When you’re hiring to fill a sales role, one of the most rewarding things is when you finally find that talent you’ve been looking for. This is a candidate who makes all the interviews, CV checks and fruitless LinkedIn searches worthwhile, and you can’t wait to have them on board. Then disaster strikes – just as you offer them the position, they drop out of the race.

It’s hard enough to find competitive sales talent in the first place, and harder still when your best candidates are being lured away by other offers. The reasons for losing sales candidates at this vital stage aren’t always clear, but there are warning signs along the way it pays to take heed of. See if you’re guilty of any of the following, and discover what you can do to ensure you’re not falling at the last hurdle.

You’re taking too long

While the typical job hunter will be happy to wait for a role that feels like a good fit, there is a limit on sales people’s patience when it comes to time taken to move forward with the recruitment process. Although the hiring market’s interview process has increased in duration over time (the 2016 average length of UK hiring processes was 27.9 days, according to Glassdoor research), that doesn’t mean you can take liberties when it comes to extending an offer. One of the worst things you can do is keep a candidate waiting, and the longer you leave it, the more likely they are to be snapped up by a competitor.

As a sales manager, you’ll know that a good sales person is hard to find. Moreover, they’re often being sought out by a plethora of different companies, so you need to act quickly to avoid missing out on the best talent. According to the BMS Index, by the end of the first month of searching, 76% of sales people will have gone to up to five interviews. Make sure you’re ahead of the curve and showing your commitment to candidates, or else you may find they accept an offer from elsewhere.

Your offer is lower than expected

Money talks in the world of sales, particularly when you’re trying to attract a candidate to your company. According to Glassdoor, 94% of sales professionals say that base salary is the most important element of the compensation plan, so it’s vital that you get this part of the puzzle right before you make your offer. Commission, bonuses and other perks are all well and good, but the base salary is the most compelling factor at play when it comes to financial appeal.

Make sure the figures you’re offering are right from the outset – do this by researching the market and what your competitors are offering for similar roles. Salary surveys can be very helpful when it comes to narrowing down how much you should pay based on experience and location. Remember that it’s in sales people’s nature to negotiate, and if £3k more means the difference between getting your ideal candidate and losing them, it may be worth absorbing the extra cost to secure the right person.

You’re not being open during the interview process

Just as much as the interview is a chance for the candidate to sell themselves to you, it’s a test of how well you can promote your company and what you’re offering to job seekers. Part of this comes down to your organisation and communication skills throughout the interview process. If you don’t make it crystal clear what you expect from a candidate – whether that’s what they should prepare for an interview or the non-negotiable skills they need for the role – they may begin to doubt how credible and efficient you will be as an employer.

Keep candidates informed on how many interview stages they can expect, when they should hear back after each stage and what they need to prepare for your meetings. There should be no surprises or second guesses – if you act professionally, you will attract professionals.

You’re not selling the role

Candidates are picky, and sales people in particular are always looking out for the best package. They’ll have a great deal of choice when it comes to their next role, so you need to get them excited about what you’re offering. Think about what motivates your ideal kind of candidate, and what you can present that ties into that motivation. You also need to differentiate yourself from competitors, whether that’s by providing a first class candidate experience or highlighting your diverse benefits package. Sales professionals are looking for superior salary and compensation, opportunities for career growth and a positive company culture, according to this infographic, so keep these front of mind when you’re promoting the role.

Get ready to hire

If you’re offering a role with a reasonable compensation package within an acceptable timeframe and with a clear process, you’re likely well on your way to securing the market’s top sales talent. If you’d like more help in attracting the best sales people, speak to us about how we can help.