So as a sales recruiter, I have talked some real gems. I am saying that with complete sarcasm. Knowing how to decipher what is real and what is bullshit is something I have become quite good at over the years. What makes sales recruiting so difficult is that everyone is a little full of themselves and they all act like they are ten foot tall and bulletproof. Well, they aren’t. Some of them are liars. Some of them you have to peel back the onion so far to get what information you really want from them.
2016 is a tough year for recruiting sales people. The reason this year is particularly hard is that the economy is doing very well. It is without a doubt a candidate’s marketplace. When this happens, salespeople get a little cocky and overconfident. They believe they are worth a heck of a lot more than they actually are worth. The demands of the candidates are absolutely ridiculous. Most of them are asking, and a good majority of them are getting exactly what they want.
Do I blame them for being overconfident and asking for ridiculous amounts of money? No. If you are a good salesperson, you are going to get called. You are going to be pitched other jobs and careers with different organizations. The good sales people are getting 2-3 calls a week. No wonder they feel like they are bulletproof. The problem is that the mediocre and poor sales people are getting some of the calls too.
The part that frustrates me though is when I peel back the onion. Since I talk to salespeople daily, I must say that I am absolutely amazed when they haven’t really done anything with their careers but jump from job to job. Companies are buying into it hook, line, and sinker. They believe that since they worked at a major organization, they must be good. If they got recruited to work for another good corporation then they must be even better.
Crap. Such bull crap! Let me make it clear, if you have been with a company in a sales capacity for less than 18 months, you haven’t been around long enough to see the success and failures that it takes to be successful at a company. It takes time to learn the product, the organization, and to complete the sale. Some sales are more transactional than others, but I need to see a record of success before I even consider submitting you to an organization.
Now, things happen. Sometimes you are with a company for less than 18 months and you leave because it is not the right fit for you. Sometimes that may happen 2 times. If you see it happen your entire career, it is a major red flag to ANY organization.
Now, let’s dive deeper. So, I want to know specifically what you have sold. What was your quota? Did you hit the quota? What were some of the deals you sold? Where do you rank with your colleagues? Where do you rank in the company standings?
I don’t care what your “on target earnings” were when you started your job. The on target earnings is not a benchmark I care to discuss. The bottom line is:
What did you sell?
How much money did you make?
Why do salespeople seem to be consumed with “on target earnings”? If you don’t hit them, then it really is a moot point anyway. Don’t tell me how great you were until you have PROVEN to me that you have had success.
The last thing that gets me is entitlement. Sales is a tough job. It is one of the toughest jobs in the world. It is lucrative, but it requires a lot of work. So, I get really sick of salespeople who say they want to “manage accounts” or “manage people who manage accounts”. What? So basically, you are saying you don’t want a sales job and want the easy way out. Right?
There is a point in your sales career where you can earn the right to manage, but not until you have proven that you can actually “walk the walk”. Someone who can’t prospect, close, and bring in new business is really not a salesperson. Even “farmers” hunt into their accounts! Managers who are successful will still pick up the phone and call prospects. They will still get their hands dirty. Trust me on this. If you have both skill sets, you can name your price on your next job.
Think about these things the next time you are in the job market. You should never be above or better than doing what a salesperson does on a daily basis. If you stay on top of the latest and greatest, learn new sales tactics, and go on sales calls, then you will increase your market value.
The market will turn once again and it won’t be a candidate’s marketplace. Stay humble. Work your ass off and always hit quota. Never say you can’t or won’t do something in sales. That is the simplest advice I can give.