The Tao of Hiring Top Sales People

The economy is booming, the stock market soaring, and unemployment has plummeted.

There are not many of us who are frowning as a result of these prosperous times. But while this success has led to prosperity and opportunity, it also came with its own unique challenges. With unemployment resting at record lows, hiring has become one of the most difficult tasks for companies that are looking to continue to grow. More specifically, hiring top sales professionals has become extremely painful. Consider the following in order to fill open sales roles.

Being busy is not an excuse for failing to fill open roles with top talent.

The companies that are failing to fill their open sales roles are doing the following (note: this list is not exclusive as there are near infinite ways to screw up a hiring process!):

  1. Failing to lay out a detailed commission or bonus program BEFORE launching a search.

  2. Failing to connect directly with potential candidates (top sales candidates are not surfing the job boards).

  3. Failing to dedicate time to recruiting.

  4. Failing to act with a sense of urgency with respect to executing the recruiting process.

The companies that are succeeding in filling their open sales roles with top talent are acting with a sense of urgency without compromising the process.

They’re recruiting as if the following conditions are true:

  1. The candidate has one or more offers from a direct competitor.

  2. They’re one stage behind in the interview process (if the candidate is phone screening now, then they have already conducted a face to face interview with the competitor).

  3. They need the candidate, the candidate does not need them.

Hiring top sales professionals also involves understanding how these candidates are very different from any other hire. If sales people are going to leave their current role, they’re also going to be leaving behind work that they have yet to be paid for. This work is their sales pipeline.

Ask yourself this fundamental question, “How do you plan to “buy out” the candidate’s pipeline?”

By “buy out,” we mean how are you going to make it equitable for the candidate to walk away from the business they have developed in order to join your company. Very simply, you can offer to swap sales pipeline developed at your company for the pipeline they developed at their company. Alternatively, you could provide a signing bonus or some other bonus structure to keep the candidate whole with respect to the potential earnings they’re walking away from. If you’re not thinking about how to make this transition equitable for the candidate, then you will not attract top talent. That is, by far, the more expensive decision.

At Hunter Crown, we have never seen the labor market this tight for top sales talent. To be competitive, you have to compete. To win, you have to understand how to play the game. Act with urgency and be ready to pull the trigger. Good luck!

Written byAustin Meyermann, Founder and President of Hunter Crown, LLC

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