8 years ago
April 13, 2016

3 Keys to Successful Industrial Sales Recruitment‏

Industrial sales recruitment can actually be a pleasant experience, once your firm has made the right hire.

Rhys Metler

industrial sales recruitmentIndustrial sales recruitment is not always easy. Of all sales positions, industrial sales are more likely to require that sales candidates have a high degree of technical understanding and the ability to follow a sale through a lengthened sales cycle that may include requisition and permitting times not applicable to other industries. At the same time, there is no shortage of applicants from both inside and outside the industry for these sales positions. How do you focus in on the right candidates? Following these three keys to successful industrial sales recruitment will help.

Don’t rely on the competition to train your hires.

In tight industries like industrial sales, there are only a limited number of sales people on the job market at one time. When pursuing industrial sales recruitment for specialized segments like chemical sales or HVAC, the job market is even tighter. This means that at some point, your industrial sales recruitment efforts are going to turn up a former employee from a top competitor.

While it’s fine to consider candidates from competitors, it should never be a practice to hire away from the competition. For one, the practice may reward your firm with a reputation as a headhunter; for another, it’s difficult to differentiate your business from others if a large portion of your staff came from the competition. Top sales candidates who come to an interview prepared to prove their selling credentials should always be considered for a position, but re-examine your industrial sales recruitment process if a number of new hires are coming to you directly from competitors.

Focus on the candidate, not the industry.

It’s good to point out to candidates what makes your firm’s offerings different from the competition, but it’s easy to spend too much time in an interview talking about products and services, which reduces the amount of time you have to determine whether or not a candidate is a good fit. Along with this, while it may be beneficial to hire a candidate who has industrial sales experience, successful industrial sales recruitment focuses on what a candidate can do, not what they’ve done before. If the candidate shows that he or she would be able to sell your product with a minimum of coaching, does it matter whether that person has sold a similar product in the past? In highly specialized industries, it might not even be possible to find candidates with specific experience. Instead, your industrial sales recruitment should focus on:

  • Transferable sales skills
  • Demonstrated understanding of technical documents and processes
  • Proven ability to lead prospects to sales and peers to success

Always look at the numbers.

Industrial sales recruitment professionals often find that candidates are asking for better perks for a position, such as higher base pay or more paid time off. Certain star candidates might merit consideration for more generous benefit packages, but all of your sales people should be driven more by commitment to the company and generous commissions than guaranteed benefits.

Make sure that the package offered to a strong applicant will still make money for the company even if he or she does not do as well as expected in the first ninety days of employment, that crucial period that will tell you whether or not a candidate is a fit for the long term. Commission based compensation is the standard for sales professionals in all industries, so it should not be a sticking point in pay negotiations.

Industrial sales recruitment can actually be a pleasant experience, once your firm has made the right hire. If as a hiring manager the process seems overwhelming, know that industrial sales recruitment agencies can help you reduce your time to fill by utilizing their recruiting experience to make sure that the right hire comes to you.

Rhys Metler

Rhys is a tenacious, top performing Senior Sales Recruiter with 15+ years of focused experience in the Digital Media, Mobile, Software, Technology and B2B verticals. He has a successful track record of headhunting top performing sales candidates for some of the most exciting brands in North America. He is a Certified Recruitment Specialist (CRS) and has expert experience in prospecting new business, client retention/renewals and managing top performing sales and recruitment teams. Rhys enjoys spending quality time with his wife, son, and daughters, BBQing on a hot summer day and tropical vacations.