’t expect a knight in shining armour to have the “fixes” as well as performing miracles. Another thing is that great salespeople are like rare unicorns, you must have a way of bringing in leads and sales to keep your business going and avoid a feast and famine or boom and bust while you’re waiting for that shining star to come along.

As the business owner, you are the number one salesperson. Your belief in your service, the passion behind your product can’t be bottled up and replicated. If you hire a salesperson, make sure that you fully understand what they will be doing and what your expectations are. You might want to consider that this person will be there to free you up for doing more of the high-ticket sales or for you to focus on ideal clients.

When you make that hire, be sure to have the time to invest and monitor their performance. Be prepared to support them and provide them with everything they need to succeed. That includes setting clear expectations from the get-go.

I could go on, but actually hiring a salesperson is a topic for another day.

If you’re in that 47% of businesses who find getting traffic and quality leads is up there as one of the biggest challenges, let me expertly guide you to attract a regular stream of aligned clients. Let me show you the tools, techniques, and frameworks to get Clients like Clockwork®.

➡️ Let’s book a 15-minute clarity call or head on over to Clients Like Clockwork and take a peek inside this 12-week essential program for service-based B2B companies.

'Generating traffic and leads' was marked by nearly half as the top challenge marketers are facing this year.

State of Marketing Report 2021 (Hubspot, Litmus, Wistia)

More from Sian

View all
  • Chat with Airbnb founder, Joe Gebbia

  • Am I ready to hire a salesperson?

  • 8 Weeks of Content in 8 Minutes