Build a top-performing sales team with our sales recruiting strategies guide! From identifying your needs to attracting talent, we have you covered.
January 22, 2023
What would it mean to your organization if every one of your salespeople could hit their goals in 2023? You’d be crushing it and maybe even achieve hero status in your company.
Unfortunately, less than a quarter of sales reps hit their quotas in the past year, so continuing to do things the same way is not likely to achieve greatness. Even with strong products and leadership, it can still be a struggle — unless you’ve got the right team members to drive sales.
If you want to build a top-performing sales team, your recruiting strategies need to evolve.
Today’s sales leaders are under intense pressure to deliver on sales goals. At the same time, sales cycles seem to be growing longer each day, especially in B2B sales where buying teams have grown bigger and more decision-makers are involved in the decision-making process.
It takes a special individual who can navigate the sales process effectively, remains self-motivated, and is driven to sell. Finding the right team members is crucial to success, but the game has changed. Here are some of the strategies today’s top sales recruiters are employing to build a top-performing sales team.
In today’s tight labor market where it’s challenging to attract, recruit, and retain top talent, you need to think a little differently. It’s a buyers’ market out there, meaning you can’t afford to wait for top-quality candidates to apply for your jobs. Rather than candidates selling you on why you should hire them, you’re the one doing the selling these days.
This means you’ll need to demonstrate why someone should want to work for you when hiring salespeople. This means offering a competitive salary and benefits package, providing training and education for improvement, opportunities for advancement, and a people-first culture that places a value on personal growth and achievement.
You need to show potential job candidates that you are a high-quality company that does things right and takes care of its people. Make sure this is reflected in your marketing materials and especially your website. Your website is likely the first place job seekers will look to check you out. So, make sure you put your best foot forward and that it reflects your values.
Even though there are more than 13 million people in the U.S. working in sales-related jobs, it can be a surprisingly small industry. That means job candidates can check you out in many different ways. So, if you want to attract top candidates and hire salespeople, you’ll have to make sure what you’re selling is the reality in your organization.
Top performers have plenty of options for sales positions, so your recruiting strategies for sales teams need to focus on what employees are looking for in a new job. While most salespeople are motivated by money or attractive job boards, that’s just one part of the equation. A post-pandemic survey by LinkedIn showed that job seekers most value:
Yet, few employees believe their organization delivers on these six key areas. That may create an opportunity for you to lure top sales performers, but only if your sales recruitment strategy addresses these areas and you effectively communicate them to prospects.
“Companies need to recognize that the power dynamic has changed,” said LinkedIn’s Chief Economist Karin Kimbrough. “Workers are going to demand more from them on multiple fronts.”
One word of caution here: Be careful not to exaggerate or overhype what you offer. Candidates have multiple ways to find out the truth; if they sense you’re not being completely honest, they’ll likely look elsewhere. While you don’t have to highlight the negatives associated with a job, you can’t ignore them either.
What’s in it for them should be front and center in your recruitment efforts, including your job listings. Rather than the long list of job requirements and duties, develop an employee value proposition (EVP) to explain the value of what you offer in terms of what people are looking for.
Consider how you can explain:
When your job ads and job description are a laundry list of all the qualifications you want, it can quickly turn into a checklist. When job seekers see that they don’t match every item, they will likely not apply. If you have to list qualifications, only list the ones that are deal breakers.
If you want to find top performers, you’re going to need to be aggressive and proactive. Many of the best salespeople aren’t actively out looking for jobs, they’re too busy selling and earning.
Estimates are that as many as 70% of the workforce is made up of passive workers who aren’t actively seeking jobs but may consider making a change. When you are only focusing on active job seekers, you’re missing out on 70% of the potential hires. Most of the time, these passive job seekers are the ones you want to drive your sales team.
So, it may seem like one of those out-of-the-box sales recruiting strategies, but you need to put significant effort into attracting those that aren’t looking for a job. That’s often where you find the hidden gems and top-performing sales talent you need.
In sales, you want your sales team member to practice the ABCs: Always Be Closing. When it comes to effective recruiting strategies for direct sales, you’ve got to focus on ABR: Always Be Recruiting. This means continually building a pipeline of industry top performers whether you have any openings right now or not. When you find the type of people you would like to work for your organization, connect with them and stay in touch.
Strategies for finding and recruiting passive candidates include conducting targeted, focused outreach to find and connect with passive candidates and building a relationship over time.
So, where do you find passive job seekers? Here are some of the best ways:
You can also invest in hiring sources and recruiters to surface passive job seekers and help fill positions.
While you don’t want to make a mistake in the hiring process, you also can’t afford to take your time when you find good job candidates. The average time to hire for sales jobs is 38 days, yet the very best candidates are generally off the market in just 10 days!
If your sales hiring process takes a long time, a lengthy interview process, testing, and layers of approvals, you will lose top candidates with other opportunities. Often, job seekers get frustrated by the length of time it takes to hire and look elsewhere.
Though you want to move quickly, you also don’t want to make a mistake. You will be making a significant investment in whomever you hire. This includes a financial commitment, time and training, and tying your company’s reputation to an individual.
One mistake companies make is moving too fast when they find a candidate that looks like a perfect fit. While they may indeed be a star in the making, if a candidate appears to be too good to be true, it’s worth doing a deep dive into their background and references to make sure they really are a good fit.
These are all reasons why you need to keep your sales talent pipeline full. By continuously being on the lookout for top talent, you can move much more quickly when an opening occurs and improve your odds of a successful hire.
If you were to picture the perfect salesperson, it likely conjures an image in your head. Perhaps it’s one of your current or former sales team members. You might think about their background and career path and the traits that made them successful.
That’s all well and good, but we’ve all spent way too much time searching for the perfect candidate and often dismissing potential star performers that didn’t fit the exact right mold.
While you certainly need to have an idea of the type of person you want to join the team, you need to remain open to those who don’t fit your preconceived notions. Sales talent doesn’t always come from the same places or take the same pathway as others.
It’s important to look beyond the resume to see if candidates have the right traits and characteristics to succeed. At the same time, you also want to make sure you are seeking diversity in your sales team to provide opportunities and a breadth of skills to serve your clients. You will benefit from having sales reps that see things differently and can offer alternative solutions. Also, this provides you with more options to find the best fit for each prospective customer.
Once you hire sales reps, the work is just beginning. You need a formal onboarding, training, and coaching plan to help accelerate their learning and prepare them for success. Not only is a training plan important to ramp up sales team members, but it can also be a strong selling point in recruiting.
Job candidates want to know they will get the support they need to be successful. When they know there is a plan in place, they will feel more confident in moving forward.
Onboarding plans often include a 30-, 60-, and 90-day plan to equip sales team members with the knowledge and training they need to work efficiently and productively.
In the pursuit of your next group of top-performing salespeople, it can be easy to forget about the sales stars that are already on your team. Don’t take them for granted. The top people at your company are exactly the people that other companies are trying to find and they may offer them a better comp package to lure them away.
Make sure you are giving your top team members the attention they need and provide motivation beyond money. While you need to have a competitive pay and benefits package, making a personal investment in someone’s career growth and providing consistent opportunities for growth can make a significant difference in whether someone stays or goes.
Even if you can find replacements, the ramp-up is often long and arduous. There’s always a chance a new hire won’t pan out. Even if they do, it can take months (or even years) to fully train new sales team members to perform at peak efficiency. It’s why Gallup reports that the cost of replacing an employee can add up to between 50% and 200% of an employee’s annual salary. Besides the hard costs, there are also potential lost opportunity costs while that person is getting up to speed.
One sales hiring strategy focuses on retaining top-performing sales talent using the REAP retention framework. REAP stands for recognize, encourage, adopt, and provide.
A strategy for retaining top-performing sales reps requires managers to stay close to their team and understand their goals and aspirations. A side benefit of this is that sales managers will likely be more aware of when employees are unhappy in their job or thinking about leaving. When you see these signals, you can take proactive steps to prevent top sales performers from leaving or ramp up your recruitment efforts to get a head start.
Building a top-performing sales team doesn’t happen by accident. It takes a proactive approach, continuous recruiting, and creating a culture where team members can excel. With the right sales team in place and the right culture, you can create amazing results.
The Sales Connection can help you recruit top-producing sales reps that generate 2-5 times more revenue. Let us show you how to isolate the top 1.3% of sales talent in the job market and find the right candidates. Book a call today to discuss your needs and challenges and let us show you how we can help.
Ask about our $100K or 100 Day guarantee.
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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