When creating a job description for a new sales rep, people often struggle with how many years of experience they should require for the position. Since every sales position varies, it’s important to figure out the right amount of experience needed for each specific job. Evaluating the job duties, work location, your budget, and your training methods can provide insight into how many years of experience you should require. Use these four factors to help you find not only the right experience level, but also a good candidate for the job.
1. What will the sales rep be required to do?
One of the best ways to determine how much experience you should require for potential sales reps is to evaluate what exactly the sales rep will be doing. For example, are they closing complicated, multi-million dollar deals? Or are they primarily going to be cold calling and generating leads?
For someone closing major deals, you want to look for someone with a lot of experience. The candidate should know how to strategically close bigger deals and have the patience and maturity to know these deals aren’t going to happen overnight. Typically, this person will have 10+ years of experience and the ability to work with C level professionals in order to close these deals.
On the other hand, someone closing much smaller deals won’t need as many years of experience. Many entry-level sales reps or recent college graduates will be able to manage these smaller accounts. Since little to no experience level is required for these positions, focus on characteristics like work ethic and integrity to evaluate if the sales rep will be a good fit.
2. How much are you paying your sales reps?
Another factor in determining experience level is the amount of money you are willing to pay your sales reps. What is your threshold? The amount of money you can afford to pay your reps will determine how much experience the sales rep will have.
For example, if you can only afford to pay a base salary of $25,000 – $35,000 per year, then you will attract candidates with minimal sales experience. This salary range is typical for an entry-level sales rep coming out of college or a junior sales rep with an average of up to 3 years of experience.
If you can afford to pay a six figure base, plus commission, then you will be able to attract much more senior, and experienced sales reps. Someone who has experience working with major accounts or large deals is going to expect this larger salary.
3. What does your internal training look like?
Your formal and informal training structure plays a major role in deciding how many years of experience you should require for new sales reps. Do you have an internal training resource? Or is the training of junior reps left up to the sales leader?
A formal training program will allow you to hire more junior sales reps. The reps will have the opportunity to learn about your process and gain more sales experience through the training program. The risk of reps falling through the cracks becomes much smaller with a formal training system in place.
If you don’t have an internal training program, you might want to considering hiring more experienced sales reps. The more experienced reps will be able to catch on to your methodology and process much quicker than junior reps and they won’t need as much formal training. Can you really afford to have a junior rep fail due to lack of training?
4. Where will the rep be working?
You can also figure out how many years of experience you should require by deciding whether you want a sales rep to work from home or to come into the office everyday.
If you are looking for a remote sales rep, then ideally they should have 5+ years experience working from home as a sales representative.
If you need a sales rep to work in an office environment where they will be relying heavily on the phone, then you can use a more junior rep with 2-5 years of experience.
A general guideline for sales rep experience is that 3-5 years is a sweet spot for junior reps and 5-7 years for more senior reps. At 3 years of experience, you will be able to see what type of track record they have and they are still willing to learn new processes or techniques. At closer to 10 years of experience, sales reps will be less moldable and set in their process.
Answering these four questions honestly will help you determine how much experience you need in a sales rep and what you can afford. Finding a sales rep with the right amount of experience for your opening will help them have more success in the future.