Having a strong sales team starts with having an effective sales hiring strategy. With the average salesperson turnover rate at 27%, making good hires is critical to the success of any sales organization.

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The key to hiring good sales reps is to know how to find the right candidates. Here’s how to find team members that deliver results.

1. Create an ideal candidate profile.

Being a part of a sales organization, you likely have an ideal customer in mind anytime you go for the sale. You should take the same approach when it comes to finding and hiring sales reps.

Before making a job listing and conducting interviews, have a solid understanding of what professional qualities your company could benefit from having on your team. Identify the level of experience and relevant skills needed for the role.

Assessing what strengths and competencies your current team members have can be a great place to start. What traits do your top-performing reps have? What skills and experiences are currently missing on your sales team?

For example, if your company sells home furniture directly to consumers and is planning to expand and create an office furniture line, you may want to consider hiring a candidate who has a background in selling B2B to accommodate the future offering.

Here are some additional qualities of a successful sales rep you may want to consider as you look to hire your ideal candidate:

  • Goal-oriented: An individual who is able to set and make progress working towards meaningful goals.
  • Feedback-driven: Has the ability to give and receive constructive feedback.
  • Personable: Sales is a people-centric field. Good sales reps should be able to build positive relationships with others.
  • Problem-solver: When making a sale, the main objective is to help the customer solve their problem with your product or offer. Game-changing sales reps need to be creative problem-solvers to master this approach.
  • Active-listener: The ability to actively listen to their prospects, managers, and colleagues is an essential skill for effective sales reps.

2. Write a thorough job description.

Now that you know what qualities you want your ideal candidate to have, it is time to attract that candidate to the role. This starts with writing a clear, thorough job description.

A well-written job description should sell the reader on your company and the role itself. To attract high-quality applicants, your job description needs to be appealing, easy-to-understand, and should paint a realistic picture of what having this role would look like. Here are some key elements you’ll want to include as you write the job description:

  • Job title/position: This indicates the statement of work and seniority level of the position.
  • Objective: The key objective of the role; the problem the person in this role will be tasked with solving.
  • Description: A list of general duties and tasks this candidate would be responsible for once in the role.
  • Salary: This can be listed as a range including the starting and maximum salary level for the role. Additionally, if your company offers bonuses, commission, or annual salary increases, you’ll want to include that information as well.
  • Experience: Based off of your ideal candidate profile, list the level of experience and desired skills for the role. Don’t get carried away — remain realistic and aim to attract candidates who have relevant experience and can be coached to fill in any gaps.
  • Logistics: Share the work location and general schedule. Also if there is travel required for the role, you’ll want to share how much the candidate can expect.

3. Develop meaningful interview questions.

Before you open the role up to excited candidates, start preparing for the interview process. With your ideal team member’s skills and traits in mind, approach the interview process looking to gauge how each candidate’s experiences equate to what is needed for the role.

Aim to ask questions that will prompt the candidate to tell you about the experiences they have had in their career, and how they would react in situations pertaining to the job.

For example, if your organization relies heavily on social selling, you could prepare questions such as "Tell me about a time you used social media to facilitate the sales process." Take your time developing thoughtful interview questions that can help you find the right sales rep to add to your team.

4. Include your current sales team.

Get your current sales team involved in the hiring process. Whether you have your current sales reps ask questions during the interview process, or provide feedback on candidate performance, getting your team involved can take the pressure off of hiring managers to be the sole decision-maker. Because your team members are in a similar role as the incoming candidate, they can provide valuable insights on whether or not the candidate would be a good fit for the team.

5. Share the job posting through reputable channels.

You know what qualities your ideal candidate has to fulfill the role, you’ve created a stellar job description outlining what you’re looking for, and you have an interview strategy set. Now you need to get the word out about the open role to attract prospective sales reps. Getting the job description shared through platforms where quality candidates are looking can help you get a solid pool of applicants to choose from.

Now that you know what steps to take to find the right candidates, let’s discuss where you can find the right sales reps for your team.

1. Your network.

Consider reaching out to your social and professional network. Have you worked with any sales reps in a prior role who could be a good fit for your current team? Or do you know a solid professional who may not have direct experience but has the necessary competencies and is coachable? Have you had a great experience with a salesperson from another company who convinced you to make a purchase? If you answered yes to any of these questions, consider contacting these individuals to gauge their interest in joining your sales team.

Additionally, you can go to organizations you have a connection to such as your alma mater’s alumni association, social clubs you have been a part of or community groups you have participated in. These groups may be able to share your job listing with a qualified pool of candidates.

Lastly, even if you don’t have someone in your direct network who is a good fit for the role, you can ask those in your network if they have any recommendations or referrals. If you go this route, try to get referrals from others within the sales field who are able to distinguish a good seller.

2. Recruiters and staffing agencies.

Consider working with a recruiter or staffing agency to help you screen and vet potential sales reps. Doing so can help you narrow down from a wide pool of applicants, saving you time by having you interview the top candidates.

3. Networking events.

Local networking events can be a fantastic resource for finding sales talent. Try searching for events relevant to your niche in your area. Whether it is a day-long conference led by a company that makes software used by your organization, or a local lunch-and-learn with a guest speaker, attendees at professional networking events are typically looking to make connections that can be beneficial to their careers.

4. LinkedIn.

This online network makes finding and connecting with qualified professionals a breeze. The site offers search features that help you identify talented sellers in your industry. You can also share job listings on LinkedIn that candidates can apply to directly without leaving the platform.

As you’re looking to hire your next stellar sales rep, you can also update your LinkedIn profile headline to indicate you’re hiring, which can prompt engagement from interested job seekers. Sharing information about the open position in relevant LinkedIn groups can also be a worthwhile option.

One word of caution: because LinkedIn makes it very easy to apply for jobs listed on the site, you may receive an influx of applications from candidates quickly applying for roles. You may want to consider adding additional requirements such as a cover letter to help you identify more serious applicants.

5. Social media shares.

In addition to LinkedIn, other social media sites can be beneficial for finding qualified sellers. You can try sharing the job listing on your social media profiles to engage with your personal network, groups you’re a part of, or share from your company’s profiles to reach a wider audience (just make sure this is cleared with your HR and marketing teams).

6. Traditional job boards.

Well-known websites such as Indeed, Glassdoor, Simply Hired, and Monster can get your listing in front of a large pool of applicants. While these job sites are often full of listings from similar positions, they can provide helpful insights on what roles your competitors are hiring for, as well as the salary and statement of work provided by other roles. This information can help you gauge how competitive your listing is in the current market, and empowering you to adjust as needed to attract top talent.

7. Niche job boards.

Consider adding your listing to niche job boards specifically for facilitating sales hires. Here are some sales job boards to check out:

  • Rainmakers: This platform is designed to match employers with high-performing salespeople. Applicants create profiles that highlight their relevant skills and sales effectiveness.
  • SalesJobs: SalesJobs is a popular job board for sales roles with flexible packages available for employers and recruiters.
  • Sales Heads: Sales Heads is a sales-focused job board powered by Nexxt. This platform is especially popular for employers posting entry-level sales roles.

By hiring a determined, coachable sales rep to your team, you’re giving your company a competitive advantage. Check out these interview questions to ask sales rep candidates to prepare for the interview process.

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Originally published Dec 26, 2019 8:30:00 AM, updated December 26 2019

Topics:

Sales Hiring