7 great tips to hire the best sales candidates

The right sales people can make all the difference to any organisation, particularly when it comes to hitting sales targets. We know that only 20% of sales people regularly hit their quotas, which means those who do achieve target are like gold dust within the industry.

If you’re looking to form a winning sales team of high achievers who are committed to the success of your company, you need to make sure you’re attracting and recruiting the right people. Follow these seven great tips to hire the best sales candidates.

Define the real job

More than three-quarters of professional talent are passive candidates, and many of the best sales people are already snapped up by other organisations. That means you need to work harder to not only lure this talent away from their current roles, but also make sure the job you are selling to them is appealing and attractive. Consider why a top sales person would want to leave their existing role in a great company to join your business and make this clear in your job ad and specification. Be clear on opportunities for career development and progression, remuneration and potential base salary and benefits such as flexible working, as these can all help to appeal to sales people.

Understand that assessment goes both ways

Any sales interview will involve you testing the candidate’s skills and ability to sell, but a good interviewer knows that this is a prime opportunity to sell the company to the candidate too. Therefore, the interview needs to act as both a recruitment and assessment tool. Many interviews are one-sided, which overlooks the reality that the very best sales candidates will also be interviewing you and your company in order to see if the role is worth their while. With that in mind, be prepared for your interview, with a clear understanding of your candidate’s background and potential strengths. Do your research and put your best foot forward – just as you will expect the candidate to.

Define the job as a career move

Career development is one of the top three non-financial motivators, with 76% of employees saying they want opportunities for career growth. The best sales candidates will always be considering how they can get ahead in their careers and reach the next level, so your recruitment process should focus on how your company and roles can offer development and growth. You’ll compete for the strongest talent by offering the best career move, not the biggest compensation package. Consider how the opportunity might be a stepping stone for candidates, whether that’s by offering them a new territory, a team to manage or more autonomy.

Use onboarding to clarify expectations

Once you’ve made that coveted hire, the onboarding process is absolutely crucial to ensure your candidate receives a positive impression of your company and expectations are set from day one. Look at your job description and objectives you hand your new sales person: These need to match how the person was assessed and why they accepted the offer. If you’ve told them the role is primarily working remotely and they’ll have monthly KPIs, the objectives shouldn’t discuss an office base and weekly targets. Make sure all your onboarding documentation and supporting team members are aligned on this so you’re sending one clear message.

Manage performance and employee development

When you’re hiring a new sales person, think about the end result. In this case, the ‘end’ is when you hire a great person who demonstrates peak levels of sales performance and is satisfied not only in the role, but also in your company and where their career is going. If you have a great sales candidate who is eager to learn and develop, make sure you focus on this potential and willingness when you’ve hired them. Hold regular training and development sessions, ensure they feel supported and encouraged to not only achieve their sales targets and personal goals, but to advance in their career.

Evaluate personality, not just skills and experience

Cultural fit is critical for any new sales candidate, which is why it’s important to evaluate people based on their personality as well as their core skills and experience. More than a third of employees don’t think their employers care about them as individuals, which can lead to a disengaged and demotivated workforce. Counteract this by showing you care about sales people as individuals and understanding where they might fit in your business. Similarly, look for people with diverse personalities to deal with diverse customers. There is no ‘one size fits all’ perfect sales candidate, so be prepared to look for people outside the typical sales mould of your organisation.

Let BMS Performance help you

At BMS Performance, we have a vigorous sales recruitment assessment to ensure you’re getting the perfect sales candidate every time. We have 30 years’ experience in sales recruitment and interview 500 candidates per week. Take advantage of our industry knowledge and hire the best sales candidates with us. Find out more here.