Having a strong sales staff can be the difference between whether a company has sales that sizzle or fizzle. As a security dealer integrator's business grows, it's common for the owner to rely more and more on a sales staff. Having quality sales professionals is important not just to bring in more customers, but also to properly educate the customers so that they don't enter a business deal with misconceptions. After all, you don't want to be in the position of trying to meet unrealistic expectations.
So with the stakes so high, how does a security dealer integrator go about recruiting good sales pros—and then just as important, how do you go about keeping them? Well, it takes careful planning and clear communication. First communicating what you're looking for in a candidate, and then once they're brought on board, keeping an open dialogue regarding how things are going and what's expected in the future.
Recruiting the Best
Cathy Rempel, president, The Summit Group, recently spoke at the NBFAA's Business Focus event in Indianapolis , IN. Her presentation was about how to grow your business, specifically looking at the revenue side of the profit equation, as well as the importance of actually understanding where your company is going.
Clearly defining your company and its direction can be a big help in recruiting. George De Marco, southern VP, California Alarm Association, says, “The first strategy is to determine the company's market segmentation, including mission and value statements. Developing a viable sales and marketing strategy will provide the company with the proper hiring vision while giving a clear message to the sales candidate that your organization is for him or her.”
De Marco gives this example: “If your company primarily focuses in the high-end residential market segment, then you should seek sales traits and experience that contributes to the company's high-end residential sales and marketing efforts. Failure to properly match up the right sales candidate can lead to ineffective sales results and expectations from the company and sales consultant's perspectives.”
In developing a solid sales program, according to De Marco, a company must offer a sales commission plan that provides the sales consultant with a competitive compensation plan. “However the compensation plan must be aligned with the company's profitability and operating requirements,” he continues, “otherwise it will be difficult to meet the financial requirements of the company and the sales consultant.”
Rempel agrees that the compensation plan can be key in recruiting, and she says that smaller companies (and start-ups) likely need to rely on a strictly commission-based sales force. (As companies grow, then compensation for the sales force tends to become salary-based.)
Also, when it comes to finding sales reps, Rempel says that you don't necessarily want to narrow your search to just people with experience in your industry. There might be sales reps with experience in similar industries who could end up being a great fit for your company, she says.
If you don't have any potential candidates lined up—or if you simply want to interview more people—then searching online could be a good option. Rempel notes that monster.com and craigslist.org are two commonly used websites for finding job candidates in today's business world.
Gene Prorwicz, director of special systems, Pace Systems, says that his company will find candidates internally or via word of mouth, but they also look at monster.com when searching for potential sales reps. They usually can get 15 or 20 candidates from monster.com, and then start narrowing the field from there via interviews.
Prorwicz also points out that given the nature of Pace Systems' work, the company does background checks before hiring a technician or sales rep. “Background checks are a big deal for us,” he says.