Why sales people don't want to work for you

Back to blog 29 Mar 2018

In today’s candidate-driven employment market, sales managers know all too well how difficult it can be to attract – and retain – the best sales people. With 90% of recruiters saying that recruitment was candidate-driven in 2017, the sheer volume of market offers and opportunities means employers are having to work harder than ever to secure the top sales talent. This can lead to long periods with unfilled territories, which can ultimately result in lost sales that can throw your monthly and quarterly targets way off kilter. But how can you make sure your workplace is perceived to be a welcoming, appealing and positive place for sales people to further their careers?

If you recognise any of the following in your business, take action immediately. Here, we help you understand why sales people don’t want to work for you, and what you can do to fix.

Your basic salary and bonus schemes aren’t competitive

It’s obvious, but true nonetheless: sales people are motivated by money, and if you’re not offering enough of it, they will find it elsewhere. According to Glassdoor, 94% of sales professionals say that base salary is the most important element of a compensation plan – though that doesn’t mean you should lose sight of how your bonus stacks up in comparison. With sales force compensation accounting for the largest marketing investment for most B2B companies, it’s clear that managers know the importance of paying sales people properly. But are they paying them competitively? This comes down to market rate – unfortunately, a salary and bonus plan that you think is reasonable may not actually be enough to compete with what else is on the market. Do your research – and speak to the experts – to find out what a truly competitive rate looks like.

You’re not selling the opportunity

When you’re recruiting, you’ll naturally be looking for candidates who can sell themselves and their skills to you. However, it’s important not to forget that recruitment is a two-way process, particularly in such a candidate-driven market. While you need to ensure a candidate is the right fit for your business, job seekers will want to be assured your opportunity is the best option for them. In order to achieve this, you need to sell the role, the team and the business to candidates.

The ‘always be closing’ rule of sales rings true when you’re interviewing. If you have a sales star in front of you interested in your role, take the opportunity to sell the opportunity and close them on the deal. Highlight what makes the job so appealing, whether that’s the great bonus structure and OTE or the opportunity to work flexibly. Your company culture should be a strong focal point at this stage, as 84% of employees would consider moving jobs for culture and values more closely aligned with their own. Be specific about how your teams work together, what social opportunities there are and how you foster development. These can all be extremely compelling when sales people are considering a new opportunity.

Your company car scheme isn’t up to scratch

While your company car scheme may seem like a very specific detail, it can be the deciding factor for sales people looking for new opportunities. This is because around 13% of a sales representative’s typical week is made up of travel, according to Pace Productivity. With so much time spent on the road, particularly for those sales people covering large territories or multiple clients, a decent company car policy can make all the difference. A good company car scheme will provide flexibility and options for sales people, particularly when it comes to funding the car, insurance and fuel, and must be communicated effectively with your work force. If you’re not sure what a competitive car scheme looks like, speak to your recruitment expert.

Your recruitment process is slow

The length of the recruitment process is a factor often overlooked by sales managers, who can get caught up in finding the ‘perfect candidate’ and risk putting off talented sales people in the process. We know that 58% of sales candidates have an interview after being on the market for two weeks, and this increases dramatically as time goes by. Don’t let viable sales people slip through your net by dragging out the application and interview process. Communicate timeframes clearly when people apply for your roles, and reduce steps where possible – do you really need the National Sales Manager involved at every interview stage, or could you bring them in only when you have a final shortlist of candidates? Similarly, graduate and entry-level roles may require fewer recruitment stages.

Your employer brand is poor

The average sales candidate today is more sophisticated than ever, using a range of different research and application methods to help give them an edge in securing their next job. In fact, job seekers use an average of 16 different resources when conducting their job search, and in today’s digital age you can almost guarantee that your social channels and company website will be combed through by any discerning sales candidate. If a sales person doesn’t get a good impression of your organisation at this stage, they may not apply for your role or show up for interviews. With 40% of companies unaware of their online reputation, there’s never been a better time to harness your social media profiles and careers section of your website to put your best foot forward. Glassdoor, in particular, can be used to great effect when it comes to boosting your employer brand. Start by tidying up your profiles, streamlining your messages and sharing photos and testimonials that portray you positively as an employer.

You don’t have the right support

If you remedy all the above problems and still have problems attracting the top sales talent, you may not be engaging with the right recruitment support. Contact us here to find out how we can help.