Marijuana Business Magazine - January 2017

WHAT TOWATCH OUT FOR WHERE TO LOOK Kerklaan has found candidates through cannabis staffing agencies, online sites such as LinkedIn and by mining his personal network and the contacts of his staff. “We’ve had some good success with Craigslist,” he added. “But I would say word of mouth has been the most successful.” Friedman likes to post opportunities on LinkedIn and Facebook. In particular, he’s had success with the Facebook page Colorado Badged Network, a site for registered marijuana industry workers in Colorado. He also posts on the employment- related search engine and the staffing agency Vangst Talent Network. Wu posts job ads on LinkedIn and Kush Bottles’ Facebook and Instagram pages. Kush Bottles also has a careers page on its site. But word of mouth works just as well. “This industry still continues to be pretty well connected internally,” he said. HOW TO TRAIN Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics has new hires accompany veteran salespeople during their visits to retailers. The more experienced sales reps show the new hires the company’s sys- tems and procedures, such as proper regulatory paperwork, product selling points, new dispensary on-boarding procedures and the order-tracking software called CannTrade. The reps also introduce them to clients. After- ward, the new hires are trained on the company’s customer relationship management system. “It’s a matter of training them up to our brand and our procedures,” Kerklaan said. At MedPharm, Friedman views the training process as a key problem area for businesses. “That’s where most people fall down,” he said. Friedman likened the training process W hen evaluating a candidate for a sales position, watch out for a lack of confidence, poor attention to detail and a limited understanding of the job. At the packaging and supplies company Kush Bottles, president and chief operating officer Ben Wu is wary of an interviewee who lacks the confidence to make eye contact. Another red flag is a spotty job history. “If you’re a salesperson who’s had 10 sales jobs, and none of them for more than two months, it’s probably not a good fit,” said Wu, whose company sells packaging and supplies to cannabis businesses. He also evaluates the candidate’s criminal background. “This is a cash-heavy industry,” he said. “Just like any other business, you have to make sure that you’re hiring employees you can trust.” Dr. Andrew Kerklaan, president and founder of the medical cannabis topicals company Dr. Kerklaan Therapeutics, won’t hire someone if they’re in it for the wrong reasons. “There are lots of people piling into the cannabis industry,” he said. “You have to make sure you see the right motivation in them.” He avoids candidates who appear too financially driven and those who are just chasing the latest trend – in this case, marijuana. Mark Friedman – director of sales and marketing for MedPharm Holdings, a provider of cannabis-based pharmaceutical products – has been hiring people for 20-plus years and emphasizes the importance of a first impression. “If you’re looking for a sales position, your resume is your sales presentation and your product is you,” he said. Misspellings and punctuation errors on a resume are a bad start. “I had a guy submit a cover letter where he misspelled the name of my company,” Friedman said. “He was disqualified.” He’s also looking for a specific understanding of what the job entails. “If they think the job is 8 to 5, Monday through Friday, we have a discussion that that’s not really what it’s about,” Friedman said. “Sales is a 24/7 gig.” — Bart Schaneman to drinking from a fire hose for the first 60-90 days. This period has potential downsides for the company. During this time, for example, current customers may slow purchases or stop them completely until the new rep is proven. There also may be situations where a customer liked the previous rep and stops doing business with the com- pany. This can take time to reverse. To combat such developments, Friedman set up a program where expectations and sales performance goals such as quotas are detailed in the first week. Weeks two through eight include classroom time with Friedman, where he goes over sales tactics as well as homework assignments and field and event training. He also has one-on-one meetings every other week with the reps in which they discuss struggles and what they can improve on. In addition, Friedman conducts collaborative weekly sales meetings with the whole staff where 92 • Marijuana Business Magazine • January 2018