4 weeks ago
June 18, 2024

Beyond The Numbers: 6 Ways To Identify Top Sales Talent Inside And Outside

As someone who has spent time inside top-performing organizations and on the outside recruiting for them, I’ve seen firsthand the difference that identifying top sales talent can make. It can…

Brandon Biafore Sales Recruiter
Brandon Biafore

As someone who has spent time inside top-performing organizations and on the outside recruiting for them, I’ve seen firsthand the difference that identifying top sales talent can make. It can help you improve your skills and knowledge inside your organization, and get an edge over competing organizations. There are two primary places to look for top sales talent – internally and externally. (Many companies overlook the talent they already have in pursuit of talent outside the company.) 

In this blog, I’ve used my experience and that of our other sales recruiters to look beyond the numbers. I’ll lay out 6 ways to find top sales talent inside and outside your organization. But first, you must define what top sales talent looks like.  But before we look at those…

…Start By Figuring Out What Top Sales Talent Means To You

Before you can find top sales talent, you need to define what it is. You can accomplish this in three steps. Here is what I do to create a guideline:

  1. Define the metrics to track: Determine the most important metrics to your company. There are many things you could choose that are beyond closing. Consier things like sales volume, deal size, and prospects in the sale funnel, to name a few. Benchmark the KPIs that are important to you.
  2. Define characteristics you want in top performers: Create a list of the personality traits, behaviours, attitudes, motivations, and experiences you want reps to have. 
  3. Create a top performer profile: Develop a profile of an ideal sales talent. Use this profile to compare candidates. 

How To Identify Top Sales Talent Inside and Outside The Organization

There are a lot of ways you can assess sales talent. The types of things you are looking for are generally the same for internal and external candidates. I’ve created the following checklist of 6 things to consider to identify the best sales talent:

1. Sales Performance Metrics

Only 58% of sales hires meet quota

Analyze historical sales data for internal candidates to identify employees consistently exceeding targets and quotas. Track the revenue each salesperson generates and look for those who contribute significantly to the company’s bottom line. Identify employees with high customer retention rates, indicating strong relationship-building skills. Consider the size and volume of deals closed by each salesperson. For external candidates, collect as much data as possible about how candidates have performed for other organizations. 

2. Examine Candidate Behaviours

Look for individuals who set ambitious goals and demonstrate a strong drive to achieve them. Identify those who can remain positive and productive in the face of challenges and change. Look for self-starters and exhibit a proactive approach to their work. Lastly, search for people quick to learn and adapt to new sales techniques, products, and market conditions.

3. Seriously Consider Soft Skills and Attributes

Evaluate people’s ability to communicate effectively with clients and team members. Identify those who can build strong, trusting relationships with clients and individuals who can quickly identify client needs and provide effective solutions.

4. Leverage Peer and Manager Feedback

With internal candidates, there are many great ways to learn about them. Use feedback from peers, managers, and subordinates to get a comprehensive view of an employee’s performance and potential. Collect and review feedback from clients about their interactions with the salesperson. Identify individuals who contribute positively to team dynamics and are seen as leaders by their peers.

For external sales candidates, get the most out of reference checks and research candidates thoroughly to see what you can learn about them. 

5. Review What Candidates Do For Professional Development 

Take notice of those who actively participate in training programs and seek out learning opportunities. Track employees who pursue relevant certifications and further education. Review the extra steps external candidates take to better themselves. Pay attention to people who express interest in advancing their sales career beyond the current job they are seeking. 

6. Look For Leadership Potential

Identify those who take on mentoring or coaching roles. Look for people who bring new ideas and initiatives to improve sales processes and strategies. Look for candidates who think strategicallythose who demonstrate an understanding of broader business strategies and how their sales activities contribute to larger organizational goals.

A Final Word On Identifying Top Sales Talent

By combining these strategies, you can create a comprehensive profile of top sales talent within your organization and make informed decisions about promotions, additional training, and succession planning.

More Sales Recruiting Insights From Our Team

6 Things Top-Performing Salespeople Always Do

Hiring Salespeople Is Hard! Our Sales Recruiters Share The 8 Best Interview Questions

The #1 Quality Sales Managers Look For When Hiring Salespeople

Brandon Biafore Sales Recruiter

Brandon Biafore

With a background successfully leading sales teams (overseeing training & development, driving sales & revenue, and ensuring delivery of exceptional customer service while executing cost control), Brandon is a sales recruiter with a solid understanding of what it takes to succeed in sales leadership role, as well as the challenges faced by hiring managers in finding top sales talent.