Many start-ups are looking for sales people. How can you separate the wheat from the chaff and pick out the right sales profile? There is no magic formula, but with this 6-step plan, your chances of getting a born salesperson on board will increase and boost your sales.!

Good sales people are sought after by start-ups. Not only because no start-up can survive and grow without customers, but also because many founders have no knowledge of sales. Developing a great product is one thing, but selling it to the market is a totally different ballgame.

So how do you find the perfect salesperson? In every recruitment process intuition plays an important role: you have to feel the click. But with these six steps, you can transcend that gut feeling, and give your search for the right sales profile a solid push in the right direction:

#1 Are you looking for a hunter or a farmer?

There are charismatic, but chaotic sales people who are constantly looking for new prey, but lose interest once they get a bite. Those are the hunters. There are also those who continue to follow their customers patiently and in a structured way, upselling little by little. Those are the farmers. You need to think carefully in advance about the profile you need.

Do you have few customers yet and are you looking for a real hunter who brings in new leads by the conveyor belt? Or do you already have a nice customer base, and are looking for a farmer who does an excellent job of soigning existing customers? One sales profile is not like another.

#2 Write the perfect vacancy

If you know what/who you are looking for, you need to write out a job posting. Keep it short and to the point: one A4 is really the maximum. Try to be as clear as possible, and stay far away from generalities. Everyone thinks of themselves as motivated and driven (or is going to pretend to be), everyone is a team player, no one has a ‘9 to 5’ mentality.

Outline your own expectations, in such a way that it immediately excites a hungry sales profile, but also make it clear what your new workforce can expect. For example, clearly state whether you are looking for an extra team member for your sales team, or a one (wo)man army that has to hunt for new customers all by itself.

#3 Don’t fish in a pond that’s too small

Start-ups that only recruit via the classic jobsites only reach sales people who are looking for a job. But the very best sales people may already have a job. This does not mean that they are not open to a different challenge – often without knowing it themselves. You need to reach those latent job seekers too.

So use different channels to recruit your sales profile. Also, look around for other startups working on innovative ways to recruit talent.

#4 Pick out the motivated candidates

Use a good filter, and after a first thorough selection, only keep those candidates who are clearly motivated to work for your start-up. Does their letter (or better yet, a video) transcend clichés? Did they contact you to ask additional questions? Do they know things about your business that you can only know after Googling for more than 2 minutes? Then maybe they’re cut from the right cloth.

#5 Prepare the ultimate test well

At the personal meeting with the selected sales people, it is best to have them prepare a short presentation beforehand (not too long, or the candidates will drop out) on how they would sell your start-up to a potential customer. Sales profiles should be go-getters – don’t take no for an answer – so make them sweat a little.

With a start-up you need to be agile and able to improvise, so anticipate a few unexpected twists and turns as well. Try to put yourself in the shoes of your future customers, and see which candidate can win you over most convincingly.

#6 Don’t waste time

Every hire is a big decision for a startup. So you are inclined to think long and hard before you make your decision, after all it is a considerable investment. But the competition is fierce. If you’ve hooked the perfect profile, you need to capture that person as soon as possible. Don’t waste valuable time.

Ready to take your sales to the next level? Be sure to download our Sales Guide for start-ups!