Knowing the kind of candidate you want to hire is one thing – but being able to find and attract top salespeople is often another thing altogether.
So that makes sourcing a critical part of the recruitment process, and one where you have to get your pipeline in order to make sure the best person pops out at the end of the funnel.
The job ad
For most organisations, the first step to sourcing new sales talent is to place a job ad – and this is also where the first mistake of the process usually takes place. If you look at 9 out of 10 sales job adverts, they will all be pretty much along the same generic lines, all using words such as: motivated, energetic, self-starter… but what does that really say about the specifics of your role? Surely it isn’t exactly the same as 50 other sales jobs out there. So this is where you need to be very implicit about the exact experience you require candidates to have, otherwise you will be flooded with CVs from people who just aren’t right. But don’t just copy and paste the job description – this is way too heavy for an advert.
Make sure that the ad is mobile friendly – which includes bold headings, bullet points, and using job titles with keywords that are simple, but reflect what people are looking for. And here’s a final, but important note – if you notice you aren’t getting the right applicants applying for your job, you need to head back to the advert and change it. As sales expert Dave Kurlan notes in this article here – tweak it, refine it, and continue to improve it until you start getting the results you want.
Sell your business
We don’t mean put your business on the market – we mean make sure you mention the great opportunity available at your organisation. Any successful salesperson is likely to have multiple companies keen to hire them, so you need to stand out from the pack.
It’s one thing to say ‘we need this, this and this’, you also need to explain what’s in it for someone who joins your sales team and why they should choose you over all the other opportunities. This is critical in a marketplace that is favourable to job seekers.
Don’t be afraid to headhunt
You might be wondering where all the A-Players are hiding – well typically, they are employed and doing so well that they are (or should be) being very well looked after by their employer. So this is where you need to get brave enough to headhunt – and of course LinkedIn is one of the best ways to approach this process.
You can view hundreds of profiles of those people who have exactly the experience you are looking for (think competitors or similar operators in your marketplace), and then approach them with a soft message about a job they might be interested in at your organisation. Yes – this is happening on a very regular basis now, as many businesses are realising that to get the people they want, it takes more than just an advert posted on a job board.
Be constantly looking – not just when you need someone
In most businesses today, resourcing is a very streamlined affair. So typically when a job is advertised, the company needed the person yesterday – causing a mad-rush to hire someone quickly to fill the gap. But of course this isn’t conducive to allowing you time to find the best person for the job, not the just first okay one to come along that can start tomorrow.
But recruitment is an ongoing process, not just a one-off event, and you need to start treating it as a nurturing process that may take some time (years even) to get the people you want. As mentioned previously, only 26 per cent of salespeople have what it takes to succeed, and when someone from that elite group comes to market, it will only be for a brief amount of time – so this is when you need to capture them.
Be constantly looking for the A-Players, so that you, and your business, will never have to settle for average.