No matter what kind of sales manager you are, targets will likely always be near the top of your mind. They are intrinsically linked with overall organisational success, and if your sales people regularly hit and exceed their targets, you can expect to see a healthy bump in your business revenue. But how can you ensure that you’re hiring brilliant sales people who can deliver these targets time and time again?

It’s one thing to recruit a sales person to fill a vacancy in your team, but another entirely to find a brilliant sales person who can deliver over and above your targets. Here’s how to do it.

Take inspiration from your current sales superstars

Every team has at least one sales superstar, so start by identifying what makes this person so spectacular at their job. This process should include looking at the skills and behaviours they demonstrate on a daily basis, such as effective communication and goal setting and analysis.

According to sales linguistics expert Steve W. Martin, verbal acuity, being achievement-oriented and asking the right qualifying questions of customers are all key to becoming a top sales person. It’s not just feeling out opportunities from customers that matters, either. The top sales stars will build rapport with their customers and develop relationships with not only them, but also other team members. Top performers should help out with calls, tough accounts and potentially even train new starters.

Look at how top sales staff organise their day and what their meeting rates are like, but be mindful that your culture and hiring process may mean you are missing skills that could be a benefit. Consider what your business might be lacking and don’t be too rigid in what you’re looking for.

Another strategy to employ here is asking your top performers what they think makes them so successful when it comes to hitting targets. They might point to particular training they’ve had during their career, having a mentor or simply being innately driven to hit targets. The more insight you have into what makes your current staff perform well, the more you’ll have to guide you when it comes to recruiting new talent.

Never stop recruiting

Brilliant sales people are hot commodities, and unfortunately that means they can leave your company at any time. Because of this, it’s vital that you treat your sales recruitment as an ongoing process, regardless of whether you have active vacancies or not. This strategic approach ensures you’ve always got one eye out for people who could be a good fit for your sales team. After all, if there’s a perfect sales person on the market who would enhance your team dynamic, why wouldn’t you consider bringing them on even if there’s not a specific vacancy open?

The BMS Index shows that the majority of sales people stay in their role for an average of two years, so plan ahead and think about who will replace your team when they leave. While internal restrictions such as budget and resources can make this challenging, so too is waiting for a vacancy to appear before going to market and potentially missing out on the best talent. Reactionary hiring can result in rushed processes and settling for an underqualified candidate.

Just because you’re not always hiring, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t always be recruiting. Instead of hiring as needed, shift your mind set to one of ‘always recruiting’ to help you stay alert to potential sales stars and opportunities. Make it easier for these top performers to find you by ensuring your employer branding is attractive and appealing and keeping all candidate interactions positive and thorough. After all, a sales person who doesn’t fit a vacancy one month might be the perfect fit for another position down the line, so keep connections alive!

Give yourself the best opportunities to succeed

Organisation is the key to any effective recruitment process, regardless of whether you have active vacancies or not. Part of your strategy should involve using time when you aren’t hiring to plan for future recruitment activity. Look ahead to think about what roles you might need in the future, what skills your team is lacking and strategies you can employ to boost sales activity (and therefore smash sales targets). This means you’re ready to recruit whenever you need to and will have a clearer understanding of what exactly you’re looking for. However, it’s important not to stick to this too rigidly, as we know how important it is to remain flexible when you’re looking to fill a role. The right person for your team should have exceptional sales skills, but they might not necessarily have high levels of experience in your sector. Sales experience wins over sector experience any day.

To get the best people, you need to pay the best salary – or, at least, be competitive. Do your market research to find out what a good salary looks like for your sector and match it, if not better it. While you’re at it, find out what top salespeople are looking for in a role and organisation. If someone turns down an offer you make, find out why. If you’re constantly missing out on great people because of the same reasons, such as a low salary, poor company culture or inflexibility, it’s time to address those reasons.

Ask for help

If you’re a sales manager who typically undertakes the recruitment process alone, you’ll be amazed at the response you get when you ask your team what skills, training and competencies they think you need in your organisation. Don’t be afraid to ask for a second opinion from others in your organisation, either. And above all, make sure you’re partnering with the best in the industry. For more on how we can help, contact us here.