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The Guide to Sales Recruitment

You need sales talent, but do you know how to find them? More importantly – do you know how to find the right sales talent? Your sales recruitment strategy starts and ends with hiring not just any sales rep (experienced or entry level), but with hiring the type of sales rep you need to push your company further.

It’s okay if you don’t know how to run a sales recruitment strategy from job posting to your new hire’s ninety day review. That’s what this guide is for. Though, this guide to sales recruitment isn’t an end all solution. The best sales recruitment strategy always involves bringing in an experienced sales recruiter (also known as a sales headhunter). Bringing in a sales recruiter is especially advised if you don’t already have an independent team of internal sales recruiters.

Well let’s get to it. Here is your guide to sales recruitment. Ten steps and strategies you can use to hire not only good, or even the best sales talent, but the best sales talent for your company. 

Step 1 – Identify the Type of Sales Rep You Need

Your first step in creating a successful sales recruitment strategy is identifying exactly what type of sales representative you need.

Is the job entry level or experienced? Do you need a full lifecycle sales rep, an account executive, or just a business development rep (BDR) to book meetings for your account executives? Do you need an independent go-getter to knock on doors as an outside rep? Or are phone skills more important for an inside sales role? 

These are just a few of the questions that you need to ask yourself before you are ready to start searching for your next sales hire. By asking yourself what kind of sales rep you need, you will be better prepared to find that persona with your sales headhunter. Pinpointing the sales rep persona you need really comes in hand when you get to the interview and hiring stages. 

Step 2 – Create a Job Description

The next step to hiring the right sales rep is creating an accurate job description. Most people know where to start this process, on job boards like Monster, Indeed, LinkedIn, etc. But many companies simply post their open positions and pray that they get flooded with enough resumes. This often results in receiving a bunch of resumes that don’t match your skill set. 

So instead of starting at the job board, start by creating an accurate description of the exact sales representative you need for your company. Your job description should tell a prospective applicant what they can expect to do on a daily basis and what and how they can expect to be paid.  

One job description strategy is to tell a story about your ideal candidate performing daily tasks. From there you can include the most desired skills and qualifications. This job description is meant to paint a picture to an applicant so they know what “a day in the life” looks like as a sales rep at your company. Your sales headhunter should have ample experience writing job descriptions so ask them for guidance if you are stuck. 

Step 3 – Start Your Search

When you have an accurate sales representative persona and a polished job description complete with qualifications and salary expectations – it’s time to start recruiting. The best sales recruiters know where to look and how and when to post open positions. It’s also a smart idea to utilize your networks. 

Your best bet is to form a close partnership with your sales recruiter. Having trust in them is needed in the interview stage as your sales recruiter will be sending you vetted clients for you to meet with. 

Step 4 – Reach Out to Those Already Connected With Your Brand

Don’t just post your open position on the job boards and wait by the phone for a ring. That’s what most companies do. We suggest getting creative with your sales recruitment strategies instead. 

You want sales reps that are already accustomed to working with your company. So reach out to those already connected with your brand. Whether you are selling a product or service, go straight to the source and reach out to those who buy and use your product or services. If you are in the SaaS world – you may find a qualified salesperson who is already using your product in their current role. 

Step 5 – Application Reviewing

After your sales agency posts your open positions, it’s time to start reviewing resumes. The sales agency you are working with should help you in this process by sending you pre-qualified candidates for you to review. Pre-qualified sales candidates should come with relevant sales experience, sales territory information, and the ability to meet the requirements of your job description. 

You can also request sales reps that are pre-qualified from your sales headhunter by asking them to set up an online portal or email box where you can sift through their resumes.  

Step 6 – First Round Interviews

After you have reviewed submitted resumes, it’s time to start interviewing sales reps. If your sales agency has done their job right, then you should only be interviewing sales reps that are very qualified for the open position. They should have already been pre-interviewed by your sales agency to ensure they are a good fit in terms of personality and experience. 

A tip for conducting sales interviews is to make sure candidates come in prepared with a sales success story and sales failure story.. This way you will be able to tell whether or not they can deliver sales results and which sales strategies work best for them. 

Step 7 – Narrow Down Your Candidate List

After your first round of interviews, it’s time to narrow down the candidate list to the top five candidates that best fit your needs. The sales recruiter you’ve hired should be able to help you with this task by giving you experienced advice on indicators of success as well as any red flags you may have missed. 

Step 8 – Conduct Final Interviews

After narrowing down the candidate list, it’s time to conduct final interviews with the top five candidates. You want your final candidates to bring their A game for this final interview. So it’s best to mention to your candidates during the first interview that you will be conducting an additional interview. That way they know they are a finalist when they get a call back for a second interview.

Step 9 – Make Your Hire

Congratulations! You’ve reached the hiring stage. This is an exciting stage to be in, but it’s also a critical decision making stage. It’s not a decision you should make lightly. You should consult everyone who will be a superior to your new hire as well those that will work with them from a lateral role before you make your decision. 

When it comes to making your offer – there are two strategies. The first is to offer a little lower than you have budgeted with the expectation that there will be a round of negotiations. The second strategy is to offer what you have budgeted for the role and let your candidate know that it’s your best and max offer. This curbs negotiations and if you make the right offer, it can sometimes lead to a faster decision by your candidate.  

Step 10 – Review Your New Hire’s Performance

Once your new sales hire has been on board for 90 days, you will want to sit down with them to review their progress. This is a great time to learn about their experience with onboarding, training, and the first few weeks on their own. Their insight and their performance are good indicators of what’s working and not working in both your hiring process and your onboarding and training processes.

This step is critical because it will help you determine if your sales agency is a good fit for your sales team. If it’s not, then you can make adjustments and try a different sales recruiting strategy the next time around.

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