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minute read
February 2, 2016

Want to Attract Top Sales Talent? Are You Doing These Things?

Written by
Noel Hooban

Regardless of how great you are at developing efficient processes and inspiring peak performance, a talented sales team is still central to your ability to optimise performance.

Attracting top sales talent is not always easy, particularly when competing against other companies who want the same thing.

Here are several tips to help you recruit and attract the salespeople you need.

Offer a Great Place to Work

Compensation is only one factor in a great work environment.

Sales professionals also want to work in a supportive culture that makes the job fun and offers rewards above and beyond pay.

Schedule flexibility, work-life balance and autonomy are among the primary elements that top sellers look for in an employer, according to Inc.

When you can offer this atmosphere, you may find the talent coming to you. Your existing teams network with others in the selling profession and compare notes on experiences.

Additionally, some careers sites do employer surveys.

Achieving strong scores for these crucial workplace factors help entice top candidates.

Differentiate Yourself

Recruiting is simply another form of selling. Just as your reps differentiate solutions to buyers, you must identify and communicate points of differentiation between your company and other sales organisations.

One of the most common questions asked while I was working in the recruitment industry by companies that either weren’t as well known or were in ‘startup mode’ was “how do we compete against the ‘big players’ out there?”

My answer always centred around two words: Employer Branding.

Many companies are recognising the importance of employer branding when it comes to hiring top sales talent.

In addition to the cultural elements noted, a fun and conversational recruitment campaign can help get attention from job seekers.

Include fun imagery if that suits your brand, engaging benefits statements and data that supports why your business is a place for salespeople to thrive.

Most importantly, communicate with people.

Yes, you have 101 other things to do, but if you can’t talk quickly & regularly with potential candidates (remember, they are probably speaking with more than one company), you are not just doing them a disservice, you are damaging your company brand.

Excellent sales people thrive on real, constant, open communication.

If you can’t offer that one simple courtesy during the interview stage, you will lose them.

That is when you must get the experts in to help manage the process with you.

Tap Into a Frustrated Network

As a sales leader, networking is likely a natural part of your role.

Developing and maintaining connections with reps working for other organisations keeps you close when the time is right for a recruitment pitch.

One of the more common frustrations for sales reps is a lack of belief or active leadership from a current supervisor, according to Forbes.

When you participate in industry or networking events and interact with your contacts, you may become aware when a talented pro is unhappy.

Show empathy and seize an opening to position your company as a better proposition.

Offer Training and Development

The best salespeople are, by nature (and rightly so), ambitious and ego-driven.

Therefore, they are motivated to improve continually, and they want an employer who provides opportunities for coaching, training and development.

One reason sellers gravitate towards a manager who develops reps is that they see the long-term earning potential as much as the present-day compensation, according to Inc.

Good sales people want to develop into great salespeople. You’ll know who they are.

They are the ones asking you about sales training. Not only “when can I get some extra training” but “here’s details on the latest training course, I want to attend it because…”.

Or they are at the local Chambers of Commerce breakfast event at 7:30am or want to visit a particular industry exhibition next month.

These are the people you need to nurture and keep.

Top Sales Talent Attraction

Long-term income potential may sway a top candidate more than competitive compensation with limited growth opportunity.

Source Breeding Grounds for High Achievers

Monster recently noted that top sales recruiters adapt to evolving talent pools when trying to find high achievers, rather than only using traditional recruitment channels and hoping to find them.

One potential referral source is current clients. These are people who understand your company and its values.

They are also likely to have other reps who call on them and who may have an interest in working for you if approached in the correct manner.

But a word of caution. Don’t let the “experience” card fool you.

Just because someone is experienced in sales doesn’t necessarily mean that they are high achievers.

Additionally, when you aren’t bogged down with required sales experience, your talent pool opens up more.

Accomplished college graduates and high achievers in other fields may have the personality fit for success in your business.

It is often easier for you to teach product knowledge than to source a precise cultural fit.

If someone has proven a willingness to learn, a problem-solving mentality and excellent communication skills, these may transfer neatly into your sales role.

You can teach someone product knowledge; you can’t teach them motivation.

The methods you use in finding your sales people are critical to the success of your sales team.

The following is a great infographic from Jacob Shriar of Officevibe that covers the 12 recruiting stats that will change the way your hire.

12 Recruiting Statistics That Will Change The Way Your Hire

This infographic was crafted with love by Officevibe, the employee engagement survey software to help companies improve morale.


Attracting top sales talent is a matter of providing an environment where people want to work, and then creatively identifying the right people to go after.

Proactively maintaining a contact network and recognising less conventional talent sources help you target the right employee prospects.

Are you interested in freeing up some time so your top sales talent can focus on what they do best?

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