Do you know your average time to hire? For many organisations, it’s an essential KPI that can shed light on how efficient your sales recruitment process is. And with data from Workable revealing it takes a whopping 47 days to fill sales vacancies, which doesn’t take into account the time required to get someone up to speed, it’s clear that companies should be increasingly focused on reducing this figure.

The longer it takes to fill an open job, the more repercussions your business can face. Lengthy vacancies can increase your cost-per-hire (another crucial KPI), reduce business productivity and make hitting target harder. So how can you ensure your recruitment process is short enough that it’s not negatively impacting your year?

Reduce processing time

Our sales index shows that 58% of candidates have an interview after being on the market for two weeks. Whether that interview is with your organisation or not is up to you. Plan your recruitment process carefully to ensure you’re not spending an unnecessarily long time on vetting and decision-making. The world of sales can often be a candidate-driven market and complicated assessments, lengthy periods between recruitment stages and delays to arrange interviews can all cost you potential sales superstars. Even if you do end up securing the right person, down time between interviews and key decisions all add up to a longer period without someone on patch generating leads and revenue.

Audit your sales recruitment process

The average cost of an unfilled vacancy varies from company to company, but in sales it can be especially damaging. Sales people directly contribute revenue to your business, and any time your business goes without patches covered or sales people on the ground, you’ll likely see the impact of a direct loss of sales. Reduce this by conducting an audit of your sales recruitment process, with a view to ensuring every step you’re taking is absolutely essential. Part of this could be addressing how many interviews you need for each role – an entry-level sales person may require fewer than a sales manager, for example – and see if you can condense interviews into a one- or two-day period to tighten up the timeframes. See where you can reduce the number of touchpoints – for example, does the National Sales Manager need to be involved at every step?

Don’t make the mistake of applying the exact same recruitment process to top sales executives and graduates alike. The latter can undergo a much shorter recruitment process as, according to a KPMG study, more than one-third of graduates are annoyed at how long they wait to hear back after an interview. Consider implementing a one day assessment that allow you to assess multiple candidates in a single day to reduce time graduates spend going to and from your office, and reassess how many touchpoints you need during the overall hiring process to avoid losing bright young talent.

Sell yourself

You could have the best benefits, work environment and opportunities in the world, but if you’re not selling them to potential sales people then you’re unlikely to fill your roles with the best talent. Take the time to create a killer job description that sets you apart from competitors and attracts the best sales candidates – see how here.

The ‘sell’ of a job also comes during the interview stage. Are your hiring managers doing an effective job of putting your company and the role in the best possible light? Train all interviewers to sell your company and, in turn, they should expect candidates to effectively demonstrate their own sales skills. For more tips on improving interviewing skills, click here.

Plan ahead

If you know you’ll have vacancies coming up in the coming months, start planning your recruitment time and resources now. This is particularly important if you require more senior or busy staff members to be involved in the sales recruitment process. Block out calendars for interviews well in advance (this includes meeting rooms and post-interview chats with managers) and ensure you plan around when key managers and stakeholders have holidays booked. It’s also a good idea to speak to your recruiters well in advance – if you know you’re going to need to fill a sales vacancy at some stage during the year, let us know so we can start looking for the best talent for your organisation.

Don’t delay offers

According to Glassdoor Chief Economist Andrew Chamberlain, companies take an average of 23 days to screen and hire new employees – nearly twice as long as they did in 2010. It’s understandable that you want to ensure you get the right candidate and don’t make mistakes, but taking too long to make an offer to someone could prove to be more costly.

Taking a few days to make your decision is fine, but if you take weeks, you’ll likely lose talented sales people. According to the BMS Index, 25% of salespeople gain an interview in their first week of actively searching. In their second, 50% will have had one or two interviews. By the end of the first month of active searching 76% will have gone to up to five job interviews. So if you don’t snap up top sales people within a couple of weeks of interviews, you could lose them for good.

Next steps

The above steps can help you dramatically overhaul your sales recruitment process and ultimately reduce the time you spend recruiting sales people. For more advice and information, check out our performance hub or contact us here.