How to Find and Train an Agency Sales Rockstar

By Jason Swenk on December 6, 2017

How to Find and Train an Agency Sales Rockstar

Do you feel like your agency sales needs to grow beyond you, the owner? Are you having a hard time recruiting and training successful salespeople? Desperate to find the agency sales rockstar to elevate your team? Then it’s time to start putting the right systems in place in order to build a scalable agency sales team.

In this episode, we’ll cover:

  • 2 things to be aware of before a sales hire.
  • Is it the right time to hire for agency sales?
  • Key traits to look for when hiring a salesperson to be your agency sales rockstar.
  • How long until a new salesperson is successful?
  • Top 7 take away tips.

Today I got to talk with Wayne Herring, owner of Herring Coach, where he specializes in coaching and consulting business owners who are looking to scale their agency sales team. Wayne is the guy who teaches business owners to hire, train, hold accountable, and basically build their sales team. Today he’s giving us tips on how you can do the same for your agency.

2 Important Things To Be Aware Of Before You Hire

  1. Owner’s advantage. Even if you aren’t stating it when you’re selling, if you’re the owner and you’re selling – you have an advantage. Remember that your salespeople will not have this advantage.
  2. There are very few superhero salespeople. It is unrealistic to think you’re going to hire someone who is going to come in and kill it, right off the bat. Don’t look for it, you may never find it.

Is It The Right Time To Hire?

It’s hard to know when it’s the right time to hire for agency sales, as all agencies are in different situations.

But, I can tell you when not to:

DON’T hire your first sales rep if you’re already overwhelmed. If you can’t spend time with a new sales hire and you’re not prepared to invest a significant amount of time into their on-boarding, coaching, role playing, etc. then you aren’t going to achieve the agency sales rockstar you are hoping for and aren’t ready to hire.

DON’T hire a sales rep if you don’t have systems in place. If you’re not prepared to hire, train and retain good salespeople you’re setting up for failure.

What You Need In Place If It Is The Right Time To Hire:

You need to have a strong foundation, including a definition of who you are as an agency and where you are going. You need to know this so you can give direction and keep everyone on the same page.

Have a set audience for them to sell to. Every business is not your ideal customer, define this for your new salesperson and set them up for success.

Start small… Give them one thing, one goal, to focus on. Don’t overwhelm by throwing the whole shebang at them.

Getting someone oriented and quickly on-boarding them to sell a small first step (such as your foot in the door offer) does a couple of things:

  • It helps to prove if this person is going to make it within your agency.
  • It helps them feel successful quickly and give them a win to start off.

Traits to Look for When Hiring for Agency Sales

Again, don’t go looking for a sales superhero. Instead, help them grow into one.

Another trip-up can be hiring based on gut, without really defining the type of person you are looking for. Think ahead about qualities you need, and don’t completely focus on likability and personality, this can get you stuck.

Pay attention to how they interview. Are they running the show? Are they asking a lot of questions? A good salesperson will do both these things! A lot of times we feel like we need to sell our agency to the candidate by telling them how wonderful it is. This is where there needs to be a shift in mindset…

Treat yourself and the interview process as a prospect you would want them to go after. Let them run the conversation, see how they lead and if they follow-up. Let the process demonstrate how they would work with a prospective client. Then decide if there’s a fit and a future.

Salesperson recruiting is a marketing activity. It is something that deserves serious attention. Especially when searching for your future agency sales rockstar.

How Long Until a New Salesperson is Successful?

Everyone needs a little time to prove their worth, but for agency sales it usually depends on two things:

  1. The length of your sales cycle.
  2. Past experience and observations.

If you have a long sales cycle then you might benefit from creating “ramp up” report, which breaks down the early steps of the sales process, (contacts, meetings, audits, etc.) and charts them in a grid format and plots progress over time. With this data, eventually you’ll discover that salesperson’s “ramp up curve” which indicates whether they’re following a path you know is going to lead to long term success.

Measuring activity can tell you a lot. If they don’t start off coming out the gate fast and hard, it’s a tell tale sign they’re going to struggle.

Be sure to avoid “happy ears” or overly optimistic situations. I’ve been guilty of hanging on to someone because of all the big deals they have “in the works” but never actually come to fruition. See things for what they are and measure the activity.

Ask your salespeople the questions: who, what, where why, and when… “What’s the next step?” or “When’s that going to happen?” When you’re consistently coaching it will become abundantly clear whether they’re going to be successful.

Top 7 Take Aways

When you’re going to start building a sales team:

  1. Remember owner’s advantage and there are no sales superheroes.
  2. Clearly define work that needs to be done.
  3. Clearly define the role, key accountabilities.
  4. Be willing to work hard through the entire hiring phase and have a process for phone calls, interviews, assessment, etc.
  5. Be prepared to spend time to onboard intentionally, track the activity/progress, and help sell the smallest engagement first.
  6. Using a CRM isn’t optional.
  7. Understand the importance of coaching and role playing, even if it’s uncomfortable.

Related:  Finding, Hiring, Paying & Managing Agency Sales Reps

Grow Your Agency 3X Faster!

Are you overwhelmed by all the information out there on various ways to grow your agency? Do you want direction on how you can grow your agency faster and easier?

Then you’re in luck! I created an innovative mentorship called Agency University.

Agency University is a program which provides the 1-on-1 mentorship and ongoing support that is crucial to the success of your agency. Click here to see if it’s the right fit for you.

What Do You Do After Finding Your Agency Sales Rockstar?

When it comes to your sales team, training them each to be an agency sales rockstar will take your digital agency to the next level and open up to more opportunities. This is great but if your other processes aren’t cemented, it can open up many other issues you might not have been aware of or were avoiding. Take a step back, look for weak spots in your business and then think of how you can fix them.

No matter what challenge your agency is facing, I can help you get through all of it.

From my experience in the industry, there are many topics I can offer guidance from the different phases of growth you will experience to how you can build authority for your agency.

Growing your agency can be a major struggle for any agency owner and I can show from knowing when it’s time to hire a sales manager or expand your sales team, creating a process for performance based pricing which can be the best pricing strategy for your business and learning how to keep your big name clients happy.

Want more? Learn about my career and different experiences as well as tips, tricks and insights by checking out my blogs that cover a wide variety of topics.

Check out more from my Ask Swenk series and more of my videos on my Youtube channel. There you will find advice from myself and other agency experts.


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