The Most Important Qualities Your First Sales Rep Should Have
4:55PM Sep 21, 2021
Hey everybody, my name is Tyler jordison. And I am the head of direct sales here at structurally, I hope you're having a wonderful tech fest so far, we definitely appreciate all of you stopping by it's it's been a great event so far. And hopefully you've been been able to grab some nuggets, nuggets of information. And what we'll be talking about here today is something that's actually been pretty top of mind for us here structurally recently. And that's going to be what are the most important qualities, your first few first couple sales reps should have? So I say it's top of mind, we're actually also in the process of trying to expand our sales team, you know, hire a few more, few more reps. So this is a lot of stuff that we've been talking about. And I compiled a list, here are some of the things that we've been looking for. And that you know, we share here today. So, starting with quality, number one, what I always look for first, not exactly, you know, mind blowing, but the first thing I always look for is to start with a good problem solver. Of course, a good problem solver is like sales one to one, of course, they need to be a good problem solver. But not all problem solvers are created equally, kind of what I mean is, when you're looking to hire these people, Are you hiring a good problem solver first, like they were a good problem solver when you found them. And then you plan on training them on the product and training them on the process? Or are you looking more for an amazing technical fit, who's really outgoing and everything, but maybe doesn't quite have the problem solving skills and hoping to build that and teach that when they start. So the two options there, I always, always, always would say start with a problem solving skills. First, find somebody who has a built in, it's going to be a lot easier for you in the team to teach them on processes and teach them on the product than it is going to be to rewire them to be a good problem solver. So always start with that problem solver first, and kind of why I personally feel this is you know, such an important quality, especially in sales. kind of goes back to my own background. So a little background about me, I actually graduated from Iowa State University with my industrial engineering degree. And I learned pretty early on that I did not want to be an engineer, I didn't want to sit in a factory all day. I didn't want to Yeah, essentially sit in a factory. nine to five, it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. But I also learned early on that what I was state was selling with their engineering degrees was one very specific skill, the most important skill an engineer needs. And that's problem solving. They were selling problem solvers. I believe that's what the degree where they are selling. So I was state's goal was to create these Rockstar problem solvers. Because when they had them, it didn't matter if they were solving problems around a Boeing 737 or a bridge in Iowa. They always focused on create the problem solvers first, and then teach them the engineering discipline they'll need to succeed. At least that's how I interpreted in my time at Iowa State. So as a dumb college kid, I was like, why not? If the worst case scenario was that I never became an engineer, but at least I became a little bit better of a problem solver probably helped me down the road. So I did stick it out and and I graduated engineering. And it was one of the best decisions of my life because I sharpened this this problem solving skill. You know, it's I use this problem solving skill and literally like every single aspect of my life and my relationships and my marriage, the real estate investing my wife and I do being a dad now and especially has helped me as an early employee at this growing startup tasked with growing sales.
So So that's kind of that's why you know, Iowa State early on cemented in my brain that start with problem solvers. Find a good problem solver, and then teach them what role you want them to be in, in sales. If it's more of an inside sales, outbound sales, whatever your process is, find the problem solver first, from also my own experience. I'm just doing this here structurally for so long. Is that a potential user is going to ask 1000 different questions 100 different ways. And if your reps default is to say, No, I don't think we can do that and just shut their brain off, because they don't want to try to solve that problem. They're failing you. Of course, it's easier to say no to whatever the potential user asks. But shutting your brain off and not trying to find a way around the objection or technical solution causes your rep to miss out on a ton. It misses them to causes them to miss out on learning, something that they didn't know before. But also, of course, hello making the sale. So when a new question comes up, your reps new default should always be how can I make this work? How can I solve this problem? their brain should kick into overdrive and start asking clarifying questions. They should try to, you know, get more information out of the out of the potential user to see if they can solve this problem, maybe use their experience in the past. But if your reps default, when you hire them, is to just be like, No, we can't do that. I don't think we can do I don't really want to think about it, to be honest. It's automatically gonna make that potential customer start retracting. Every time you shut them down, they retract, they attract them. Every time you don't give their question enough thought they'll stop asking questions. So now your demo or call or whatever your sales processes is just your rep, talking to the potential user who is now completely disengaged, because every time they ask a question, they get shut down. So that's kind of where I think, you know, step one, find that problem solver. We've harped on it a bunch now find the problem solver first and teach them on the product, it's gonna be a lot less painful than the alternative. I promise you that. So quality number two that we've been talking about that we've been really stressing here and structurally, is now that you found this Rockstar problem solver. The next important quality is going to be find a life long learner. life long learner, this quality might not be as obvious and it definitely doesn't get as talked about as a good problem solver. But in my opinion, it's equally as important. You know, lifelong learner, what does that even really mean? It's a fluffy buzzword. Yeah, it's it's, it's a fluffy buzzword. But what the meaning behind it, the skill behind it is still critically important to sales. Sales is often this direct window to the customer. They hear the customer's objectives, I guess objectives, but also objections, their questions around the product, what's important to them, what's maybe not so important to them? sales is just inherently given unlimited real time feedback when they're talking to these customers. good feedback, bad feedback, I always say that all feedback is good feedback. And when this info is given to your rail sales rep, it's either lost forever, and they don't think about it on to the next time I have a task, it doesn't matter that they asked me this new question. Or this immediate feedback is used to benefit the set, the sales rep they learn from it, and they help themselves grow, but also the company grow. kind of how I like to think of, you know, this, this constant customer feedback is a constant, never ending flow of water. The feedback is just water. It's never ending. Whenever you talk to someone, you're getting new feedback, positive or negative, it's always going to be there. And now the rep your window into the company is given the hose? What direction? Are they pointing this feedback? What direction? Are they pointing of the hose? Are they using it to fill up a swimming pool for the betterment of the company? Are they capturing this information? Or are they just dumping this? You know, are they pointing the hose directly into a river and losing all this information like it was never given to you?
The water? customer feedback, obviously is a tool. And if your rep isn't actively learning on every demo, or conversation or call with every question they hear or every different way the potential user asks the question, market trend anything. If they're not learning after every demo, they're failing you. Your reps should just when you hire them have a built in curiosity and willingness to learn. Kind of speaking from my own experience just going through demos here at structurally, I always tried to make a conscious effort to just relentlessly sharpen This sharpen my craft my craft of presenting our product through demos through phone calls through anything based on the constant feedback that I'm getting. If I ask a question, and it's not the rep, the potential user doesn't really understand, maybe I asked it weird. So what if I asked that question a different way, you know, this, this constant, never ending feedback. My other big thing is, there's absolutely no way that your rep or even Me, me doing this as well. And my job, there is no way I should be demoing the same way I do today, as I did 300 demos ago. If that's the case, that's literally like me saying that over 300 demos, I've learned zero things of value that I can use to improve my demo going forward. Zero things after 300 demos that should never ever, ever be the case. That's why if you find these lifelong learners, first, they're just inherently going to be able to soak up this information, always be bettering their pitch, always be bettering how they do follow up tasks, maybe a follow up, email isn't hitting, and they've learned that this is missing, they'll change it, it's just a lot easier to find those lifelong learners first, and then you know, of course, like problem solving, teach them the rest. So quality number three, now this is going to be my hottest take yet we left the spiciest. One for last. Not even, not even everybody here instruction a totally agrees with this. But, but I think this is important, especially for your early sales hires. And that quality is going to be your early sales reps should be more motivated by growth than they are motivated by money. You hear it all the time from the best minds in sales. The sales gurus out there people who've been doing this longer than I've been alive. You know, they always say, hire these absolute money hungry hunters, your sales reps should be so flushed with cash that they're driving the nicest car in the parking lot. They're towing their boat to work everyday because they're going to their lake house after they should just be killing it. And while I agree that there's a place for that, definitely, obviously, obviously, you want your reps to be motivated by money, that's how they get paid, I did it. It just can't be the de facto most important thing in your early sales hires. Let me stress that, again, this is more focused on those 123 first reps, right, they need to come in and want to make a difference, they need to be motivated by the growth of the company.
First and foremost, and then understand that the Commission of the big paychecks will come. So kind of breaking, you know, backing up a little bit what what I mean by motivated by growth is that the early reps that Come on, they should first and foremost be motivated by the company doing well. The sentiment that if my commission keeps growing, the company will follow that's backwards, it's gonna lead to a toxic sales team, it'll become a black eye for the company, if their default lens is to view everything as money comes first, then they're gonna just start cutting corners and lose sight of the customer's experience. Because they're the customer now, their only thing that they need the customer for is a means to an end. And that end is a bigger commission check. So their lenses, I'm going to sign up as many people as possible, put them on the biggest plan, even if it doesn't work for them. Because if I do, I'll be rewarded with a bigger commission check. That becomes toxic, especially, especially at early stage startups. You know, you need somebody here that's not just looking for a J. ob. They're not just looking for a job, they're looking to make a difference. And that's going to come if they're focused on growing the company first. And again, like I said earlier, has the understanding and faith and knowledge that commissions are going to follow Of course of the company's growing commissions are going to follow. It shouldn't be calm first growth second, why would you want your sales rep to put the growth of the behind their own commission checks, it's never resonated with me, I've never really understood it. Remember, back in just that last section, how I said that the direct sales is just a window to the customer, that's still the case. But instead of the rep, looking at the customer and getting a perfect picture and constant feedback, now the customers looking at the rep, and getting a constant feedback of how they present themselves. And you know what, what they're trying to do, if they come off pushy, then your company is pushy, right? for lack of better words, at this point, your sales rep is the face of the company. If you only have one sales rep, of course, if there's like 50 sales reps, and this is a massive company, that's that's so completely different. But these early stage startups, your sales rep might be the only person that this potential user talks to, before they decide if they want to get signed up. They're essentially the quote unquote, face of the company. Now, if your rep is is only focused on closing the deal, what I've seen happen sometimes is and I kind of already referenced that a little bit is, let's just take an example of there's one money hungry Rep. And there's one growth oriented Rep. who also cares about money but growth first, money first. The money first rep might go into every single demo and be How can I get this user on the highest plan, even if it doesn't really fit them too well, because, you know, I need to pay for my my boat that I just bought, while they're going to go through a demo, and they're going to sell and they're a good salesperson, and then come towards the end of the demo, when they're selecting plans, they're going to put the potential user on a plan that doesn't really fit them. But it's the bigger plan, and they want to make more money. The user obliges, they're like, okay, you know, you're the rep, you've been doing this for a while you seem pretty knowledgeable. So they get put on this big plan. Two months later, that same user comes back and cancels. Feedback product is too expensive, not enough value. But they're saying that because they're just on the wrong plan, if they would have been on a plan that actually fit well, you know, maybe the step below even though that that money hungry rep didn't make as much commission that month, then they might have stuck around longer. So they cancel and now they're putting on all the Facebook groups that your company is too expensive and doesn't give value.
Just because the rep wanted $100 more that month, is that worth it. If instead you had to find a growth, first mindset hire with one of your first hires, then let's take that same example. They go through a demo, the growth first motivated, you know, rep gives them all their options, they get to the end of the demo, or call or whatever your sales processes. And they say, I think this plan would be perfect for you. Let's start here. And if you need to go up, you can go up let's start here and make sure it fits, make sure everything was worked out all the kinks. So they put them on that lower plan. And after six months, the customer doesn't cancel because they're on the right plan. They're not overpaying and their eyes. And then all of a sudden, this customer is so happy that they decide to refer their two buddies, their two colleagues. So now instead of making one like the money hungry sales instead of rep, instead of making one big sale who cancelled after two months, the growth first mindset rep now made three sales because he got two referrals and is making more commission. It's just, it's all about, you know, I would put it this way. Money motivated reps care about the now What have you done for me lately? How much money can I make right now? I don't care if the company is suffering, because in my journey to get as much money right now, I might have screwed three people but at least I close two big deals. They care about the right now, where a growth motivated, rep cares about the future success of the company, because they know that if the future success of the company is looking bright, then it's going to be a lot more fruitful for them because they'll be getting more risk. firls if the company is doing well, the reps doing well, you know, instead of the instant gratification of close at any cost necessary. So kind of, you know, if you flip that lens around, and the company, you know, and the lens now becomes, if the company keeps growing and meeting its sales goal, I know my commission will follow, then your rep suddenly focuses on how they can help the company grow in their role. Think of how much more impactful that is, maybe they say something that they learned in the marketing meeting, because they want to grow the company, maybe they, you know, figured out a way to work better with your CS team, because they want to grow the company. If they focus on growth first, then it's just, it's just, it's gonna go a long ways, instead of somebody who just cares about their, their commission checks, I kind of felt like I started to beat that one, you know, beat down dry here a little bit. But kind of, in summary, what we're starting to look for is, we just want somebody who is coming to make a difference, come and grow this growing company with us, don't be solely focused on your money. Just understand that if we all grow the company, together, we'll all make money more money together, I know you're focused on money, that's how you get paid. But let's focus on making money growing your commission check by growing the company, think of it that way. So it's just a little mindset shift. That, you know, I personally think is really important. And these early reps, of course, again, this, this can be a lot different for your companies who have 20 reps already have 50 reps already, right? Maybe you need them for a different role. But if you're hiring those first early sales reps, kind of like what we've been talking about here in this whole talk, maybe maybe looking, try to find some people who are really there for the company, because they understand that the Commission will follow.
That's about it. That was the three kind of In summary, obviously, what we look for first and foremost is find a good problem solvers don't build problem solvers, hire problem solvers, it's gonna make your life a lot easier. Problem Solving is at the core of sales, you have to solve their problem to get them to close, find those people don't create those people. Second, lifelong learners, again, find these people, you're not going to you just will not have the ability to change a non lifelong learner into a lifelong learner, find somebody who's constantly curious, constantly improving their craft, based on what they learn. It's not only going to help them sell better, but it's going to give your company helpful insight. Because again, they're that direct window to the company, they're getting 24 seven feedback, that they can relate a marketing because this ad didn't work, or they can relate us see us because this kind of transition or this flow and the process isn't working. Customers are getting tripped up here. They're constantly learning. They're constantly sharing with your organization, it's gonna help you grow. And then speaking of growing, hottest take of the day, spicy take, make sure that you're hiring reps early on that care about the company. And if they care about the company, they have buy in, they buy into the company, they will understand that if the company does well, their commission will do bad too. But that's about it. I appreciate it, guys. Thanks for listening. I hope you're having a wonderful tech fest as always. So thank you again. Again, my name is Tyler jordison here at structurally so I hope you all have a great rest of your day and hopefully today and hopefully we talk soon. See you guys