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How to Develop the Best Sales Recruitment Strategy When Hiring Salespeople

A sales recruitment strategy aids you in making decisions regarding recruitment that are ideal for your company, from deciding whether it’s the correct moment to add salespeople to selecting exciting individuals.

Additionally, your hiring approach will affect the entire company: A solid sales hiring plan will lower turnover, save you money, and help you build a top-notch sales staff that generates revenue.

In this RisePath article, we’ll examine in greater detail how sales recruitment has changed recently, discuss why developing a plan for selecting the finest salespeople and sales managers is crucial and lay out the nine elements for creating a polished sales hiring strategy.

Sales Recruitment Strategy

Our hiring practices for sales have changed.

Businesses have never hired as many employees or spent as much money on the hiring process as they do today. However, we’re doing a terrible job of attracting and keeping the best candidates.

The average turnover rate for sales professionals is actually historically low, at just 16%, according to a 2018 study. The research also revealed that it takes sales representatives a full year to reach their peak output.

What exactly is wrong, then? According to a sales expert, businesses used to place greater emphasis on internal growth initiatives and hiring promotions to fill openings. They are now concentrating on finding people outside the company.

Theoretically, this approach should save time and money since the qualified individual needs less on-the-job training and is prepared to contribute right away. In actuality, it has been challenging to locate these outside workers. This is due to the difficulty of obtaining skilled employees with relevant experience as technology becomes more complicated. Additionally, because they frequently demand higher pay, these sales representatives run the risk of being lured away by a rival who makes a better offer.

Additionally, whenever a company does locate the ideal individual, it is quite challenging to retain them. Why is that so? Ironically, 45% of salespeople say they left their employment because there wasn’t enough room for promotion within the business.

Sales teams reduce internal promotions as a result, and it is challenging to keep new workers on board since they believe there is limited possibility for advancement within the organisation.

But that’s simply one of the factors contributing to the difficulty in keeping sales staff.

How have purchasing procedures evolved?

With the development of the Internet, your prospects now have access to product information. Since then, sales representatives have had to concentrate on demonstrating why and how their good or service is a better alternative to the competition; this has required them to evaluate data and use more forethought than in the past.

Because of this, today’s sales leaders are being compelled to use tactics and procedures that draw representatives who understand the modern buying process.

However, modern hiring techniques continue to value several crucial facets of a sales representative’s job, like lead generation, prospect qualification, and adjusting to various buyer motives. On the other hand, candidates are now required to possess these abilities.

The sales talents that were considered strengths two decades ago are now considered to be minimum needs. 

Keeping the best talent

According to estimates, the average annual turnover rate for salespeople in the United States is 27%, which is double the national average for all workers. According to one study, it can cost a business up to $240k to find, hire, and onboard a new rep.

Sales managers must step up their internal engagement efforts because the buying process of today requires adaptive competencies. Some sales representatives quit their employment because they feel trapped on a wheel, while others do so because there aren’t enough prospects for advancement.

Focusing on your own professional development and serving as a coach to your team are essential responsibilities for sales managers. Your main focus should be on developing obstacles and chances for your reps to learn more and advance daily.

Starting from the outset with a potent recruitment and onboarding plan is the greatest approach to accomplishing success.

Why is a sales hiring strategy important?

You run the danger of making a poor hire and being caught in a costly cycle of constant turnover if you don’t have a plan for choosing the proper salespeople.

A solid sales plan can aid in the retention of new sales personnel, which will have a substantial impact on the financial results of your business.

A lot of organisations cannot afford to make hiring errors. It takes time to fill open sales jobs, and even when you do, the new salesperson still needs to get up to speed and forge relationships with customers. Your sales goals are being hurt while this is happening.

Nine stages to creating the ideal sales hiring plan

Step 1: Knowing when to employ

Team leaders must hire sales representatives at the appropriate time as it is the cornerstone of any effective sales hiring plan.

It’s imperative that you stay current with the newest trends and patterns in the sales industry at large as well as inside your own business before starting the hiring process. You can decide whether or not it’s a good time to hire new reps by staying aware of these indicators and making a precise demand estimate.

Step 2: Create a hiring profile for your business

You’ll need to create a hiring profile if it’s obvious that your sales staff has to be expanded.

A hiring profile describes the kind of representatives you want on your team, including the ideal abilities and background information. Instead of creating a general picture of the candidate, it’s crucial that the profile be tailored to the experience that your firm considers relevant. Selling an Enterprise SaaS solution is, after all, a whole different game than selling insurance.

Step 3: Create queries and strategies

The next stage in ensuring that your hires are a good fit for your organisation is to develop an interviewing approach that evaluates each candidate’s distinctive qualities.

According to a study on talent acquisition, 69% of businesses cited poor interviewing practices as the reason they were unable to employ qualified salespeople. Additionally, it was discovered that organisations without a structured interviewing procedure are five times more likely to choose poorly when employing employees than those that do.

A potential member of your sales team should obviously possess certain qualities, such as the capacity for effective communication and excitement for sales. However, it’s crucial that the candidate comprehends customer behaviour and relationship-building with prospects.

Step 4: Create a strong job description

Trying to include every aspect of the job position in a job description is a common error made by businesses. It is far preferable to write a job description that is straightforward and succinct rather than dumping a tonne of information on the applicant.

Clearly describe the position and its responsibilities, covering:

  • Important duties and obligations
  • What you offer as a product or service
  • Earning potential of the new employee
  • The candidate’s expected level of teamwork and how those factors combine with your company’s culture and vision

When selecting sales representatives, be specific about their goals, daily and monthly tasks, and desired abilities and qualifications.

Step 5: Be aware of the characteristics you want in a salesperson

What additional attributes should you look for in a sales recruit besides sales expertise when choosing the ideal candidate?

This stage should not be confused with earlier steps of the plan that concentrate on the hiring profile of the organisation. Focusing on the attributes candidates have that aren’t listed on their resumes will help you identify the qualities you’re looking for in candidates.

Can the applicant be coached? Do they possess independent creativity? No matter how brilliant a sales representative appears on paper, they must be willing to undergo training and handle challenging situations on their own. If not, it can lead to issues later on.

Step 6: Create a pipeline that works for your candidates

When hiring salespeople, you must appeal to them and pique their interest in the position during the hiring process.

You’ll need to post job openings on the websites where they hang out as part of this. 

Finally, sales leaders should use their networks to connect with other businesses and request references. An effective strategy for attracting candidates is to quickly email your connections and ask them if they know of anyone who would be suited for the position.

Step 7: Test your candidates and try them out before you buy

It’s crucial to assess a candidate’s qualifications before making an offer.

Nothing reveals a candidate’s true abilities more than a real-world test, regardless of how impressive they may seem on paper or in an interview. If you work for a tech company, for instance, you might question a representative about their favourite tech item and why.

As people respond, pay attention to how they characterise the item, why they think it’s amazing, and how they explain how using it has improved their lives. If you want to learn more about, or maybe purchase, the product they discussed by the time they’re finished, they’ve succeeded. You can use this to judge their wit and gauge their capacity for evoking strong feelings in an audience.

Step 8: Compare and contrast strong candidates 

Selecting between two strong applicants is one of the most difficult challenges. A coaching test is the last test you may administer to distinguish between the best and the good.

Possessing the capacity to accept constructive criticism and learn from it is one of the most crucial traits of a successful sales representative. A sales representative may appear to have great potential, be quick on their feet, and be able to pitch your product to just about anyone, but if one slip-up makes their entire performance unreliable, that raises serious questions.

You need team members that can handle criticism, follow instructions well, and strive for improvement even if they are currently at the top of their game.

Step 9: Make an offer to the top applicant and concentrate on hiring them

When an applicant checks off all the requirements, it’s time to extend an employment offer.

Keep in mind that hiring is a two-way process. Although you want the sales representative to join your team, you still need to persuade them that your business is the greatest location for them to work. You must use the job offer to emphasise why the employment is a suitable fit for them and to concisely describe their remuneration and benefits.

The most crucial thing is to ensure that your offer reaches their inbox promptly. 

By providing them with a competitive salary plan, you can prevent good hires from eluding you. Employees who feel appreciated are more likely to put in more effort and stick around longer, which helps your company save time and money by reducing staff turnover.

Last thoughts

The performance of your business as a whole can be greatly impacted by hiring the correct sales representatives, from retention to revenue growth.

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    Christine Lee

    Christine is a former HR manager from Fortune 500 tech companies and has managed hiring, compensation and benefits, and payroll responsibilities for multiple companies.

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