This is a question that has come up quite a bit lately with several of my clients. The business has grown to a point where the business owners need to focus working on the business instead of in the business making sales. They now feel that they should grow their business and hiring feet on the street will get them there.
The real answer to the question of when are you ready to hire is that usually when you have to ask you are not ready. It is primarily because your current infrastructure does not support having a new sales person who is a new employee and even though they may come from your industry, they are not familiar with your particular business and it will take a few months for them to hit the ground running. It is a fallacy that hiring a sales rep will automatically free you up to do the things you want and need to do in the business, in fact for the first few months it will most likely increase your workload until the individual is comfortable with your products and services, business processes, and the culture of your business.
Before you consider hiring your first sales rep be able to have an answer to the questions posed below. There is more to it than just having the funding for a head count.
If you have answers to all of the questions above or have a plan of how you are going to address them, then you are ready to hire your first sales personnel for your business. Hopefully this provides you a list of things to think about which will help you determine if and when you are ready. As you work down the list, it is important to document your answers as this will help you not only for hiring the first sales rep, but for every sales rep you hire as you continue to grow your business.
RK Fischer & Associates