Hiring a great sales team has simply never been more difficult. According to a report from Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project, “Technical sales and sales-management positions play a critical role for U.S. businesses, but they are among the hardest to fill.” In fact, according to the study, employers spent an average of 41 days trying to fill technical sales jobs, compared with an average of 33 days for all jobs for the 12-month period ending in September 2014.
Why is hiring great reps such a challenge?
One key reason is because annual venture capital investments have reached their highest level in over a decade. As a result, startups and early-stage companies are under increasing pressure from investors and board members to demonstrate real revenue as proof of their business model’s validity. Companies are competing like crazy to acquire the talent they need to power growth. And we’re witnessing an arms race for even mid-level sales talent.
I reached out to QuotaFactory’s CEO Peter Gracey and asked what it takes to acquire (and hold onto) sales talent. He believes that having the right culture is the key to success. According to Gracey, “A sales culture must prioritize mutual respect, meaningful professional development, and pay a premium for performance.”
Having a great culture it vital to keeping talent once you acquire it. But you may be wondering how to find the perfect reps for your company. Here are five great ways to recruit a team that crushes quota:
Hire an External Recruiter: Yes, external recruiters can be pricey. The average fee-per-hire when using a third-party recruiter is over $22K. But in this competitive climate, using a recruiter can often be the best option. If you do go for a recruiter, make sure they have an in-depth understanding of your industry.
Hire an Internal Recruiter: More and more companies are hiring internal recruiters. That is to say, a full-time employee focused solely on finding other employees. You may think that you have to be a big company to afford an internal recruiter, but that’s not necessarily the case. Look at the costs levied on your existing team for finding, recruiting and interviewing. It might be more cost-effective to have a recruiter on the payroll.
Outsource Sales Efforts: Recently, a wellspring of outsourced sales services companies have emerged. Now it’s easier than ever to find partners providing a wide variety of outsourced services including list building, appointment setting, inbound sales and high-level sales training. Some will even let you hire the reps at the end of an outsourcing contract. So if you need to ramp up a sales team quickly, outsourcing can often be a viable option.
Subscribe to LinkedIn’s Recruiting Services Package: LinkedIn can be a powerful tool for finding talent, but LinkedIn limits search functionality unless you pay for a premium account. As an example, if you search for “sales development reps” too many times, LinkedIn will temporarily block your search capabilities. Luckily, LinkedIn offers a premium package for recruiters that will not only give you access to unlimited searches, but also give you better filters for finding candidates.
Recruit From Your Competitors: Sometimes it’s best to turn adversaries into allies. That being said, your next great sales rep might be working for the competition. A rep that has worked for one of your competitors will likely possess a solid view of your business landscape on day one. This can radically decrease ramp time. Also, changing to a company that’s selling familiar products can be a lot more appealing for reps.
Want to learn some more ways to outperform your competitors? Our latest eBook, reveals emerging challenges that sales leaders are struggling with and actionable tips for overcoming those challenges.
Jesse WestDirector of Lifecycle MarketingringDNA
Jesse Davis West is Director of Lifecycle Marketing at ringDNA, focusing on improving the experience and maximizing the lifetime value for customers across their entire journey. Drawing on 9 years of B2B marketing experience, Jesse is passionate about communication, branding and strategic marketing. He also plays a mean lead guitar and can throw down at karaoke.