Let’s face it, finding talented and natural salespeople is not as simple as posting a job ad and waiting for a rush of applications.
Nowadays, sales are more nuanced than in the past, as products and services are more sophisticated, and customers are more knowledgeable when researching the best option.
Nevertheless, the crux of the matter was Covid-19, as many sales reps were laid-off following the outbreak and embarked on new career paths. This, in turn, narrowed down the pool of candidates for companies looking to recruit for sales positions in the light of surging customer demand. Additionally, sales started to become more and more digital due to the pandemic—sales people weren’t on the road that much anymore and the whole style of the profession changed.
A salesperson is the second most in-demand job, meaning these positions are among the most challenging to fill in the post-pandemic economic landscape.
So, as a business, how can you guarantee that your salespeople’s recruitment strategy is future-proof and that you fill your positions with talented personnel capable of meeting and exceeding your revenue targets?
Stick around until the end of this article, where we cover everything, you need to know about hiring the right salespeople to take your business to the next level.
Issues You Need to Keep in Mind When Hiring Salespeople
You should be aware of the common challenges when recruiting sales talents for your company. Here’s a brief rundown for you:
The Complexity of Products Need Skilled Salespeople
The truth is that not all products or services are straightforward.
Whether it’s selling in the B2B or B2C environment, often, sales reps face the challenge of selling highly technical products that rarely spark interest in customers’ minds. Buyers know they need a solution but are not prepared to get buried in mountains of dry facts and technical jargon.
So, what’s the solution to winning deals? Yes, that’s right—it’s your sales team!
But not just any sales team: You need storytellers who dial back the technical details and focus on benefits, speak the right language, back up big statements with relevant data, and get prospects excited about your product.
Save yourself from hiring a candidate who fails to understand the sales shift. Indeed, not all sales reps can master complex selling solutions; thus, you must carefully filter your applications.
Way of Working has Changed
Thanks to Covid, remote working is a new normality and a preferred option for many, including the salespeople. 47% of reps believe that sales will be made virtually in the future. But despite the enthusiasm, closing deals in a remote setting is more problematic, requiring a whole new set of skills to capture customers' attention.
Just because somebody is good at selling in-person doesn’t mean they can sell over the phone or a video. Therefore, before hiring sales staff, you must ensure they can thrive in a virtual sales environment (or you need to train them!).
Training is Paramount
Getting sales executives through the door is one issue, but retaining them in the organization is another. Lack of appropriate direction, leadership, and training are among the top reasons for high salespeople turnover, which can financially cripple your business.
Before you hire in new sales personnel, ensure that you have a robust training program and onboarding processes. This will enable your team to achieve quotas, increase win rates, and become better at aligning solutions to customer needs—all of which will contribute to higher morale and job satisfaction.
Lack of Motivation
Rejection in the sales environment is nothing new, but it can impact the motivation of even the most experienced sales representatives. Hiring salespeople who can bounce back from adversity is crucial. Still, you also need an internal support system to ensure they don’t lose the hunger to go after prospective clients even if things go awry.
Where Do You Find Exceptional Sales People to Hire?
Now that you know what you need to watch out for, let's look at the places and tools that can help you find high-performing sales personnel.
Try Active Sourcing (on LinkedIn)
It might sound obvious, but many organizations are yet to leverage social media—mostly—LinkedIn as part of their sales recruitment strategy.
LinkedIn’s advanced search feature allows you to quickly access a large pool of sales professionals to add to your candidate pipeline. Before you start, think about the following aspects:
- What is the right-fit candidate profile you’re looking for in sales?
- What kind of experience should your ideal sales candidate have?
- What product(s) should they have sold in the past/current role?
- What industries have they worked in?
Once you narrow what you’re looking for, use filters to conduct an advanced active candidate search, which should help you produce a customized list of potential recruits.
Don’t Forget Employer & Employee Branding
Excellent employer branding goes hand in hand with active scouting for sales professionals on LinkedIn. Most businesses now use LinkedIn to attract talent, so it’s pretty competitive. For this reason, you must polish your company profile while focusing on the values and culture you want to communicate to prospective applicants.
But not only your company profile should be up-to-date: Your Head of Sales, or any employee in your sales team actually, should create his or her own network on LinkedIn and interact with people there on a regular basis. This includes posts about relevant sales topics, commenting or liking interesting posts concerning sales and more.
Employee or personal branding is as important as employer branding! If sales employees start building their own brand, they will attract potential sales professionals for a new sales job automatically.
Interestingly, over 70% of candidates consider company culture over salary before applying for a job, so it’s essential to position yourself as an attractive and reputable business to work for and give individuals an opportunity to self-assess personality-organization fit.
Use Sales Intelligence in Recruiting
If you want to be more strategic, save time using Echobot, a GDPR-compliant sales intelligence tool. “How does sales intelligence help me with recruiting sales people?!” you might wonder. But it’s actually pretty helpful.
Let’s take the Sales Intelligence Platform from Echobot: With just a few clicks, you can get your hands on 300+ filters, over 20M companies and 60M contacts. This enables you not only to generate highly relevant B2B leads but also shows you suitable candidates within companies you could convince to work for your company instead.
Echobot enables you to search for sales professionals using certain job titles and in different industries, depending on which industry you’re working in. Let’s say you’re selling SaaS. Then Echobot can show you all contacts in SaaS companies you could hire for your sales team. Additionally, you could narrow down your search for sales professionals with regional filters. Contacts in Echobot come with links to LinkedIn profiles—use these links to reach out to talents directly!
And, if these filters are not enough, you can fine-tune your search with keywords that pick up on the dynamic information contained within websites, job platforms, and social media. It's never been easier to navigate a competitive sales recruitment environment. Echobot can help you find and employ your next sales representative faster than your competitors!
5 Steps to Recruit the Best Salespeople and Retain Them
So, what is the winning recruitment strategy to attract high-performing sales personnel? Let’s have a look at a few simple steps to hire the best sales people.
Step 1: Define Your Ideal Talent Profile
What kind of individual are you after? Just like an Ideal Customer Profile in B2B sales, you need to determine the characteristics of your ideal sales rep.
Are there any particular skills that are missing within your sales team?
Start by identifying what professional, educational, and personality attributes your team could benefit from—and start recruiting sales people that fit that profile.
Step 2: Favor Attitude Over Experience
Likewise, consider what’s more important—years of experience or attitude. Somebody with ten years of sales history doesn’t automatically mean the best (or could even be stuck in his own sales routine).
“You don't hire for skills, you hire for attitude. You can always teach skills."
Author and Speaker
Meanwhile, an individual with the right attitude is easier to mold, and with suitable guidance and training, you can turn him or her into an effective salesperson.
Step 3: Nail Your Job Description
Don’t try to cover every single part of the job if you want to recruit sales professionals! Sales roles are based on objectives, so it’s a good practice to spell them out on your job ad while explaining the typical day in the office (be honest, of course!).
Furthermore, don’t forget to summarize your business, its culture in your company’s tone of voice, and how the sales applicant will be expected to fit within the organization. The ultimate goal is to get sales people excited, but if you’re entirely lacking ideas—check out competitors’ job descriptions for similar positions in sales.
Step 4: Trust and Believe in Your Salespeople
Studies show that high-trust companies are more productive and experience lower employee attrition rates, so why don’t you build such an environment for your sales personnel?
As a sales leader, start by demonstrating competence in prospecting, negotiating, closing deals, and landing high-ticket clients. Furthermore, ensure you remain consistent, lead by example, and regularly check in with your team—it will do wonders!
Step 5: Establish Career Paths to Retain Talent
Finally, replacing a sales rep could be rather costly and time-consuming, but you shouldn’t even resort to that scenario if you can draw a clear career map.
A natural salesperson will never be satisfied with a stagnant position; thus, it’s instrumental to define how a salesperson can develop professionally, earn more money, and stay relevant in an ever-changing sales environment. Recruiting sales people is always about concrete goals!
What Sales Leaders Look for When Hiring Sales People?
When it comes to hiring, sales leaders can be picky, but the fundamental criteria revolve around these key attributes:
Look for Work Ethic
A successful sales representative will be hardworking and persistent yet respectful of customers’ boundaries. Ideally, you need somebody who can balance assertiveness and knowing when to back off while pursuing clients.
It’s also important to screen for qualities such as willingness to participate in ongoing learning and professional development opportunities. After all, you must hire a sales rep with the grit and the right personality to achieve long-term success.
Person Should be a Cultural Fit
Cultural fit is instrumental for retaining stellar sales talent, boosting team collaboration, and reducing conflict. Take the chance during the interview to question potential hires about their ideal workplace, from working hours and setting (on-site, remote, or hybrid) to social activities and work style. This will allow you to measure if their vision fits your workplace’s reality.
Ultimately, you want them to thrive and approach work positively and confidently, especially when the sales rejection kicks in.
Sales is About Being a Social Chameleon
51% of sales professionals believe that more profound and personalized customer relationships increase retention. Look for a salesperson who can adapt to the scenario and customer at hand.
The so-called ‘social chameleon effect’ is about recognizing customer needs, understanding where they come from, their actual pain points, and adapting your sales pitch accordingly.
Finding somebody with social chameleon skills will help reduce friction during the buyer’s journey, win more deals, and close higher value sales.
Final Thoughts on How to Hire Sales People
Sales turnover is one of the most critical indicators of a company's success. You need to hire for a solid sales team to drive your revenue and consistently meet and exceed your sales targets.
Attracting the right sales talent in the current market is tricky. However, with the power of carefully curated recruitment techniques and tools, you can be sure to save time and give yourself the best chance at finding a highly-effective sales representative that can deliver tremendous bottom-line results.
Hiring sales people for such a critical position is ultimately about finding the perfect personality-organization match, followed by demonstrating appreciation for salespeople’s work.