Let's face it, things happen and employees leave. Finding and retaining employees is an on-going process. Hopefully, you can help slow the tide, but you can't avoid ever having to hire again, sorry!
Maybe you have to let someone go, maybe they retire or they move on to other pastures. Vacancies in the residential building products industry are a part of running a business.
So while you can't avoid ever having an open sales role, you can make sure you handle openings in the right way and quickly.
Don't Delay To Maintain Sales & Revenue
Starting your search as soon as the salesperson gives notice works to your advantage – you won't lose as much revenue and hopefully be able to have your salesperson train or at least manage a good hand-off to their replacement.
It's one thing to move quickly, but another to have a pipeline of qualified prospective hires. If you haven't figured out how to develop this long-term funnel, it starts with connections and relationships. Ideally, you would be able to source, connect with and interview candidates within a week of the resignation.
If you haven't considered working with a residential building products recruiter, it might be the time. They probably have a shortlist of qualified and passive candidates & can usually mobilize more quickly than you can.
Streamline & Automate Hiring
If you keep your job description and ads up to date, you'll be much more efficient at getting the opportunities posted. If you haven't done so, consider writing them now. By knowing exactly what you want from your next sales executive, you will be better at reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.
Have an e-mail address just for candidates to apply to and use the RYG method to designate your level of interest.
List all the attributes your previous sales rep exhibited, then use it as an interview template.
I would try to make every contact go quickly, so I'd recommend you call candidates rather than e-mail when possible. Conduct short phone interviews to narrow down your field to ultra-qualified candidates.
Ideally, you want your decision makers to be the ones conducting your interviews. Have a process in place to prep together before the interviews and confer and rank candidates after. Use a candidate ranking sheet and take really good notes during the whole process. When you complete your interviews, you should be at a point where you have 1-2 candidates you absolutely are ready to hire.
Don't take weeks to think this over. If you do your prep work, interviews and ranking correctly, you should be able to easily come to a decision the day you finish interviews.
If you get done and no one seems quite right, don't hire anyone. You don't want to make a mistake just because your selection field felt scarce. It is better not to hire than talk yourself into a mediocre candidate who you have to later let go.
Speed-up Your Orientation Process
You need your new salesperson to be productive as soon as possible. The faster the new hire is on-boarded the sooner they will be ready to hit the ground. If possible, have the candidate fill out new hire paperwork before their first day. Take care of drug and pre-hire testing as soon as you extend the offer.
If they can do their orientation or meet with your teams in advance, that saves time. Ideally, you want them to have access to the previous employee or someone for ridealongs and customer meetings, so don't waste 3 days with HR and orientation and whatever else.
Efficient Training & Mentoring
Training new hires consumes significant resources – money and time. Therefore, make sure your training program is efficient as possible and that you have a solid mentoring program in place. Training should be a mix of hands-on and auditory or visual learning if you want it to be retained more quickly. Obviously, don't push a new employee or expect the moon, but if you hired a top performer, they should be mostly there already.
Mentoring is another way to get a new residential building products sales team member up and running as soon as possible. Pair them with your top salespeople, executives, trainers, and coaches. If you need to look at bringing in some outside help, now is the time. Make sure you provide consistent feedback and monitor progress closely. I'd really recommend you look at doing a daily check in for awhile until the employee is more comfortable.
Taking these simple steps will help fill vacant sales positions faster, train new hires quickly and improve your territories over a shorter duration.