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How to Hire the Right Sales Team for Inbound Marketing [Digital Exec]

Michael Reynolds

Posted by Michael Reynolds on 1/16/14 10:30 AM

Hiring the right person can be difficult. Hiring the right sales team for inbound marketing can be darned near impossible.

So if you're a marketing director or CEO who's looking to add to your team, this edition of The Digital Exec was designed with you in mind. Even if you're not hiring but are wanting to create a stronger relationship between your sales and your inbound marketing teams, you'll want to listen. We'll talk sales processes, CRMs, software, behavior, and more.


Michael: Hey everyone, thanks for joining for this episode of The Digital Exec where we talk about inbound marketing and sales and hiring and how we can use those tools, tactics and strategies to grow business.

So I'm here today with Jamar Cobb-Dennard with Hire Sales, and Jamar is a professional who works with organizations to help them hire the best sales people and the best sales teams possible to help grow their business. Did I get that right at all, Jamar?

Jamar: That's right.

Michael: Awesome. Well tell me a little bit about your company before we kick off with our interview.

Jamar: For the last 2 years, we've worked with technology and marketing companies to help them them find the right sales person fast. We already have a dynamic system that allows us to generate a high volume of qualified leads to fill or enter the pipeline quickly. We take them through a standardized process that weeds out people that look good on paper but don't look good face to face, prove their ability, use some assessments with them and then get our clients to hire people. So all that said, we take 85% of the hiring process off of the hands of the hiring managers, so we get the top people quickly and get them to perform.

Michael: Fantastic. So it sounds like someone who's a good candidate for you or a good prospect for you is someone with a stack of resumes for sales people and is afraid they're going to hire the wrong person or someone who doesn't have enough time to do interviews.

Jamar: It could be operators that don't have any time, and I can take care of it for them. We love to work with managers that can't find sales people. We also work a lot with people who have hired the wrong person. 

Michael: Great. Today's topic is very relevant to pretty much everybody that we work with: How to hire the right sales team for inbound marketing, particularly for those who maybe hiring completely for inbound marketing. 

Things have changed especially in marketing and technology; they seem to change every two seconds or so. So how is a sales professional different today from sales professionals 15 years ago?

Jamar: One of the biggest differences is the necessity for people to have strong relationships. Cold calling still works whether it's in person or over the phone. Spamming unfortunately still works, but the thing about it is the people that have the best access overall are those that have a mixed marketing plan, so they've got multiple channels for how they're approaching new clients.

One of the best and strongest channels in 21st century marketing is through relationships or networking. That really works in two ways: first is finding strategic partners that you can give referrals to. Second, get engaged directly with clients providing services, content information support before you're even a vendor of theirs. That way, there's a relationship and trust built before it's even time to sign on the dotted line and for them to start paying you money.

Michael: It sounds like you have to work a little harder. Is that true?

Jamar: It's working differently, so instead of making 20, 30, or 40 cold calls per day, they're spending time at networking events, they're spending time touching people with e-mails or spending time creating mail campaigns that get to the customers, they're spending time writing and engaging on social media. So it's just an exchange of how the time is used. The tough thing about it is that good inbound marketing sales people have to also be detailed enough to do the tracking, because it's easy to say I did 20 cold calls, got 15 business cards, and got 10 nos and 5 people that said yes on the phone. Right? Those numbers are pretty solid at the end of 1 day. But when you say I did 1 blog, 2 networking events, sent out a newsletter and then did 3 one on ones, you've got no direct leads to show for it because they're coming 3, 6 or 12 months down the line. It's a little bit tougher. You can track it, but it just takes more diligence. So a sales person with a slightly higher detail orientation is really necessary to make sure the relationship of marketing and sales connect to inbound generated leads is effective.

Michael: So how does the sales person track it - Excel or software?

Jamar: Yes. High Rise is good. AdWords too doesn't do much tracking but you can at least track your history and then go back and keep a record of everything. We use an Excel spreadsheet, and everything that we do we account for. I thinks has some analytics in it, but it's really confusing to use. So yes, Excel or software.

Michael: So there's no shame in using a spreadsheet?

Jamar: Absolutely not.

Michael: I often talk to people who feel like they have to have the most fancy CRM possible. I say, use a spreadsheet if it works for you.

Jamar: Yes. Use a sticky note if you have to.

Michael: Yes. Whatever works right?

Jamar: As long as you track it, yes.

Michael: Yes. That makes sense.

How does the modern sales person work with the marketing team to be most effective? How do you see these two worlds going together?

Jamar: So the first piece is messaging. I was working with a client recently who owns an integrated communications company. We first worked on some of their sales messaging, what their brochures would say, what their voice messages would say, what their phone approaches would say. Then we took that messaging and we gave it to the folks who designed the websites and the lead generation materials so that everything was continuous from the sales messaging all the way through the marketing messaging. So that's number 1, clear and consistent messaging between marketing and sales.

Second is some type of metric that marketing and sales are held to. So what the sales people are saying is "What we are marketing people doing? They're making a lot of pretty pictures and lot of pretty words, but they're not producing the results. The marketing people say, "What are sales people doing? They go to country clubs, lunches, all these networking events and they never get anything done and are never in the office." So  reality is that both of them need to have some type of metric that they're held accountable to.

For marketing professionals, the easiest one is how many leads did you generate? Now, that can be over a long period of time or a short period of time but at the end of the day, effective marketing generates new opportunities. And then for sales people, it could be how many proposals or how many closed sales did they deliver from the leads that marketing generated?  If the 2 of them are working together in concert to generate a lot of leads, then close those leads and find out what the quality of those leads were, that's when they start working together really well.

Part of that qualification piece comes into my third point which is lead scoring. So that goes into the quality of the leads but then also when we're actually engaging a sales person with that prospect. So is it when they first click on something and we immediately call them or is it after they clicked on something and then spent 3 minutes on the blog site then clicked on something else and then engaged us for an e-mail sign up? Which portion or which part of the marketing is the best place for a sales person to come in? Marketing and sales have to work really closely especially in inbound marketing campaigns to know when the right time is to push that customer.


Michael: I love lead scoring. I love getting into details of saying "What are the characteristics of this person based on my buyer personas? How often do they come back to my website? What did they download?" That's fun stuff for me. I'm kind of nerdy about it.

So how do they find the right sales person besides hiring you obviously? How do they find the right sales person to fit that world of inbound marketing?

Jamar: First thing any manager should do is build a profile of the type of person that they need for the position.  I encourage all of our clients to start with the top 4 skills or characteristics that somebody will need in order to perform the job well. Number 1 is that they have to have some sort of detail orientation, because tracking is very important in being able to communicate back to the marketing department on what leads works.They don't have to be as detailed as an accountant but detailed enough to file a report every week and have communication with marketing back and forth.

Second, their ability to follow through. As soon as somebody hits that lead scoring metric where they're ready and primed and pumped, we out them to the next phase of the sales process. That sales person can't be the type that leaves their e-mails 3 or 4 days without checking them or their voicemails for a week without checking them. They've got to be right on it, because that customer is hot, they're in the right mental state and emotional state to begin the next portion of the engagement with you. A skillful person that doesn't pay attention to those details is the one that loses great opportunities that's been slowly nurtured and farmed by a great inbound marketing campaign.

Third is someone with a strong personal brand and online relationships. So taking a look at how many connections they have on LinkedIn, how many connections they have on Facebook, whether or not they're engaged on Twitter, Google +, etc. and how engaged are they in the content? How well do people like their content? How many likes or shares does the content get?

And then the last piece is having a long term view. A traditional old school cold caller probably won't work. They're going to get frustrated by the nurturing and the farming that it takes to really bring a new lead to fruition when it's ready. So somebody that has a mid-term view that can really build relationships that can put up great content and then intuitively knows when the time is to turn that prospect into a customer. 

So number 1 detail, 2 follow through, 3 they're engaged with their personal brand and online relationships and then 4 they've got a mid-long term view.

Michael: Here's a fun one. What are some of the worst mistakes that you see sales people making?

Jamar: The best sales people start with what are you looking for in X or how are you looking to solve Y's problem. When people start with needs first and then present a solution that's based on benefits, not features then they have a better chance to sell.

So when people call and just start pitching their products like, "Hey, Michael Reynolds, I'd like to sell you a payroll. Can I come over and show you all of my payroll?" And they're like "No." Quick, right? Somebody calling you and saying "Hi, this is Jamar with ABS Payroll Service. Have you ever gotten a federal tax claim because..."And the person goes, "Oh no, I haven't heard of this yet." So you follow up with, "Well I've got a special tip for you that I want to make sure you have so that you don't fall into that bucket. How about I stop by on Tuesday at 4:00 to share with you some of the information that you need to have?" So there's a little bit of pain or some value or a need that Michael could have to stay out of trouble with the federal government. Those sale people are just pitching their product first coming from a position of need or value. 

Michael: Along the same line, what are the some of the worst hiring mistakes that you see a company making?

Jamar: So the worst processes I've seen are the ones that get an application that says take this test and let's see if you are a match with it. I do believe in assessing people, but I believe in assessing people holistically. So use the assessment as part of the process in evaluating somebody, not the only process. Usually hiring managers are using that type of tool to save themselves time when in reality they're losing candidates that could be a good fit after that conversation about a good assessment.

Another piece is hiring only by gut. So I had a good feeling about the person so I hired him, right?

Michael: I've never done that.

Jamar: The third thing that they are not doing when they're just following their gut and they hire people in a snap judgment is they don't do some type of trial day or make the folks prove that they can do the job. So an example of this when we have sales administrators come in, we actually have them do a half day or a full day, and we pay them half of what their rate would be if they started the job. So they get paid; it's not like they're having to volunteer their time and do free work for us. But we get to see how they work, they get to see how we work and then we actually get to see them in action, not just the junk that they spoke on their resume and in their phone interview and their face to face interview, but we actually really get to see, can they do the job? So adding those portions of behind process are absolutely vital to make sure that you're getting good people.

Michael: So I want to get some more thoughts to the holistic process you mentioned. Do you have any particular assessments or types of test that you recommend using?

Jamar: Yes. There's a couple specific to sales, one is the profiles XT which is the one we're moving towards. There's also another test called the via the objective management group OMG test. Number 1 they benchmark from either national top performers or top performers in the organization so you know how well somebody new matches the model good person. So benchmarking is one piece that you want to look for in a good assessment. The second thing about profiles in the OMG, they don't just look at what somebody's personality profile is like. A DISC test is great because you can see what somebody's natural propensity is or how it shows up in their behaviors, but you can't see what profiles on the objective management group test how they will do the job, and  whether or not they want to do the job based on their cognitive, behavioral. So it's not just personality but it's again, a holistic look of that person.

Michael: Awesome. I appreciate the recommendations. Before we wrap up, is there anything we haven't talked about that you feel our listeners would enjoy learning about?

Jamar: I also look at traditional things like what does their resume look like? Does their background relationships fit with what we're hiring for and do their future goals fit with where we're going as a company? So there are a lot of pieces to think about when hiring a new sales person, but keeping those big buckets that we  mentioned in mind will be a big help to ensuring success.

Michael: Awesome. Thank you, Jamar. This has been tremendously helpful.

Jamar: Sure.

Michael: Also make sure that our listeners and viewers know where to find you. So for those who are joining via podcast and that's audio only, can you give us your contact information, your website, how can people find you Jamar?

Jamar: Yes. The best place to find us with our website and blog and more content on hiring the right sales person fast is that

Michael: So be sure to visit Jamar's website at And I'm sure there's a ton of information there including your blog right? Which can also give people lot of good information.

Jamar: That's right.

Michael: All right. Be sure to reach out to him. Jamar's also a great speaker, he speaks at events all around the country and is phenomenal. I've heard him speak many times, and he is inspiring and always extremely educational, so be sure to seek him out. So Jamar, thank you so much for joining us. It's been a real pleasure. I appreciate your time. Thank you.

Jamar: You're very welcome.


If you're a visual person, you can watch the video of our Hangout. Or if you'd prefer the audio version, it's available here. You won't want to miss this opportunity to be entertained by two professionals while learning how to raise some more moola for your nonprofit. 

Tune in next time for our next installment of The Digital Exec, your source for becoming an expert in the latest and greatest technology.

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Topics: sales, inbound marketing, hiring, digital exec

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