Can Your Business Afford a Salesperson? 10 Questions to Ask Before Making this Hire

Samir Sampat

Hiring is no simple task. You can’t just go out and decide to get another salesperson someday without putting some thought into it. You have to plan for a budget, make sure that you find the right person for the job, etc. It’s a process, and it’s one that you need to take seriously to ensure that you get the right solutions for your business. 

If you’re in the market for a salesperson, you might want to think about what it’s going to cost. Sure, there’s the salary and you might be able to get away with an entry-level rate of $15 per hour or so, but there’s a lot more to hiring an employee than that. In this article, we’ll discuss the 10 questions you need to consider when deciding whether or not you can truly afford to add a salesperson to your team. 

And while there’s a lot more to hiring someone than the cost, if you can’t afford it, nothing else matters. Here’s what you need to consider. 


1. How much does the average salesperson earn in my industry?

You can’t ask yourself whether you can afford to add to your sales team if you don’t know what that means. The cost of a salesperson will vary from one position to another. As mentioned, you may find entry-level help around $15 per hour (~$30,000 per year). However, Salary.com states that the current average salary for a salesperson in the U.S. is around $55,000 (and don’t forget commission, if you offer it). 


2. Can I afford an additional 20-40% in hiring, onboarding, training, and business-related expenses?

When you hire an employee, it’s estimated that you’ll spend 1.2-1.4 times their salary in the first year. This covers hiring, training, onboarding, overhead, taxes, insurance, and other expenses related to having an employee. If you can’t afford that, you can’t afford to have an employee just yet. 


3. Do I have the time and means to manage this employee?

Here’s another big question you need to answer honestly. Sometimes, having to manage another employee would defeat the purpose of even hiring them in the first place. In that case, it may be best to look at your other options.


4. How long will it take to train this employee?

It often takes much longer to get employees up to 100% productivity than business owners and hiring managers realize. The average position should allot at least six months for an employee to reach full productivity. Although they will improve over time, they will still be costing you money for several months into their employment with your business.


5. Can I afford the overhead of having an employee in-house?

When you hire an employee, they're going to need an office and a computer to work with. They'll probably also need a phone. Even if you hire someone remotely, they're still your employee and you should provide the technology and other tools that they need to do their job. All these things add up quickly and should be factored into your decision (and your budget). 


6. What am I looking for in a salesperson?

This is a very diverse role. “Salesperson” can mean several different things, and it’s usually a role that includes multiple skills beyond the sale itself. Consider what types of things you have in mind in even thinking about hiring someone for your sales team. Can you find those resources elsewhere for a better price? Perhaps you only need a little extra sales support? Make sure that you know what you want from this role so that you can fill it appropriately. 


7. Can I compete with the millions of other sales jobs out there?

It’s time to get honest with yourself. The sales industry is huge and remote work is only helping it grow. There are currently more than 2 million sales jobs posted online and that’s only going to continue to grow. Even in the light of the economic struggles caused by the pandemic, sales are up, and companies are hiring, and if your perks don’t measure up, you’ll never get the help you need. 

 

8. Do I want to train someone or spend more for better talent?

You can choose to hire and train someone as you wish, and you’ll get them at a lower cost than someone with years of experience. However, if you want a simpler solution, you may want to spend more for someone who has already been trained or at least has some experience in the sales world. Then, you won’t have to do the work. There’s no right or wrong answer here—you just have to decide what works for you. 


9. Do I need full-time or part-time help?

In some cases, business owners realize that they don’t quite need the assistance of a full-time sales staff, but they do need a helping hand. In this instance, it may be better to outsource with a solution like the dedicated team at Smith.ai for inbound and outbound sales and marketing assistance, and so much more. 


10. Would outsourcing be a better choice?

If you only need part-time help, or if your budget is tight and you can’t afford an employee, you could consider outsourcing instead. You can often get all of the solutions that you need for sales, marketing, and even admin tasks like scheduling and more. Plus, you can get it at a fraction of the cost of a salary, benefits, onboarding, overhead expenses, etc.


If that sounds like a winning option for your needs, ask us how the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can deliver the 24/7 solutions for inbound and outbound calling, after-hours answering, live website chat, and so much more. For a fraction of the cost of hiring an employee, you’ll get a custom solution for all of your communication and admin needs. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation to discuss what the 24/7 live agents at Smith.ai can do to help your sales and more. You can also reach out to us at hello@smith.ai or (650) 727-6484.


Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing and Events Associate with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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