Trying to hire top sales talent in the current competitive market can feel downright impossible, especially if you follow a “business as usual approach” to the hiring process. With the majority of top sales professionals gainfully employed and well compensated, few are actively looking for new opportunities. As a result, hiring managers find that individuals applying for online job boards and LinkedIn postings are not always the most qualified or experienced. Sifting through a large candidate pool to find the “A players” and top producers is a time consuming, resource-intensive process that doesn’t always yield desired results.

With limited available talent, hiring managers need to keep a steady roster of potential candidates at the ready. Unfortunately, some hiring managers wait until a vacancy occurs to start recruiting, exacerbating their talent search challenges. It can take six months or longer to replace a salaried employee, costing a company as much as $200,000 in hiring and onboarding resources, according to Forbes. This figure doesn’t take into account losses sustained when an active sales pipeline is minimally prospected or not at all.

Don’t let this happen to your company. Here are five things hiring managers can do right now to position themselves for success and hire top sales talent:

  1. Anticipate future needs. Hiring managers must proactively anticipate who may be earning a promotion, who may be retiring and who may be falling short in performance. Take a close look at top performers who may be vulnerable to competitor offers. If your company lost a top performer to another company, is there someone in the wings who is ready to step up and keep your sales pipeline moving?
    In addition to considering individual performers, hiring managers should also consider team performance holistically. Is there a missing skill set or experience type that’s needed to fill a gap and enhance performance? Could the team benefit from a stronger prospector or a proven closer?
  2. Target the right talent. Don’t waste time and resources chasing after the wrong talent. Not all sales skills are transferable. Someone who is a rainmaker in one industry might struggle with your company’s industry niche. Similarly, someone who’s an expert at developing new business leads may struggle to grow an existing base. Before posting a job opening, assess what’s needed and refine your search criteria accordingly.
  3. Build rapport with a custom pitch. Top sales talent can spot “spray and pray” pitches from a mile away and has little time for generic LinkedIn messages. This talent expects to be wooed. They expect a relationship building approach that’s customized to their skills and needs.
    As a hiring manager, your mission is to make this talent feel special. Point out why their unique attributes will position them for success at your company. Focus on how your organization can help further their career goals. Finally, remember that sales professionals are motivated by the bottom line. They care about On Target Earnings (OTE) potential. Get specific: what is the average deal size and quote? Don’t try to pad earnings potential. Be clear about what’s attainable and realistic.
  4. Go straight to the top producers. If you’re failing to bring top-tier candidates in for interviews, it’s time to partner with the experts who can reach this premier talent. Specialized sales recruiters have large passive networks and know what it takes to get their talent excited about a position at your company. They’re experts at pitching the right opportunity to the right talent, acting as your “ambassador” to an audience that might otherwise be unfamiliar with your business or not looking to make a job switch. Without a recruiter, this talent may be uninterested in your company and reluctant to interview for open positions.
    Most importantly, executive recruiters have a big picture view of the job market. Their invaluable market intelligence on everything from compensation packages to competitor hiring needs can help your hiring manager craft an attractive offer top talent will be eager to accept.
  5. Accelerate the hiring cycle. For the most urgent hires, recruiters can ensure talent is onboard in as quickly as four weeks, allotting two weeks for candidate interviews and a subsequent two weeks for giving notice. On boarding talent faster minimizes coverage gaps in open territories and prevents a departure from becoming a semi-permanent vacancy that hurts annual sales results. Many firms find that these savings alone are more than worth the investment in an expert recruiter.
    Even if your business does not need an immediate hire, an executive recruiter can still help internal hiring managers by significantly shortening the talent recruitment cycle. Executive recruiters are highly motivated to fill open positions with the right candidates. They keep top candidates moving through the hiring process, freeing internal resources for other pressing HR initiatives.

Hiring managers must keep their sales candidate pipeline filled with qualified prospective hires. Struggling to prospect top talent or close the job offer? Leave us a comment below and one of our recruiters will reach out to you.


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