Great sales people make great companies. If you want your company to grow fast, you need to hire the right sales talent who are going to make the deals happen. But hiring great sales people isn’t as easy as it looks. There can be a big difference between top-tier sales people and average sales people – remember the old saying about the 80-20 Rule, or “the Pareto Principle,” which states that the top 20% of your sales team will often be responsible for 80% of your revenue. Hiring great sales people instead of just “average” sales people will often lead to much better results. But how do you find the best sales people? And how do you get them to want to work for you?
Finding great sales people to work for your company isn’t always easy, but with these tips, it might be a bit easier:
- Hire a sales-specific recruiting firm. There are lots of headhunters and recruiting consultants out there, and they will make lots of promises about what they can deliver, but if you want excellent sales people, you’re often better off hiring a recruiting firm that specializes in hiring sales people. These sales-focused firms often have specialized networks and relationships that can help give you access to a higher caliber of sales talent and get better candidates in your door much more quickly and efficiently than you could do on your own.
- Start from the inside. Often your best recruiters are already working for you – your employees. So ask your current sales people to help draw upon their networks of colleagues and contacts to find new hires to expand your sales team. Your existing sales force often has the best idea of what your company culture is like, what makes your company unique, and why your company is a great place to work. Offer referral bonuses to your employees who can connect your company with great job candidates. And show your sales team that these new hires are not a threat to their jobs – they’re a way to help expand the capacity of the entire team and create new growth and opportunities for everyone.
- Branch out. In addition to recruiting from the inside by drawing upon the networks of your existing team, you also need to cast a wider net. Look beyond the “usual suspects” in your industry. Consider hiring from outside your industry, or consider hiring new talent that might have less experience, but has high potential for growth. Remember the old saying: you can always teach skills, but you can’t teach attitude. Some of the star sales performers of tomorrow might be young and underutilized and frustrated at their current jobs – but if you just give them a chance, they can deliver massive results for you in the future.
Hiring great sales people takes patience, persistence, and creativity – just like sales itself. You need to be prepared to broaden your mind on where to find great sales people, or what your ideal sales hire might look like. But if you start with a sales-focused recruiting firm, partner with your existing sales team to find new candidates, and expand your search to some unexpected places, you will have better odds of hiring your dream sales candidates.