Top performing salespeople are gainfully employed, progressing well in their career, and are targeted daily by high growth companies to join their team. Unfortunately, many hiring managers fall victim to traditional recruitment processes that undermine their ability to attract and hire those salespeople that consistently drive sales year-over-year.
As your organization prepares for hiring your next great sales team member, avoiding these three costly mistakes will mitigate hiring risk and potentially save your organization hundreds of thousands of dollars in turnover cost.
Mistake 1: Simply relying on job ads
Many companies make the mistake of believing that a well-placed recruiting ad is all they need to bring in the right candidates. Unfortunately, a job ad doesn’t attract sales talent who are gainfully employed, focused on acquiring new business and growing revenue for their company. World-class hiring organizations understand that in order to attract the best, a comprehensive candidate recruiting strategy needs to be developed that goes beyond placing job advertisements on career boards. They develop a structured strategy that addresses the elements that matter to top performers considering a career move including the company’s online brand, the application process, and the opportunity description itself.
Before placing a job ad, leading organizations work with their HR and Marketing departments to conduct an online audit of their organization’s ’employer brand’. Employer brand can be defined as the identity of a company, and ideally, to be seen as an employer of choice for top performing employees. Critical to achieving and maintaining the ’employer of choice’ designation is to ensure the company is represented well online through an updated website and career section, and having social media channels that are current and populated with engaging content about the corporate culture.
These two avenues tell candidates that your organization places a high degree of importance on attracting the best of the best. Leading employers don’t stop there, however. They closely monitor and respond to what current and former employees say about the company on sites such as LinkedIn, Glassdoor, or even Yelp.
If your website is hard to find, poorly designed, or doesn’t make your company look like a market leader (or at least a serious contender), then selling your company to a potential candidate will be an uphill battle. Work with your HR and marketing teams to address these issues before starting the sales recruiting process, and be prepared to answer candidates’ questions about any negatives.
Your organization’s job description also plays an important role in the recruiting process. World-class employers don’t simply produce a job description with an exhausting list of the role’s competencies and requirements. Instead, they put as much emphasis on the opportunity to intrigue the candidate, and present an irresistible challenge to an achievement-focused individual. It should still include the skills and experience required to excel in your sales environment, as well as the performance objectives, and a ‘sales DNA’ profile that the successful candidate must possess in order to be considered for the role.
Leading organizations also examine their application process to ensure that it caters to actively-employed candidates. While top sellers are excited by a challenge, you have to make it easy for them to apply to your open positions. Otherwise, they will pass because they are simply too busy to invest the time. Does your business use a cumbersome online application that requires candidates to copy and paste each paragraph of their resume into a clunky online system? Top performers won’t waste their time going through these yawn-inducing steps, so work with HR to find ways around those roadblock application forms.
Mistake 2: Having a cumbersome interview process
There’s a reason why rockstars don’t wait in the queues outside of nightclubs: They don’t have to. Demand far exceeds supply and it is the same in the war for sales talent. Rock-solid salespeople have earned the right not to sit through weeks’ worth of meetings with hiring committees and blue ribbon panels. While top performers appreciate organizations that are committed to an in-depth hiring process, they only tolerate a process that is efficient and respects their timeframes and schedules.
Simply put, leading employers view high achieving salespeople as being as valuable as any senior executive at their company. After all, they’ll be just as answerable to the company’s bottom line as any senior executive. Treating candidates with respect and optimizing the time they spend during the interview and assessment process are all key ingredients to mitigate hiring risk.
Mistake 3: Making the wrong offer
Since attracting and evaluating top talent takes a significant investment in time, money and resources, leading employers ensure that when an employment offer is extended to a candidate, they don’t deviate from the expectations communicated during the interview and assessment process. Top salespeople command compensation that is at and above ‘market’, and companies must embrace this reality in order to hire the best people. Do your research to determine the compensation packages that other top performers are earning, and craft an offer that’s realistic and aligned with the marketplace, your expectations, and most importantly, the candidate’s expectations. Invest time to find out what it will take to land the sales candidate you are pursuing. Offer too low, and you risk insulting the candidate and guaranteeing that you will never hear from them again.
Hiring the best salespeople requires employers to revise their approach. The balance of power in the relationship has shifted from the employer to the job seeker, and organizations that fail to embrace this change heighten their risk of making the three sales hiring mistakes described above.
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