How to Hire a Sales Representative

Why Hire a Sales Rep?

Sales representatives are necessary for any business to grow, but hiring one can be surprisingly difficult. There are a lot of variables to consider when hiring a salesperson, from their sales skills to how they interact with people, and it can be tough to know how to hire the right sales representative for your team. Plus, you have to decide what their commission will be (if any) and other factors like whether they’ll be inside or outside sales reps or if they’ll be working remotely or at an office.

If you’re unsure where to start when hiring a sales rep, there’s good news. There are some universal skills and qualifications to look for no matter what you’re selling. Developing a recruitment strategy around those criteria will put you on the path to success.

hiring a sales rep
Highest Education Level
Sale Representatives offer the following education background
  • Bachelor's Degree (46.4%)
  • High School or GED (20.5%)
  • Master's Degree (11.5%)
  • Associate's Degree (9.3%)
  • Vocational Degree or Certification (7.3%)
  • Some High School (2.0%)
  • Some College (1.7%)
  • Doctorate Degree (1.2%)
Average Work Experience
Here's a breakdown of the years of experience offered by Sales Representatives
  • None (39.8%)
  • Less than 1 year (35.6%)
  • 8-10 years (9.8%)
  • 1-2 years (7.3%)
  • 2-4 years (6.9%)
  • 4-6 years (0.7%)
  • Qualifications / Skills
    The following top skills are often required or desired to land a Sales Representative position

    Bank Deposits, Cash Handling, Cash Management, Cashier Skills, Cold Calling, Communication Skills, Customer Relations, Customer Satisfaction, Customer Service, Customer Support, Driving, Handling, Inside Sales, Inventory Maintenance, Inventory Management

 

What Qualifications to Look for When Hiring a Sales Representative

What differentiates a good sales representative from a great one is their people skills. You can have the best product in the world, and the sales rep could have an impressive degree from a top university, but if they have poor interpersonal or customer service skills, they’re not going to be selling as much as they could.

For that reason, many sales representative positions only require a high school degree. A bachelor’s degree in business or communications can be useful, and a degree in other fields may be necessary if you’re selling a highly technical product or service. For example, most pharmaceutical companies won’t hire a sales rep without a four-year degree, usually in chemistry or biology. However, you can’t always correlate a degree with a good salesperson.

The amount of experience is another area where you may need to evaluate your “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves.” It would be nice to find a sales representative with a few years under their belt, but it’s not always required. Most candidates on iHireSalesPeople looking for a sales rep position have less than a year of experience. This can work in your favor, as you’ll be able to teach them the ins and outs of your business more easily.

Here's a sampling of skills, education, and experience your new hire should possess, including those trending on iHireSalesPeople.

 

Sales Representative Salary Data

One of the hardest parts of hiring a new sales position is determining what a fair sales rep salary is, especially if you’re not sure how to decide a sales rep’s commission. To give you a starting range for base salary, take a look at the average high, medium, and low salaries for sales representatives in the U.S.

  • United States

**Data source: Bureau of Labor Statistics

 

Generally, you want to provide a base salary that is enough to live off of when sales are low and then let the commission cover the rest. When deciding on a sales representative’s commission structure, you have several options:

  • Revenue Commission. A flat percentage is paid on every sale.
  • Gross margin commission. A percentage of the gross profit margin from a sale goes to the sales rep.
  • Residual commission. The sales rep earns a percentage of the repeated payments from long-term accounts.
  • Straight commission. No base salary is involved; the sales rep only earns money when they make a sale.

To decide which option is best for you, consider your business goals. For example, residual commissions might make the most sense if you're selling insurance or subscriptions. On the other hand, if you're selling cars, revenue or gross margin commissions are the most common. Visit our free Salary Research Tool to find the salaries in your area.

 

sales rep salary

Sample Sales Representative Job Description

To get the right candidates to apply, you need a well-crafted job ad. Remember to keep the basics of writing a job ad in mind – keep it skimmable, between 500-700 words, use bullet points, etc. – but also ensure it accurately outlines the job responsibilities as well as why a candidate would want to work for your company. Use this sales representative job description template to get you started:

 

Inside Sales Representative

Company XYZ is a customer-focused organization dedicated to providing exceptional service as leaders in the automotive industry. We are seeking an Inside Sales Representative to join our team. Your role will be to interact with customers online, over the phone, and in-person to help guide their purchase. Responding to leads quickly, answering questions, and facilitating payment while providing an exceptional customer experience is key. You'll assist our consumers with selecting the perfect vehicle and close the deal with your excellent communication and customer service skills.

Job Responsibilities

  • Generating and following up on leads
  • Helping customers navigate our online and in-person inventory
  • Understanding and promoting company programs
  • Answering client questions about products, prices, and availability
  • Negotiating payment options
  • Keeping up-to-date on best practices and promotional trends
  • Continuously improving through feedback

Requirements and Qualifications

  • High school diploma or equivalent
  • Ability to provide an excellent customer experience
  • Outstanding communication and interpersonal skills
  • Drive to achieve targeted goals
  • The willingness to follow up on leads
  • Knowledge of the automotive industry is a plus

 

sales rep

Interview Questions for Hiring a Sales Representative

A mix of customer relations and sales techniques questions will give you a good insight into how a potential sales rep will perform. Use these interview questions for a sales representative with your candidates:

  • Who’s the most challenging client you’ve had to deal with? What approach did you take to work with the client?​
  • How can you establish a long-lasting relationship with a prospect?
  • What is your philosophy regarding customer complaints?
  • What approach did you take when your sales numbers were at their highest in a previous position?
  • Tell me about a time when your sales were low. How long did it take you to improve your numbers?
  • What about your past experience would make you good at sales?
  • What is your current (or most recent) quota?
  • How do you close your biggest sale?
  • When is it an appropriate time to not approach selling a client?
  • How do you stay abreast of your target audience?

 

Start your search for qualified talent on iHireSalesPeople
  • 16M+
  • Candidates Across the iHire Network
  • 5X
  • More Likely to be Qualified

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