Sales Recruiting in 2019: Adjusting for a Tight Market
As of December 2018, 129.14 million people in the US are employed on a full-time basis.
Now let’s look at unemployment.
During the Great Recession, unemployment peaked in 2010 to 14.83 Million. Unemployment incrementally dropped over the next few years, and in 2016 fell to 7.75M, and 2017 dropped to 6.98 million.
The current US population in 2017 was 325.7 million and today sits at 328,254,391 million according to The US and World Population Clock provided by the United States Census Bureau.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics, (BLS) calculates the Civilian Labor Force at 49% of the US population, or 164M people. This gives us a 4.25% unemployment rate for the civilian workforce.
We can also calculate that 78% of the eligible civilian workforce is working on a full-time basis. The rest are working on a part-time basis or are unemployed.
So what does this mean for your sales team?
Talent acquisition challenges are here to stay. You’ve probably noticed this is your own hiring lately.
Where did all the good sales candidates go?
There are never many great salespeople, and they are infrequently available, and when they are, you have about 30 days or fewer to win them over and you won’t get a shot at them for another 3-8 years.
How can you position yourself in 2019 to win the war for top sales talent?
#1) Embrace the rising costs of talent acquisition
In most economies when it gets competitive for employees, wages rise. As of Q4 2018 and for a good part of the year, we experienced increases in base salaries for hunters.
Most our searches (senior level hunters in major metro markets) closed at or more than 125K base salary and 250K OTE.
Some companies still haven’t caught on and are still setting compensation levels based on outdated information. Compensation studies done at the beginning of the year may be out-of-date by the time you get to Q4.
Regardless of what the study says, if you’ve had more than a few offers turned down, make a case for raising your base salary compensation. Your compensation was a leading factor in the decision to go with your competitors.
If you are interested in growing your team and recruiting a top hunter, entice successful sales performers with lucrative compensation structures and generous base salaries.
#2) Think long-term and put more weight on sales-DNA
You can also relax non-essential requirements and invest more in technical training or sales training. There are industries out there that sell software where the sales reps are great, but pay is below market. They are often in niche industries.
If you can find a few of these industries and you’re willing to train, you may just hire a top sales performer without having to convince your boss to fork out another 40K-50K in base, commissions, and ramp.
#3) Sharpen up by becoming a better boss and possibly even a better human
Salespeople who feel they can learn from or collaborate with their boss will win over the hearts and minds of sales performers.
2019 might be a good year to improve your own management skills, survey your team for feedback, and focus on improving a few high-priority skills to shore up your leadership abilities.
Great bosses are rare and valuable while mediocre bosses are the norm.
Chances are the candidate you’re trying to recruit has a mediocre boss, and if you are great, your compensation is right, and you have an ecosystem built for sellers, you’ll always have an edge when it comes time to stock your team with the right people.
You can start by offering candidates interview feedback.
Recent LinkedIn research concludes, talent is 400% more likely to consider a future opportunity with your company if someone offers them constructive feedback.
The same study discovered that 94% of talent wants to receive post-interview feedback, but it’s given only 41% of the time.
In our recruiting practice, we find most candidates appreciate interview feedback. Salespeople positively use employer feedback to adapt and enhance their interviewing skills.
#4) Be the first company to make the offer and put forth your best
No matter what your compensation package, you can be the first company to make an offer.
Putting together your best offer and presenting it before other employers increases your odds of offer acceptance.
Sometimes employers assume making the best offer out of the gate means the candidate will negotiate the offer.
Salespeople, especially great ones, are strong negotiators, but they also know how to read the room and close the deal.
They will take the time to understand where you are coming from and are naturally inclined to decide, so they won’t unnecessarily drag things out.
Especially if they recognize that you’ve put forth your best offer out of the gate.
These data points and ideas are yours to implement and improve your sales recruiting in 2019. Avoid hiring pitfalls and hire the best talent you can to make 2019 your best year yet!