The 8-Step Process To Find and Recruit Top Sales Representatives | The Sales Connection

The 8-Step Process To Find and Recruit Top Sales Representatives | The Sales Connection

Get the top sales talent you need to succeed! Find out the 8-Step Process To Find and Recruit Top Sales Representatives and build an unbeatable team.

Kayvon Kay
Kayvon Kay

January 5, 2023

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All You Need to Know About Recruiting Top Sales Talent

Are you OK with wasting over a quarter million dollars per year?

Of course not. Yet that’s the cost of just two low-performing sales reps per year.

How is that possible? In this article, we’ll explain, and then we’ll show you how to avoid this deadly drain on your bottom line.

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Why Is It Important to Recruit Top Talent?

An ineffective sales team wastes your organization's time and money in missed sales, plus recruitment and training costs. 

Consider this: Sales reps make a median salary of $62,070, and it costs an average of $97,690 to replace them. Given a sales rep turnover rate of over 25%, let’s imagine some stats for a company with a 10-person sales team:

  • Two low-performing sales reps leave every year = $124,140 wasted salary
  • Cost to recruit sales representatives (two people) = $195,380
  • Total cost coming out of your bottom line = $319,520

That’s over a quarter million dollars per year that just TWO ineffective sales reps will cost your company — not to mention lost sales.

An A-class sales team, on the other hand, runs like a well-oiled machine. It skyrockets your profit, helping you serve more clients and grow.

Sales recruiters using an ineffective process for recruiting top sales talent is one of the most expensive mistakes your company could ever make. Unfortunately, few people know how to recruit sales talent. Fortunately, the fundamentals of sales rep recruiting are consistent across industries.

Keep reading to learn the golden rules of recruiting sales representatives so your company can supercharge its growth.

What Are the Five Qualities of a Top Salesperson?

A salesperson needs to be a match for your company on these five essential qualities:

  1. Their values match yours. Use scientific personality assessments to determine a candidate’s values, so you can see whether they fit with your company’s values.
  2. Their behaviors are a fit. Look for behaviors that make someone an effective salesperson with management potential.
  3. They fit with your company’s culture. Look for a sales rep who will likely be able to work well with their future teammates. A bad culture fit introduces chaos and drags down morale.
  4. They have glowing references. Find applicants whose excellent track record shows in how their references talk about them.
  5. Use scientific sales aptitude assessments to eliminate the 80% of applicants who are unqualified. Assessments will help you find candidates with this fifth critical quality: aptitude for sales.

How to Recruit Top Sales Talent: The Sales Connection’s 8-Step Sales Recruitment Process

Step 1: Pre-Filter Talent to Weed Out the Wannabes From Your Job Post

Use a simple, hard-hitting questionnaire to qualify the tsunami of applications hitting your inbox. A questionnaire identifies the top 10% to 15% of candidates so you don't waste time on spammers and tire kickers. Many B-players spam job boards and brute-force apply to any job posting they find. A well-crafted questionnaire will filter out these people.

A tool like Typeform lets you see which questions applicants get stuck on and how long the questionnaire takes them — another effective qualifying tool. You can also customize the applicant scoring based on their length of sales experience, industry knowledge, and other criteria.

A questionnaire with applicant scoring gives you a simple, objective way to weed out unqualified candidates.

Step 2: Save 90% of Your Hiring Manager's Time and Avoid Fake Sales Pros by Using a Targeted Aptitude Assessment to Uncover Top Sales Talent

The sales aptitude assessment we use compares and benchmarks your candidates' results against over 2.5 million other sales reps.

The best sales aptitude tests are scientific tools that help to determine if a candidate can walk the walk. These tests reveal candidates' sales aptitude, business skills, and how well they match your role and culture.

You can adjust certain variables to help you find the exact candidates you're looking for. These variables include:

  • The length of your sales process/cycle
  • Communication style
  • Closing style
  • Motivation type (altruistic vs. economic motivation)
  • High-ticket closing performance

Step 3: Leverage Video Auditions to Pre-Screen Candidates and Systematize Your Hiring Process

Old-school sales recruiting involves sifting through stacks of resumes, calling candidates for interviews, and making them gut-based job offers. This method is tedious and, thankfully, no longer necessary. Our method is more efficient, and it predicts sales performance.

Video auditions reveal a lot about applicants, including how tech-savvy they are. Their ability to navigate video conferencing will expose any weaknesses in their remote work skills.

You can also see an applicant's facial expressions, body language, and communication style with video auditions. You can see whether they're confident and how quickly they think on their feet.

Step 4: Assess Candidate Values, Behavior, and Culture Fit to Find the Ultimate Game-Changing Sales Rep

Use personality tests such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator, Kolbe Test, or the Innermetrix Advanced DISC to assess a candidate's values, behavior, and personality.

These science-backed tests are one of the most critical parts of the application process. You'll supercharge your interview process when armed with the wealth of data that personality tests provide.

Step 5: Conduct Interviews With Your Best Candidates to Put Their Profile to the Test and Find Your “Spartan” Sales Rep

Use a “top-grading” hiring interview method like “Who” to interview candidates and find the top talent. Top grading means asking candidates questions that yield fact-based answers about their history, e.g., jobs they’ve held and sales they’ve closed. With a calculated set of questions that you consistently ask all candidates, you’ll filter out the “interview unicorns” who are great at interviews but terrible at sales.

For more information, consult the well-researched reference interview book Who by Geoff Smart and Randy Street.

Step 6: Put Your Best Candidates to the Test With Follow-Up Roleplay Interviews

This is where scenarios like "sell me this pen" come into play. A-players will have no problem acing role-playing scenarios.

During this second interview, candidates won't be able to fake their sales ability — they'll have to show it. The goal is to assess how comfortable the candidate is in real-world sales situations. The top 1.3% of sales representatives crush role-play interviews.

Step 7: Pick References Strategically as the Last Line of Defense Against a Bad Sales Hire

Conduct reference checks over the phone and treat them like a short interview. References are your final chance to qualify candidates and uncover essential information. Have questions ready, and move through this process quickly so candidates don't get stuck at this step of your process.

If a candidate refuses to give you references, remove them from the hiring process.

Step 8: Successfully Hire, Onboard, and Check in With Your New Sales Rep for Increased Performance and Retention

Poor onboarding costs money and increases employee turnover. It takes up to a month to hire the right candidate, so follow that up with effective onboarding that combines regular check-ins with support and training.

After onboarding, move sales reps to a 30-to-60-day probationary period. During this time, they should bring their A-game and meet the KPIs you give them.

Ensure your onboarding is fully mapped out and trackable so sales reps know what you expect of them.

Build a Brand Identity That Attracts the Top Talent

Establishing your brand's reputation in your industry will help you attract top talent. Your company's visibility on social media can position you as a market leader. Additionally, social media thought leadership makes you look more authoritative and trustworthy in prospects’ eyes — and the top sales talent knows that will make closing easier.

Increase the quality of your talent pool by proactively marketing your brand, especially in these areas:

  • Results you achieve for clients
  • The positive work environment you foster for your team
  • Your company’s financial performance (because winners attract winners)

Proactively Market Your Company’s Positive Work Culture

According to TeamStage, 86% of job seekers avoid companies with bad reputations, so developing and highlighting a positive sales culture in your company is critical.

Highlight your company's principles, values, and the support you provide employees. Emphasize collaboration between departments, so prospective sales reps know they'll have a positive relationship with marketing, finance, and product development.

Show How the Sales Team Supports the Company’s Mission

Clearly state your company's mission — and how sales reps support it. You want to hire sales reps who are team players and feel motivated by being part of a larger mission.

Make Candidates the Center of the Interview Process

It's a job-seeker's market right now. Before you can even get to screening candidates, you need to attract them. Here's how:

  • Reduce application-abandonment rates by simplifying application paperwork.
  • Highlight how you intend to help candidates grow as sales professionals and further their careers into becoming sales leaders.
  • Conduct interviews in informal settings.
  • Ask candidates what concerns they have and honestly address them.
  • If you reject an applicant, let them know in respectful language. That way, you avoid disgruntled applicants trashing you on review sites like Glassdoor.

How Do You Identify Top Sales Talent?

To identify top sales talent, run candidates through a multiphase assessment like the one we described in this article. This assessment should include a qualifying questionnaire, aptitude assessment, personality test, video calls, sales role-playing, and reference checks.

Where Can I Find Top Salespeople?

The Sales Connection builds, trains, manages and optimizes sales teams, so business owners can focus on their clients while their business grows. Our leadership has over 20 years of sales and operations experience ranging from pharmaceuticals and health care to financial services, e-commerce, and self-transformation programs.

We take recruiting sales reps, training, and management off your plate.

Learn more about how a sales rep recruiting agency like The Sales Connection can help you scale your sales.

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Kayvon Kay

Kayvon Kay

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.

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