Regardless of your business, how do you attract and convert strangers who will gain an interest in your organization? It could be through content, a promotion, cold-calling, or retargeting. While all of these methods are effective, they can’t be achieved with the a lead generation representative running the show.
But, simply hiring someone to send out emails, write content, or speak at industry events is no easy task. It takes someone special to not only draw prospects to your business, but stay with them and continue to groom them during the entire customer journey. That’s why, when hiring a lead generation rep, you need to address the following ten items:
1. Know Your Sales Funnel
Since Lead generation sits atop your sales funnel, it only makes sense that this is your starting point when hiring a lead generation rep. Samuel Woods explains while writing for Stimulead that you need to understand your sales pipeline goals by examining “the amount of potential money you can see coming in based on things like sales calls, appointments, opportunities, deal size, and conversion.” If you already have a sales team in place then they should be able to provide you with this information. If you don’t have a sales team you can review your current analytics reports or scope out industry benchmarks.
The reason that your sales funnel will impart your lead generation hiring decision is that it provides data like how many leads you have, how many leads are converting into prospects, and then the amount that becomes paying customers. Besides showing you whether or not you’ve met your goals, it also shows how much revenue (ROI) you’re bringing in. If you’re revenue is too low, you may have to wait on hiring that rep until it grows.
2. Is It the Right Time?
After reviewing your sale funnel, Woods recommends that you determine whether or not it’s the right time to bring a lead rep on-board. He says, “qualified leads just don’t pop out of thin air (as much as we’d like them to), it takes time to not only find find those leads, but also hire the right people and train them, especially if your business is starting from scratch.”
To help figure this out, you should consider the following;
- The hiring process may take a month or two before finding the right rep.
- It will probably take another month or two to get the new hire situated.
- It will also take time to generate leads.
- There’s also the sales cycle to consider, such as how long will it take a prospect to become a client.
Woods also points out that a “new team member starting from the beginning of the hiring process could take six months to a year before they are consistently making revenue for you through the process.” If your sales projections are off, you’re probably not going to be pleased with the results.
3. Answer Critical Marketing Questions
Besides examining your sales funnel and timing, Genia Stephens from Business 2 Community recommends that you also answer the following critical marketing questions before hiring a lead generation rep;
- Do you know how to effectively reach your target audience?
- What performance indicators are you using to measure your success?
- Is your content relevant, informative, and intelligent?
- Do you have a clear and precise call-to-action?
- What strategy has previously worked for you when nurturing leads?
This isn’t an extensive list of questions that you should be asking yourself, but they can at least can steer you in the right direction so that you can find a rep that aligns with your plans.
4. Write Out a Job Description
The responsibilities of a lead rep will vary from company to company. For example, do you require a rep that’s going to bring-in leads at events or creating content or do you need a closer after a potential customer fills out a form?
Know what type of rep you’re looking for and then start writing down what they’re expected to do, who they’ll be working with, and what type of experience they’ll need to posses before conducting your search.
5. Know Where You’re Recruiting
When you know that you know what type of rep you’re looking for, it’s time to start recruiting. Of course, that’s easier said than done. Hiring the wrong rep can be costly, so you want to make sure that you find the best candidate possible.
LinkedIn is one of the best places to start your search since it’s such a powerful, and large networking site. However, don’t rule out sites like Monster, Indeed, and Glassdoor. You can also ask for referrals from your existing network.
Whether your search is online or in-person, keep an eye for individuals who have drive. You can spot these trait in candidates who are achievers, competitive, and optimistic.
6. Do You Prefer Skills or Experience?
One of the toughest questions that you’ll face during the hiring process is whether or not you prefer a rep who has experience or not. Diane Helbig from Clarity of Course Sales Training says, “If they are a good salesperson, they can learn [the industry] and the value of your product or service. If they are new to sales, consider providing sales training to set them up for success.”
However, if you’re involved in a complex industry you may be better off hiring a rep who is familiar with the industry since they’ll be able to quickly learn your specific business, as opposed to someone who needs to spend months learning the ins-and-outs of your entire industry.
7. Determine Compensation
Anne Seley raises an excelling point for OpenView Labs;
“When expansion-stage companies build their first lead generation teams, all too often they focus on establishing the right roles, responsibilities, strategies, and processes, only to neglect or glaze over a critical driver of both short- and long-term lead generation success: compensation structure.”
To help solve this problem, Anne came up with the following five tips when determining compensation for a lead generation rep;
- Have the right balance between base salary and bonuses, such as 60 percent salary and 40 percent bonus structure.
- Use the right metrics, like the ability to bring-in sales qualified leads, to determine bonuses.
- Don’t base compensation on factors that are out of the reps control.
- Pay commissions and bonuses as frequently as possible.
- Provide your reps with smaller rewards as well, like a weekly award or a vacation.
8. Are They Passionate?
Passion is what ultimately drives and motivates lead generation reps. They could have a decade of experience, but if they’re lacking passion you can be certain that they’ll have trouble bringing in or closing sales when times get rough.
When you’ve narrowed down your list of potential reps, and you’ve moved on to interviews, have discussions with the candidate to determine whether or not they have that spark. If they’re passionate, you’ll have no problem picking it up because you’ll see in their eyes and hear it in their voice.
9. Can They Write Well?
Lead generation reps must possess a wide range of skills that can attract and hook potential customers to your business. One of these skills that can easily get overlooked is the ability to write killer content. Whether it’s a newsletter, email, social media post, or article on your company’s blog, your rep should be an incredible writer that can keep your customers to generate, and maintain, leads.
10. Are They Active Listeners?
Finally, your rep has to be able to listen to the pain points of your customers so that they share the reasons why your business can help enhance the customers' lives. Your lead generation rep should be active listeners who truly understand what a customer means, doesn't get defensive, and spends the adequate amount of time to get to the root of the problem.