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“Account executive,” “new business development manager,” “account growth manager”: No matter what you call your sales representatives, they’re the lifeblood of your company.

And they’re in high demand. In fact, sales reps consistently rank in the top 10 for the most in-demand talent.

At the same time, sales reps — especially those in medical sales — aren’t particularly easy to recruit. In fact, 80 percent of the respondents to MedReps’ recent “Best Places to Work” survey said they were happy in their current roles. When sales reps are satisfied, they’re much less receptive to overtures from other organizations.

To get top sales candidates to budge, sales recruiters must be particularly strategic about their first communications. LinkedIn is an obvious choice for establishing a relationship — sales pros share their work histories, and recruiters can reach out directly without sleuthing for email addresses. But what that first message says is critical.

Your first point of contact could make or break your potential relationship with a top sales candidate. You must somehow use this message to get busy, satisfied sales reps inspired enough to respond. That’s a lot of pressure to put on one short InMail.

Below, we share some tips to help you craft a LinkedIn message that actually draws top sales talent into your funnel. Note: A lot of these practices can work regardless of the kind of talent you need!

1. Get to the Specifics Quickly

Talented sales reps know all about mass-messaging templates. Many of the best reps are successful precisely because they steer clear of this one-size-fits-all approach. They dig in, find the specifics, and establish personalized relationships with customers. They expect the same from recruiters.

Being specific is a smart tactic no matter whom you’re trying to attract. According to LinkedIn, 54 percent of all job seekers want a recruiter’s first message to convey why they are a good fit for a role.

The lesson here is clear: Craft a message that immediately notes what drew you to this specific candidate. What experiences will help them excel in your open role? What evidence suggests they align with the company’s values? These small details show a sales rep that you can already see them excelling in the role and aren’t wasting their time.

2. Don’t Make Them Work for the Details

You may think a lengthy message illustrates the thought you’ve put into reaching out, but busy sales reps don’t have time to read through hundreds of words from a random recruiter. Even if your word count is reasonable, one large block of text could send your message straight to the “delete” folder.

Instead, use a structure that makes it easy for reps to find and digest the most important information. Cut unnecessary verbiage, and share job description details in succinct bullet points. In just one quick scan, a sales rep should be able to decide whether yours is an opportunity they want to follow up on.

3. Include a Message From the Hiring Manager

No offense, recruiters, but candidates are more likely to respond if a hiring manager reaches out, according to the LinkedIn survey cited above.

Of course, this complicates things, as it’s your job to make that initial connection with candidates, not the hiring manager’s. Compromise by including in your message a link to a short video where the hiring manager introduces themselves. If the hiring manager okays it, you can also include their email address so the candidate can directly connect with their potential future boss.

4. Link to Your Website

Missing even the smallest details could cost you. Given that more than half of job seekers look at a company’s website before applying, according to LinkedIn, you want to be sure to include a link in your first message.

Candidates may open your message and become intrigued, but if they’re too busy to search for your website in the moment, researching your position may never even make it onto their to-do lists. Save candidates the time — and subtly nudge them toward your role — by sending a link the first time you reach out.

5. Leave Them Wanting More

As noted above, it is important to include basic details about the job in your first message. However, you don’t want to give everything away at once. Instead, you should leave the candidate wanting more. This makes them more likely to respond with questions of their own.

Your message must include the job description, why you feel the candidate is a good fit, and a link to the company’s website. Holding back information like the salary range and benefits package may not entice candidates, but alluding to growth opportunities, flexibility, and unique perks will give sales reps a reason to continue the conversation.

When it comes to in-demand talent like sales reps, you can’t afford to miss your first shot. Craft the right opening message, and you drastically increase your chances of landing that dream candidate.

Karyn Mullins is president of MedReps.com. Connect with Karyn on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn.

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