Recruiting Top Performing Sales Pros
Recruiting sales professionals can be a daunting task for even the most seasoned recruiter. They are almost always on the move in the never ending quest to beat their numbers. Grabbing the attention of a top performer — even for a second — is hard to do. So how can you make sure you source the right talent?
Understanding what drives the sales process is critical. Sales leaders have two top priorities: making sure their team beats their numbers and finding reps who hit the ground running from day one. They don’t have time to do administrative work and want to find the best hire as quickly (and painlessly) as possible. These managers know exactly who they want to target. Schedule a short (five minute) conversation with them and you’ll be able to craft a job description that grabs a rep’s attention.
At the same time, a sales manager can tell you who to stay away from. When I recruit a salesperson, I ask for the manager and their existing team for referrals. As part of the process I ask them to put the word out to their connections online — through Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn — and offline by talking to their friends who are ready to make a move. I emphasize the benefits of our company’s referral program and get them invested in the challenge of finding the right hire.
After asking for referrals, I head over to LinkedIn. LinkedIn lets a salesperson network at scale and it’s a good place to start. You can target specific companies and industries, and cross-reference them with the hiring manager. If you find someone good, find out if they are connected to someone in your organization and start asking for feedback.
Once a candidate gets through the door, the first thing I try to assess is their credibility. I want to know who they’ve worked for and who they’ve worked with. Successful salespeople network with everybody. They know who works for the competition and what their reputation is. You can screen anyone, but when it comes down to it, a salesperson’s performance follows them wherever they go. So it’s important to keep connected to high performers over the long-term.
If you’re looking for an entry-level hire, don’t forget about Facebook. A lot of reps I’ve hired over the years didn’t have a lot of experience, but they had good connections and the essential traits I was looking for in a salesperson. Facebook has more traffic than any other social site, so it’s an excellent way to tap into a network of job seekers looking for the chance to break into the corporate world.
As hard a task as recruiting salespeople seems to be, it’s really not that different than sourcing for any other role. Start with a job description that grabs their attention. Get referrals to high performers from your existing team. Use LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to reach candidates outside your network. And remember to check their credibility. Follow these simple steps and you’ll find the perfect candidate your hiring manager is looking for – and fast!
This post was written by Will Thomson