In 2002, the German car manufacturer Volkswagen launched a brand new model called the Phaeton. This particular model was a luxury car marketed to customers that are more inclined towards car brands like Mercedes-Benz, BMW, or Audi. At first glance, the car had it all, from state-of-the-art technology to a leather interior, a W12 engine, radar adaptive cruise control, and air suspension, among other such premium features. But soon after it was introduced to the US market, it bombed. It only sold several thousand units before it was discontinued in the US in 2006. Why?
Simply put, a lot of it was due to a lack of wrong product positioning and demographic miscalculation. True, the Phaeton was a technological marvel of its time. Yet, historically, the Volkswagen brand has always been associated with affordability. After all, Volkswagen translates to “people’s car.” So, most Americans could not understand why they had to pay $70K+ on a “budget brand.” While other car manufacturers like Honda with Acura, Toyota with Lexus, or Nissan with Infiniti created different brands for their luxury lines, Volkswagen didn’t. And ultimately, this is what doomed the Phaeton.
The moral here is that while it’s great if you have an amazing product, you can’t expect increasing sales if you don’t also have someone to know how to sell it effectively. In most cases, the sales department represents the heart of the company. And hiring competent and qualified sales representatives should be the first step in achieving your sales targets.
The Statistics of Bad Hires
Many CFOs and sales executives recognize that a bad hire has several negative implications. For starters, 25% consider that it will affect the company’s bottom line. However, 34% say that they notice a drop in overall productivity, while 39% say that a poor hiring decision has a negative impact on staff morale. So before inviting candidates for interviews, you should recognize whether they are qualified prospects, a good match for your company culture, and have the potential to become sales superstars.
Top sales talent can increase company sales. However, recruiting salespeople who are unqualified can add more weight to your already burdened sales team and lower your chances of achieving sales success by driving potential customers away. Keep in mind that a sales rep that lacks the necessary sales skills can do long-term damage. Not only do they go through your leads without turning them into paying customers, but they can also alienate your current clients.
In addition, supervisors need to spend, on average, 17% more time on managing poorly performing workers. What’s more, 60% of talent acquisition managers say that poor hires don’t work well with their co-workers, while 41% say that the cost of a bad hire is well into the thousands of dollars. And when it comes to B2B sales staff, in particular, will have among the highest turnover rates in the country (34.7 % per year). Around 80% of this turnover rate is due to bad hiring decisions.
Finding and Recruiting Qualified Sales Talent
Finding and hiring qualified candidates will, therefore, need to be given top priority. However, your talent acquisition team doesn’t have to limit their search and only recruit salespeople from Harvard Business School or other impressive establishments. There are plenty of other places to find qualified sales staff who can prove exemplary sales performance. Below are several hiring strategies recruiting resources where you can find qualified prospects.
1. Social Media
Beyond posting jobs on recruitment platforms or your company website, go where many job seekers and qualified candidates look for job ads – social media. Today’s increasingly digital world makes social media a perfect place to start looking for qualified prospects for your vacant sales positions. LinkedIn, in particular, is especially effective at identifying top-performing sales reps.
As a strategies and sales manager, you can share any open positions within your company, as well as the job description and any other relevant information about your organization. By using videos, images, and relevant blog posts, you can stand out well above your competition, drawing top salespeople to you.
You can also take a more proactive approach and start looking for candidates that will be a good fit. LinkedIn Talent Solutions, for instance, allows you to match your job post to the most relevant candidates based on your own required qualifications, years of experience, hard and soft sales skills, etc. In 2018, 95% of Fortune 500 companies included this feature in their recruiting strategies.
Facebook, on the other hand, can be used for its many industry-specific groups that you can join and interact with members. Twitter works best in this regard when you follow influencers in your industry and come across sales reps that do the same.
2. Online Recruiting Sites
You can also use job listing sites such as Glassdoor or Indeed, among others are also great places for hiring salespeople. Both sites offer numerous opportunities for you to advertise your organization. What’s more, current and former employees can also comment about these companies, their management team, salaries, benefits, and more.
You can use this feature to your advantage by keeping an eye open on companies in the area you want to hire great sales reps. Whenever sales organizations in these areas receive a torrent of negative reviews from their employees, you can contact sales reps who have left those reviews. It’s possible they were unhappy with their last job because they were not a good fit for the company culture. However, by asking the right sales interview questions, you may discover that they are more compatible with your organization.
3. Referrals and Recommendations
It should come as no surprise to anyone that referrals and recommendations are among the most effective ways of hiring sales reps with the most sales job qualifications. This is particularly true when they come from friends or associates who are already familiar with your business and its needs. Furthermore, it would look bad on them if they recommend a poor fit.
There are plenty of other benefits to be had from employee referrals. For starters, referred candidates are 55% faster to hire than those sourced through other means. They’re also around $3,000 cheaper to hire, generate 25% more profit, and have a higher retention rate. In fact, 88% of employers consider referrals as the best source for above-average applicants.
4. Your Customers
A long-lasting B2B relationship is often formed between the client and the sales rep in charge of the account. Over time, these relationships can become somewhat personal, meaning that customers may know if their favorite reps are on the lookout for a new job opportunity. By letting your own customers know that you are hiring sales professionals, they may recommend someone they know. They’ll also likely only recommend those they consider to be qualified candidates.
5. Recruiting Firms
Sales recruiting firms can also be a valuable source of sales talent and viable candidates. The key, however, is to find a high-quality staffing firm that specializes in sales recruiting and can match your exact needs with the right candidates for interviews in your sales department. It should also be able to provide recruiting software that manages the process and have years of experience as well as satisfied customers to use as a reference.
6. Tradeshows and Conferences
Attending a sales-specific tradeshow or conference may land you not only new customers but also some new potential sales candidates. You can be sure to come across top salespeople looking for a better job opportunity at these events. Just be sure to let people know that you’re hiring both at the event as well as in your follow-up email.
7. Casual Encounters
As a sales leader, you should always be on the lookout for potential sales hires, whether it’s in a professional or a casual setting. You could be in line at the bank or a cocktail event somewhere after work hours and may come across the perfect fit. Wherever you go, keep a lookout for the specific sales skills and sales personalities that may meet your qualifications. Even an informal chat can turn into a formal interview down the line. There’s really nothing to lose in this scenario.
Finding good sales reps is an ongoing process. But by following these simple techniques, you’ll be able to find plenty of good potential candidates for your sales department.
If you found this article helpful, you might also like: The Complete Guide To Hiring The Best Salespeople.
To learn more about best practices for how to find qualified sales people, contact us today.