No matter what company you work for, building a long-lasting sales team is always a challenge. This unique demographic presents great challenges for recruiters and hiring managers. Sales remain among one of the hardest jobs to fill. A Harvard Business School report found that employers spend an average of 41 days trying to fill a technical sales role, as compared to 33 days for all other jobs. Demand for sales representatives is high while this role is has been steadily losing appeal to millennials.
How can you overcome these challenges and successfully find the best sales people for your team? Here is our secret recipe:
- Define your hiring profile. A hiring profile is an internal document that lists the personal and professional attributes of your ideal hire. Like an amped-up job description, a hiring profile is used to document the criteria of the position you are filling plus well-defined targets and goals. A job description alone is not enough for finding the right sales person; it should be drafted after completing a robust hiring profile.
- Have a solid selection process. Ask yourself what you’ve defined to be the minimal requirements and stick with your goals. Accept the reality of sunken costs because vetting will take resources that you most likely won't get back. Projecting the amount of money you may lose in the selection process will help you understand how these costs stack up against the cost of an on-boarded mishire. Bottom line: you don't want to end up choosing a candidate who doesn’t quite make the cut, or fit in with your culture.
- Hire for culture fit. Talent acquisition based on cultural fit has become very popular in recent years. Culture fit is directly related to performance, engagement and productivity. A way to measure culture fit is through psychological assessment tools like the Myers-Briggs or a faster and more comprehensive software that quantifies candidate attributes as they are related to the culture fit between an employee and a manager.
- Find people who are passionate about your industry and who want to grow with it. These are your brand ambassadors. As sales are becoming a more collaborative field, new team members will need to feel supported in their pursuit of the ideal customer. Observe the traits that make an ideal sales contributor, including a passion that is driven beyond mere compensation, and a willingness to work on philanthropic projects. This will ensure you are only selecting the brand champions that are likely to stick by your side.
- Sell your company culture. When interviewing job candidates, be sure not only to highlight, but also advocate the culture of your company. If for example, you've promoted your entry-level sales assistance into a higher level position, let it be known to your candidates to eventually boost their motivation in taking the position. Many hiring managers promise opportunities for growth and professional development, but the ones that can back up words by facts will turn potential incumbents into employees. Don't be shy to tell them what they can do to climb the success ladder in your organization
Sales is a unique position to hire for. Extraverted individuals who are naturally drawn to various sales roles - and the ones who stick around and succeed - tend to be vibrant, frustrated, and anxious at the same time (you have to be if you’re making 50 calls a day). By helping your candidates feel as though they have a team behind them and a predictable growth path ahead, sales professionals will want to join your team. From defining ideal candidate profiles for the sales roles to ironing out the robust selection process, everything should be centered around understanding company culture and willingness to fit in and grow the business.