8 Ways to Improve and Optimize Your Sales Recruiting Efforts

Improve Your Sales Recruiting Efforts with These 8 Tips

Are you still recruiting salespeople like it’s 2009?

One might argue that 2018 is the hottest job market since the year 2000.

Consider the following:

  • In 1999 the Labor Department reported the real median household income at $58,665.

  • As of July 2018 the Labor Department reported the real median household income at $62,175.

Family income has risen by 5% in the first half of 2018 and by 17% since 2012.

Wages are rising and unemployment is currently reported at 3.9%.

But wait, it gets worse! 

Those with colleges degrees have an unemployment rate of 2.5%.

So you’re having trouble recruiting top hunters, account managers, or pre-sales professionals? You're in good company!

Use the following eight recruiting tips to improve your sales recruiting efforts.  

Number 1– Time Kills All Deals

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In 2007 you could recruit and fill a position in three to four weeks.

That’s about 21-30 days give or take.

Near the end of 2008 and the first 9 months of 2009, due to the Great Recession, the job market came to a screeching halt.

Unemployment rates were astronomical.

This meant that those employers still left standing could take their time to hire. Employers  had plenty of choices and strong sales candidates to choose from.

Yet employers who haven’t adapted to today’s job market are still taking three to six months to make one sales hire.

Increase your sales recruiting efforts by streamlining your recruiting process. Put together an interview plan.

Make sure it only takes two to three weeks to get sales candidates through the process.

Pretend it’s 2007 if it helps!

If you can hire faster than your competitors, you'll face less competition for top sales talent. 

Speed always counts.

Number 2 – Don’t Expect One Salesperson to Do the Job of an Entire Department

salespeople as a department

If you’re going to run a successful sales team, don’t expect one salesperson to do the job of three people.

One salesperson can't be spliced in multiple directions.

Don't expect your salesperson to do the job of marketing, sales development, pre-sales, post-sales, client support, implementation, and new business development.

Selling takes extreme amounts of focus.

Winning new clients is not an easy undertaking in any market.  Making successful sales hires means giving new hires the resources needed for success.  

Departments supporting sales will need additional hires as sales headcount grows. Account for additional marketing, pre-sales, sales development, and client success headcount.

Top sales professionals go where they feel they can win.

If you're looking to hire a hunter, the more you can keep them focused on hunting, the better they will perform.

The less distractions hunters face, the more time they'll  focus on generating business.

Number 3 – Stop Counting on Loyalty

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Onboarding has never been more important in an employee driven market.

When you recruit a new sales hire make sure they stick. You can’t depend on them to onboard themselves. Get your new hires off to a good start.

Don’t expect a new employee to be loyal to you in a hot job market.

Having recently finished a job search, other employers are still pursuing them. Don't let doubt creep in.

Reduce disorganization and chaos. Otherwise, they'll wonder if they made the right decision to join your firm.

Number 4 – Take the Time Fix Your Glassdoor Reviews and Resolve Underlying Issues

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The first thing salespeople do is check out your Glassdoor reviews. Filtering reviews to learn about the sales team is common practice.

So if you are experiencing problems in your sales force, that information will find its way to Glassdoor.

Top concerns salespeople voice on Glassdoor include:

  • High turnover

  • Low compensation

  • Changing quota targets

  • Too many bosses

  • Executive level turnover

  • Poor client service

  • Implementation issues

  • Third-rate solutions

Now changing any of these variables takes a considerable amount of time and energy. It won’t happen overnight.

Bribing your current employees to say your company is perfect on Glassdoor won’t work either.

The real solution lies in fixing the underlying issues.

In the short term, you can start responding to negative reviews.

Instead of disagreeing with the reviewer, discuss steps you’re taking to resolve the issue.

Ignoring issues won’t make them go away, and the certainly won’t help you recruit top sales talent.

Number 5 — Offer More Than a Lateral Move

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Sales employees and prospective sales recruits are primarily concerned about:

  • Compensation

  • Strong benefits

  • Management

  • Support

  • Strong Solutions

But the number one thing top sales people want is a growing company. Growing companies provide career growth opportunities. Recruiting candidates from your competitor by offering "more of the same" isn't compelling.

You'll be sure to attract the salespeople who are about to get fired. Offering the same job and compensation will not be enticing enough to get a top performer.

Offering them some sort of bump-up or something extra will be more appealing. 

Strengthen your recruiting efforts by offering top sales performerS

  • Aggressive compensation packages with kickers for over-achievement

  • Flexible work schedules or the ability to work remote

  • More responsibility

  • Mentor programs where they can be mentored as well as mentor others

  • Career growth

  • Learning opportunities

Number 6 – Be a Creator of Sales Career Value

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When recruiting top sales professionals know your strengths.

Find one or two areas where you can beat out the competition:

Example #1—Promote World Class Sales Training

Offer your sales reps in-depth quarterly sales training.

Emphasize how training increases rep production, employee retention, and quota obtainment.

Highlight the strategy behind the training that contributes to increasing sales rep performance.

Example #2—Strong Technical Teams

You may also tout your technical experts.

Absolutely Everyone loves working with the “A” team. Deals are easier to close and clients are easier to satisfy. Talk up your application engineers, development engineers, marketing, and support teams.

This will increase your odds of attracting strong sales candidate.

Number 7 – Spend Some Quality Time with Potential New Hires

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Build a connection with the potential new hire during the interview process. Invest the time to get the relationship off to a strong start.

You'll also get to know them better before you make an offer. One of the major reasons candidates leave the job is because of their boss.

Don't make the same mistakes.

Spend more time on the front end fostering a relationship. Get to know the candidate beyond what’s on their resume.

Find out more about them as a person.

  • Discuss their career goals.

  • Learn more about what they want to do in the future.

  • Discover their professional and personal goals.

Then get busy figuring out how you can help them.

Number 8 – There’s Always More Than One Right Way to Do Something

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There is no one magic hiring profile.

If you don’t believe me, pull the top salespeople’s resumes at your company. They have different backgrounds and even very different selling styles.

Every company that has achieved success has forged their own way. Because following someone else’s blueprint never works.

Your next best hire, may not have all the boxes of your job requirements checked. Maybe you could get this in 2009, but today, you’ll need to adapt.

Great sales reps have many of the following eight traits: 

  1. Perseverance

  2. Ability to face challenges head on

  3. Curiosity

  4. Fearlessness

  5. Resilience

  6. Problem-solving

  7. Work ethic

  8. Opportunistic nature

Adapt your expectations. Top sales reps come in many different packages. Make the changes necessary to hire the type of talent you want on your sales team.

Avoid the mentality of waiting to fill the position with the perfect resume. Hoping that your perfect hire is the result. 

Put Your Best Foot Forward and Continue to Adapt

The best way to attract top sales talent is to become an attractive leader.  

The second best way is by building an attractive high-growth company.

Find or create compelling reasons for a new recruit to join your sales team. You don’t have to create the best software. Your technical support team doesn’t need to come out of MIT.

Every company has problems.

But your best sales hires will need to believe in your solutions, the company, and their leadership team. 

If you haven't already, it's time to adapt to new market conditions. Commit to making incremental changes over time that will help your organization thrive.