7 years ago
February 21, 2017

How to Recruit Top Performing Sales People

In this article, we’ll discuss a few key points to keep in mind the next time your recruit sales people.

Rhys Metler

When you’re looking to recruit sales people, you need a strategy–a plan that will net you the best candidates for your company without breaking the bank or exhausting your team leads with constant turnover. You don’t want to be stuck in an endless cycle of trial-and-error, firing and hiring. You want to recruit sales people who will walk in the door, mesh with the team, and start improving the bottom line. In this article, we’ll discuss a few key points to keep in mind the next time your recruit sales people–because if you do it right, you don’t have to do it again.

Know What You Need

Understanding what you really, truly need is key when you recruit sales people (or any other employee). Not what you suspect you need, not what you would sort of like to have, but what you need. A mix of hard data points (has acquired or can acquire the necessary skills, has acquired or can acquire the necessary credentials) and soft data points (charismatic, matches the company’s unique culture) should be included in your requirements–forgetting the personal aspect of personnel management will bite you in the long term. 

It’s worth remembering that you can’t know what you need unless you know what you have–an understanding of what your current workers do and need will serve you well here. Hiring from a position of ignorance, on the other hand, is one of the worst things you can do if your goal is to recruit sales people that will become top performers.

Consider Both Fresh Graduates and Experienced Candidates

Your instincts may guide you to exclusively consider one or the other group, but you’ll do yourself a favor if you consider the merits of fresh faces and experienced candidates. Here are a few of those merits:

New Graduates: A candidate fresh from school learns faster, because their mind is still primed for learning. They often have more insight into the latest technologies than their older peers and more flexibility in how they approach a corporate environment, meaning you can mold them to fit your company perfectly. Shape your recruitment process properly, and you can obtain world-class talent at a very reasonable price.

Experienced Sales People: Experience means less hand-holding–you’ll see these people working independently far sooner than a new graduate. Experienced candidates have settled into their methods and their expectations, meaning you’re far more likely to keep getting what you expect to get. You won’t get future-superstar talent for a lark when hiring experienced sales recruits, but you won’t live with the constant threat of your best workers being poached, either.

Trust Your Instincts

Instincts can betray you when recruiting for most positions, but when you recruit sales people they’re pretty handy. Why? Because someone who can sell ‘themselves’ to you effectively can probably sell other things. Contrast that with, say, a mechanic who can sell himself well–that has nothing to do with his actual job skills!

If you’re not ‘feeling’ a potential recruit during the interview, they’re probably not going to do much better winning over prospects in a sales environment. Trust your gut, because the customer definitely will.

Be Clever with Compensation

Getting (and keeping) the best talent when you recruit sales people means compensating them well. But a big lump of cash doesn’t have much psychological impact in the long term, according to many studies. In fact, within a week or two of receiving, say, a big cash bonus, the worker no longer connects what they buy with that cash with doing a good job at work. So compensate cleverly when you recruit sales people–use psychology to your advantage. Find out what a recruit values and offer them something relevant instead of cash. Health benefits, access to a company car, the opportunity to network with big names and build their career–get creative and offer a value they can’t refuse. 

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.