Discover best practices for sales recruitment and strategies to help you find the perfect candidate. Get your team ready with The Sales Connection!
May 28, 2023
The sales team is the lifeblood of your operation because if sales go, so too does your dream of running a successful business. Your bottom line will suffer if your team can't retain enough good people worth their commissions.
But this step-by-step guide on how to develop a consistent and high-performing sales recruitment process will help ensure you can always find the best salespeople in your industry.
Identifying your ideal sales candidate is crucial to optimizing the sales recruitment process as a business owner. Knowing the qualities, skills, and experience you're looking for will help you streamline your salespeople recruitment process to save time and money. Without it, your team could get hundreds of job candidates, leading to wasted resources screening them because they won't actually be qualified.
That's why it's essential to start by defining what your ideal sales candidate looks like via a checklist of traits and qualifications needed for the role. Include hard and soft qualities like a proven track record in sales, excellent communication skills, and a strong work ethic. If you're having trouble, imagine the impact you hope your new sales rep will bring to your company. Then, reverse engineer the results and envision which qualities the ideal candidate would need to achieve those goals.
With this information, tailor your job postings and recruitment strategy to attract candidates who meet these requirements. For example, craft specific keywords and phrases in your job postings that target candidates with relevant experience. You'll streamline your sales recruitment process by filtering out candidates who don't meet your expectations.
The job posting is often one of the first encounters a potential job applicant has with a business. It's essentially your first impression, and you should make your company's needs and expectations clear from the start. In a study conducted by eightfold.ai, 17% of 913 Americans actively job searching chose not to apply for a job posting because of a vague or confusing job description.
Start by reviewing your company's mission and values. Identify the qualities and characteristics you seek in candidates and incorporate them into your job posting. For example, if customer service is a critical business value, you might include a requirement for excellent communication skills or highlight your commitment to customer satisfaction in your job description.
Once you know what material needs to be added to a job description, make a couple of drafts instead of posting it immediately. You'll need to ensure it reads just as smoothly as it sounds in your head. The time required to do so will be worth it because if you set up these first few steps, the rest of the process will be more efficient.
Using the proper channels to reach potential candidates will increase the likelihood of finding the perfect fit for your business. Advertising your job posting on sites or forums that don't have your ideal candidates is a quick way to lose money and time. There are essentially two different ways to get started.
The first is by taking the ideal candidate exercise you did previously and making calculated assumptions about where that individual would be looking for jobs. If the person you're looking for is an experienced sales representative, chances are they're already connected to the right networks and job sites in the industry. Look up hiring agencies recruiting sales professionals in your industry and inform them of the role you're looking to fill.
The second option is to reverse engineer the process and look up where your competitors are posting job descriptions. Note where those job postings are located and place your own there too. This is also a method to optimize your job description. You could find phrases and qualities you haven't thought about that could be crucial to finding the right salesperson.
You and your team can only work as fast as the number of people assigned to hiring for sales. To reach suitable candidates and even scale the process in the future, you'll need to look into recruitment sales hiring tools.
These tools are game changers for businesses seeking top talent in competitive industries like sales. They can automatically find and contact potential candidates and save your team time on manual processes like scheduling interviews.
On top of that, they can help you quickly identify the most qualified candidate by analyzing different job-specific parameters, such as educational background and prior experience. This way, you can ensure the person ultimately hired for the sales role has all of the necessary skills to succeed — without having to spend manual labor on the task. In fact, companies that use automation for recruitment have a 64% higher fill rate.
But before you pick a tool, take stock of all the inefficiencies your company suffers during the sales hiring process. You'll need to cross-check those with the features offered by each tool and then decide on the one that could make the most significant impact.
Shortening your hiring window makes practical sense for several reasons. A quicker recruiting sales reps process can help you secure top talent before your competitors, minimize productivity losses due to unfilled sales roles, and reduce recruitment costs. In other words, the longer your company takes to fill a position, the more risk and financial expenses you incur.
The average time length of hiring an employee is around 36 days. To beat the competition, your company needs a representation of each step in the hiring process. It helps to envision your hiring process similarly to your selling process. There will be a funnel where your final candidate goes through several stages before being hired.
When the stages are broken down, you can look at the data and make optimal changes. For example, if you notice your job postings are receiving a 76% response rate but only 30% are showing up for an interview, you know where an optimization needs to occur. Continue to collect data on your hiring process and compare your stats with industry standards to determine how your campaigns are performing.
You should receive hundreds of applications if you've done your homework and posted a high-quality job description to the right platforms. Even with recruitment tools onboard, screening and interviewing all potential candidates is still a lengthy process.
To make the most out of your limited time, create an effective screening system that allows you to quickly identify the top few applicants for each sales role. The best approach here is to go with a scoring system that can help you assign a grade to each candidate based on the criteria that matter most for the job.
This includes factors like customer service skills, sales experience, and problem-solving abilities. Once you have enough information from the application process and interviews, you can easily assign points to each applicant and quickly identify those who have scored the highest.
This is one of the most time-consuming efforts your team will experience throughout the hiring process, but it's also one of the most crucial. Working with a hiring agency will shorten the process, and they can screen applicants for you based on your preferences and standards.
When your sales teams are aligned with your values, team members are more likely to be passionate about the products or services you offer, which will translate to better sales performance. This alignment will also make it easier to motivate and manage your sales team, as you'll be able to articulate clear expectations grounded in shared values.
Moreover, emphasizing your values in an interview can help you identify salespeople who are a good fit for your company culture. This is essential, as a sales team that reflects your company culture is more likely to work well together and share knowledge more effectively. And increased collaboration will help teams serve their clients more effectively.
Conduct mock interviews with team members and determine if they felt the company's fundamental values were being effectively translated. If you record the interactions, you can critique the video and identify areas where your values could be better communicated.
Don't assume a reference check only verifies a candidate's past employers. It's a chance for you to double-check all the information the candidate provided but also a way to look into their character. No matter how well an employee can position their career on paper, nothing can hide how well they've interacted with their peers every day for years at their previous companies.
When calling or emailing references, you want to have a pre-determined list of questions to illuminate any problems or issues you should be aware of. Common questions include:
A reference check could be the difference between hiring an excellent match for your sales team or someone who isn't a good fit and ends up costing you time and money. However, one bad experience at a specific company while all other previous employers praise the candidate's performance is more likely the result of unfortunate circumstances rather than something you should be overly concerned about. Be sure to keep an open mind while checking references and look for any consistent patterns of behavior that could affect the sales team's performance.
Taking the time to envision your ideal candidate, craft the perfect job description, research the right platforms to advertise the posting, go through several rounds of interviews, adopt tools, and check references is all for nothing if the candidate rejects your offer anyways. Before putting all the effort into hiring a salesperson, ensure your compensation is competitive with your industry standard.
Research your competition's job postings to see if they list their pay structure. You'll want to check how they've structured their performance-based compensation and if they offer additional benefits like insurance, 401(k)s, or flexible work arrangements. Contact a recruiter to get an idea of the current market rates, or use online salary calculators to determine the going rate for salespeople in your area. Glassdoor also lists general salaries but doesn't list additional information like benefits or performance-based compensation.
With competitive compensation, your company has a great chance of landing high-performing sales talent. You won't have to waste your time going through the hiring process only to be rejected, and your company will be able to reserve resources from not having to extend the hiring process.
Most companies believe the sales recruitment process ends when their sales hire finishes the final interview. But the truth is, without a reliable onboarding process, your company stands to be another attrition statistic among companies worldwide. About 20% of all staff turnover happens within the first 45 days of employment. Beating this metric involves a strategic process that guides new hires from their first day to the moment they reach their peak performance.
Sales managers should start by ensuring the employee is successful through proper training and coaching. Teach them all the tools they will use in the position and show them how communication flows within the team. Create a space for new hires' feedback, so your team can continually improve the process.
When salespeople are well-informed, well-trained, and well-supported, they're more likely to feel comfortable selling your products or services. This means sales leaders won't have to spend as much time and resources hiring and training new salespeople. It's also how you'll keep the one in five employees who will leave a new job within 45 days of being hired.
You may be sitting there thinking, "I believe my hiring process could be broken, it's why I'm here, but I've got four other fires I'm putting out too." You need to evaluate your current situation and identify if your sales recruitment process needs help — and where exactly that help is needed.
The following are some common roadblocks and ways to address them.
If you recognize a broken sales process, don't overwhelm yourself by moving through multiple steps simultaneously. Make it simple and easy for you and your team to execute so that you can scale quickly once you've created a solid foundation. Otherwise, a sales manager can risk implementing too many changes and stalling the hiring process. Figure out what issues are happening at each stage of your hiring funnel first, then start at the top and implement changes as you work down the funnel.
The more effective you and your team are at hiring salespeople, the more likely you hire candidates that match your values, fill a need in your business, and help drive sales growth. The steps above are just a framework, but the real work will take time, money, and effort to accomplish.
Working with a global sales and operations expert will shorten the path to successfully hiring high-performing salespeople. The Sales Connection has trained over 20,000 sales professionals and completed over 120,000 inbound B2B and B2C sales calls.
Schedule a call with the team and see how The Sales Connection can help you with your sales recruitment process today.
sales managers, sales leaders
Kayvon has over two decades of experience working with high-level closers and perfecting his sales methodologies. He has earned the title of Canada’s #1 pharmaceutical sales representative and continues to share his expertise as a keynote speaker and through his multi-million-dollar coaching program.