7 Key Tips for Hiring the Best Sales Candidates
Hiring managers know that finding great salespeople is a huge challenge. Top sales candidates are certainly out there — but tracking them down is far easier said than done.
Still, it’s quite possible to staff your sales team with the best of the best. Just follow these seven tips:
1. Write an Attractive Job Ad
One of the main ways to attract talented sales candidates is to craft an attractive job ad. Sales candidates are looking for roles that are highly rewarding. They want lucrative opportunities to do meaningful work, with a measure of autonomy in how they do their jobs. Your job ad is your first chance to communicate to candidates that your role will meet all these needs — and more.
Your job ad should give candidates the information they want, so be sure to detail all the responsibilities the salesperson will shoulder while emphasizing the degree of autonomy they will have in the role. What you call your role matters as well. According to our in-house research at Inspiring Interns & Graduates, “business development” and “account manager” titles are more attractive to graduates than simple “sales” titles.
2. Emphasize Rewards and Skills
Earning potential is a key motivators for sales talent, so be sure to articulate your commission structure and any additional perks associated with the role. To attract more internally motivated candidates, stress how important sales is to the company’s overall success. Show candidates how they can make a measurable difference in the organization every day.
Sales is also a great field for developing key components of business acumen like negotiation skills, an understanding of contracts, and proper business meeting conduct. These skills are transferable to virtually any other business role, so play up how your sales job can help professionals advance their careers in any direction they desire.
3. Use Niche Job Boards
You should certainly share your job ads on major job boards to reach a wide audience of candidates, but you should also look into niche job boards dedicated to sales jobs. Sites like Simply Sales Jobs only host ads for sales roles, which helps you reach a much more highly targeted audience.
4. Leverage Word of Mouth Marketing
Job boards shouldn’t be the only means by which you find candidates. Some of the best hires happen by way of word-of-mouth referrals.
Proactively get your existing employees involved in your recruiting efforts. Ask if they know of anyone with a sales background, and encourage them to refer their connections to HR when applicable.
You should also think about your own professional network, as you yourself may personally know a great candidate already! Keep in mind that some of the best salespeople lack sales-specific experience. Sales is an interesting industry in that way: Experience is important, but so are personality and attributes.
5. Build Candidate Profiles
In order to hire the best salespeople, you need to understand what characteristics those salespeople possess. This is why it’s vital to build ideal candidate profiles to guide your recruiting efforts.
Identify the interests, desires, goals, values, and personality traits of successful sales people who already work for your organization. This will help you determine which candidates are likely to succeed in your company. Then, pinpoint the places — both on- and offline — where these types of people congregate. Target your sourcing efforts there.
6. Offer Training
Successful sales teams need support; no sales professional can succeed in a sink-or-swim environment. This is especially true for entry-level salespeople, who want to work for organizations that will invest in them.
Make clear to candidates how your organization trains and supports its salespeople. Your training program should ideally cover the role, the organization’s overall business objectives and processes, and new skill acquisition. Salespeople need to know the business like the back of their own hand so they can answer any queries potential customers may ask. Be sure to offer this sort of comprehensive professional development to your existing employees, and tout it as part of your employer branding.
7. Get Out of the Office
The ideal salesperson is highly motivated and hungry for success. Therefore, they are likely to attend conferences, networking events, and other functions where they can meet new people and build new relationships. Why not head to these events yourself to look for your next sales hire?
Check out sites like Eventbrite and Meetup to find upcoming events in your area. Don’t confine yourself to sales-oriented events. Look at functions in a variety of professional fields, as salespeople who work in these fields are likely to show up there as well.
A thoughtful approach to hiring should never be sacrificed in the favor of quickly filling a role. Prioritizing speed over quality will only hurt your business in the long run. If you dedicate the time, effort, and resources necessary to effectively hiring the right sales talent, you will find the candidates you need for continued organizational success.
Sam Woolfe writes for Inspiring Interns & Graduates.