How to hire sales and business development representatives


Sales, marketing, business development, lead generation: with so many different roles and so much overlap – it’s easy to get lost on where to start when building a sales and business development team.

The most important thing to keep in mind is that business development specialists usually deal with activities at the top of the sales channel, while sales staff usually operate further down the sales cycle, where they focus on closing deals.

Therefore, the first thing to do is to summarize the company’s performance at both ends of the sales process:

– Are you closing deals fairly consistently?
If your sales team has developed into a well-oiled sales machine, but is struggling to fill its sales funnel with qualified leads, it may be time to invest in a separate set of business development (or sales) representatives.

-Are you finding a lot of solid sales leads?
If you have been successful in your prospecting and search process, but your sales department is struggling to handle all the leads generated, it may be time to hire additional sales representatives.

Since sales and business development representatives often work side by side to achieve company growth goals, you should develop a plan to find the right people for your team.

For example, you can focus on candidates whose experience shows that they work well in a collaborative environment. You can also ask current team members to participate in group discussions and offer their opinions.

As you prepare your plan, this brief summary of key attributes will help you think about what you should look for when hiring sales and business development talent.

Table of contents

What to look for in sales representatives

Since sales representatives have direct contact with potential buyers, they must have a strong desire to solve customers’ problems and an equally strong belief in the value of the solution they are selling.

You can identify promising sales representatives to sell your product or service by paying attention to the following characteristics:

– excellent communication skills,

– A balance between confidence and approachability,

– Time management and organizational skills.

Remember that sales techniques and closing sales can be learned. It is more important that the candidate you are considering shows a willingness to learn and a genuine desire to solve problems and help customers.

You may find it easier to attract and retain top talent if you offer ongoing sales training and a competitive compensation plan that rewards representatives for hard work and account development.

What to look for in business development (and sales) representatives

Because it can take time to grow a company, business development representatives must be able to think long-term and perform duties that don’t always yield immediate results.

To identify promising business development representatives who will increase sales, revenue or customer base, look for the following characteristics:

– Sales experience or networking and social media skills,

– Knowledge of the purchasing sector, customer research or lead qualification,

– Ability to take the initiative.

Ideally, you should hire people who understand the value of building relationships and are eager to learn all about your solution and the benefits it offers.

Attracting and retaining talent can be easier if you offer competitive salaries, a friendly work environment and ongoing training in communication skills.

Concluding remarks

Depending on the organization, the differences between the sales department and the business development department can mean a split between small-picture and big-picture thinking – or can disappear altogether when development initiatives overlap.

But when it comes to the role of sales in business development, the main distinction between the two areas should already be clear: while business development specialists focus on creating as many targeted leads as possible, sales specialists focus on converting as many of those leads as possible.

In preparing to make the most of your sales and “biz dev” efforts, you can take the following steps:

– finding out what your competitors are doing (if you haven’t been following them lately),

– Update the sales and marketing strategy (if it’s been a while since the last plan review),

– Document the sales process and approach to qualifying candidates in anticipation of hiring new sales or business development representatives.

You can also learn how using Pipedrive as an all-in-one sales platform; to increase revenue can increase sales by 28%.

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