As the sales environment continues to evolve, the process of attracting the right candidates has become more complex. While simple classified ads once sufficed to find active job seekers, today’s market is far too competitive, and the right candidates may already be comfortably employed. In addition to finding applicants with the right personality and experience to fit your team, sales managers should remember that today’s marketplace is more technical, and the skills of successful sellers have evolved with the times. In order to cast the widest net and ensure your new-hire search reaches and entices the right potential candidates, here are a few tips to help attract highly qualified salespeople to your team:
Attracting the Right Candidate
Before drafting an ad, sales managers should create a candidate profile of their ideal hire. Just as sales professionals know the value of specific buyer personas to define what their target client “looks” like, managers should be precise in identifying the role for which they are hiring. For example, when hiring a Sales Development Rep (SDR) or Business Development Rep (BDR), a candidate’s ability as a self-starter can be more important than a specific skill set, which can be taught. However, when filling an enterprise or sales engineer role, one’s level of skill and expertise are more significant considerations. Managers should be aware of the nuances of their needs. In addition, they should be familiar with the compensation their competitors offer for similar roles.
Drafting an Ad
To attract the right candidates, the ad you run is important. After all, in many ways, the ad helps create a candidate’s first impression of your company. Think about your word choice and tone. Does your organization really provide a comfortable and relaxed work environment? It’s one thing to say these things—almost everyone does—but it’s another to show it through the tone of the ad and still keep it professional. In addition, try to avoid generic words like “Salesperson.” These days, more descriptive titles like “Business Development” or “Account Manager” have greater appeal and will make it easier for job seekers to find your ad.
In both your ad and, more importantly, in the interview process, sell the value of your company to prospective candidates. Be open, transparent, and share the bigger picture of how the sales rep will fit in. This message can also be conveyed on your website. In addition to things like expectations, be sure to address the work environment. While many sales professionals are motivated by the thrill of the sale and the right compensation, today, many candidates don’t just want a job; they want to feel a part of something and sell a product or service they can believe in. Just as you seek the candidate to best fit your organization, prospective employees also seek the right environment in which they can be successful. Be sure to discuss what your company offers and how it benefits your customers, how the sales department fits into the organizational hierarchy, and the company’s long-term vision and goals are.
Also, in today’s environment, managers should be open to hiring remotely, looking outside your immediate area to attract a larger pool of candidates. Of course, this depends on the nature of the job you seek to fill. This wouldn’t be an option if the sales rep sells to customers in a physical building or retail, but for many organizations, it increases the pool exponentially.
Like all professionals, sales pros want to be well compensated. Be sure you offer a fair and attractive compensation package including pay, bonus, and commission. Today, with all the changes that have taken place in the sales environment, an old or outdated compensation package can really hurt your recruitment efforts. Make sure yours is up to date and rewards your employees for the activities and results that align with your organizational goals. Be upfront and transparent about compensation as this can be a major selling point for your organization over others who may tiptoe around the issue. Also, provide context about the sales cycle candidates can expect and discuss how this relates to compensation. In addition, the sales enablement process you provide for their role, including training and coaching, can enhance how candidates view your organization.
Other Ways to Attract Qualified Salespeople
Referrals From Your Sales Team
Another valuable resource to find and attract the best candidates is your sales team. Ask them about sales pros they have worked with previously who could be a great fit for your organization. This built-in level of trust should be an important consideration. Personal referrals can offer the best chance to gain insight into a candidate’s work ethic, motivation, and skill set, and it could introduce options into your search pool who may or may not be looking for new opportunities but might be open to the right offer.
Today, no search is complete without the use of social media. Of course, LinkedIn is a valuable recruitment and networking tool. While you can post jobs there, as well as on other platforms, it also allows you to receive referrals from mutual contacts and find a vast number of candidates in your field, along with their accomplishments. In addition, a candidate’s post history can offer insight into their own personal brand and interests. These can help reveal aspects of a potential candidate’s personality you often do not get from just a resume and can help determine if someone is worth reaching out to.
Sales organizations have come a long way from tiny classified ads and stacks of mailed or faxed resumes. Although the process is now a little more complicated, the potential pool of qualified candidates is larger than it has ever been. This is a huge benefit to those sales managers tasked with finding the best candidates for their organizations. The best managers also know that the more attractive they make their organizations, the easier it will be to land their ideal candidate, which goes a long way to reducing the high costs or turnover and attrition later on.