Where (And How) To Find Great Sales Reps in 2020

———-This is a repost from my Sales Hiring article that was published in the Acceleprise blog————-

Now more than ever, business organizations need buyer-focused sales professionals who possess the character and the competencies to deliver high value to both the customers they serve and the companies they work for.

In a highly competitive talent market, the process of finding, hiring, and keeping these high-performing sellers can be quite challenging.

Sure, technology can help heat up your metrics, but it will only go so far. Talent is the only thing that can sell your brand at the end of the day and will determine the difference between sales organizations that are well-positioned to win the future and those that struggle just to survive the challenges of the present.

As customer centricity, account-based selling, and artificial intelligence redraw the contours of business, talent will become more crucial to keeping pipelines full, flowing, and fruitful. If your organization lacks the will to attract, recruit, and retain excellent sales professionals, then you are just exerting futile efforts at postponing failure to a later date.

After all, only sales professionals with the right skills and mindset can drive meaningful conversations with prospects and orchestrate the outcomes customers expect. Today’s consumers — especially in the B2B space — are empowered buyers looking for trustworthy consultants who can help them achieve success. They are not keen on taking cold calls from desperate sellers who primarily engage people just to make a sale and meet quotas.

Why is it so hard to find good sales reps?

Forward-looking enterprises often implement aggressive recruitment and retention strategies for top sales talent. These enterprises already deploy many excellent professionals on their sales floor. Given the emerging business realities, these highly competitive companies simply couldn’t afford not to.

For one thing, businesses improve profitability by as much as 30% when they hire top-notch candidates, according to a Gallup poll. In the B2B space, moreover, corporate clients have nearly unlimited access to information about alternative products, and virtually nothing prevents them from brand-hopping at will. If your sellers lack the skills at building effective solutions and at keeping these solutions relevant throughout the customer lifecycle, then closing deals and reducing customer churn will both be very difficult. Which, as you well know, leads to diluted revenue, profit margins, and morale.

Hiring anyone just to fill the vacuum wouldn’t do, either. In fact, poor hires cost a lot more in direct and collateral damage than not hiring in the first place. A bad hire causes your team to lose a substantial amount of time, money, and energy, with some estimates placing financial loss at hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year just for one bad hiring decision.

Meanwhile, the challenges of selling as a field also cause most people to shun sales as a career option, even compelling a significant number of practitioners to shift their line of work. Either effect further trims the number of competent sales professionals in the market.

Best channels to find good sales reps

If your organization plans to recruit the best sellers, there are a few places you would want to check out.

Start with your personal network

Your social and professional network covers your family and friends as well as acquaintances from grade school, the fitness club, and the workplace. Your network will likely include a number of competent sales practitioners, professionals who enjoy working with people, or individuals who are good at articulating value and convincing others to view things from a particular perspective. You can reach out to these people and probe whether some are open to working in a sales organization with you.

  • Pros: Reconnecting with people you already know could be fun and won’t take as much effort.
  • Cons: The process of identifying competent sales professionals or individuals with high potential in sales would be informal at best and largely dependent on your hunch/intuition. Overpromising on the benefits may also cause a strain in otherwise friendly relationships.
  • Tips: Don’t overlook your alumni association from high school and college, as well as the business associations and social clubs you’ve joined in the past. Also consider sales professionals who have reached out to you regarding business matters. If they’ve managed to make you sign a subscription, perhaps they’ll be good at selling your product as well.

Ask for referrals and recommendations

If gleaning potential sales superstars from your network doesn’t work as planned, you can always request for referrals. Just like you, your friend or acquaintance knows somebody who works as a high-flying real estate agent or someone who has an uncanny ability at persuading people. Unless you have other options with higher odds of success, referred candidates would be worth checking out.

  • Pros:  Building new relationships is easier when you have common reference points: in these case, your mutual contact and your shared interest in selling.
  • Cons: The competency or potential of the recommended individual depends on how the referrer defines what a “good seller” is.
  • Tips: Remember to request for updated contact information and as much detail about the person as possible. Also, getting referrals from acquaintances who work as recruiters or sales leaders would be doubly valuable since you can assume these recommendations have been vetted more professionally.

Optimize events and meetups

Industry events such as seminars, trade shows, workshops, and conferences are premium opportunities for relationship building. They’re also great for sniffing out and assessing potential hires.

  • Pros: Social events that relate to your industry help narrow the talent pool to those who are highly relevant to your business.
  • Cons: Most attendees would already be connected to other companies and brands. However, the vast majority of them are also likely to be looking for better career opportunities, according to HubSpot.
  • Tips: Tread lightly and be subtle. Limit yourself to building connections if your new prospect does not send positive signals that he or she is looking for a new employer. It’s not good to antagonize other industry players and be tagged as a “talent poacher.” Also, hang-out in places where executives and sellers usually go. There might be opportunities of discovering eager talent once in a while.

Squeeze LinkedIn dry

The planet’s largest professional network is perhaps the best place to build a shortlist of potential sales hires. The site’s powerful search functions can help you find qualified (but often presently employed) sellers in your particular market niche. You can also post job ads and reach thousands of professionals who meet your standards and qualifications.

  • Pros: LinkedIn is purposely designed for businesses, professionals, and everything in between. It is a vast marketplace of ideas, products, and talent.
  • Cons: Applying to job postings over LinkedIn is so easy your recruitment campaign might be swamped with applications too quickly for you to catch up and effectively select candidates who meet your requirements.
  • Tips: Require additional information, a portfolio if appropriate, and a cover letter. These will help you get more pertinent information on top of what’s already available in candidates’ account profiles. Moreover, these will help you gauge whether a particular candidate is really interested in your posting (i.e., less interested candidates will not bother to submit additional requirements). Having said that, be wary also of desperate job hunters who’ll do anything to get an interview.

Explore other social media sites

If you need an entire brigade to fill your sales floor, then you can go beyond LinkedIn to other social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Quora. Hundreds of millions of people visit these networks regularly to communicate their message and join conversations that matter to them.

  • Pros: It’s free. You can start with your online social network and expand the search from there. There are also communities — especially on Instagram and Facebook — that could be very relevant to your business. Moreover, any sales candidate gleaned from these networks can arguably be considered “social media savvy,” a desired trait for new generations of sellers.
  • Cons: There are a lot of noise on social media that will make your search hazy. You can easily get distracted and lose precious time navigating random distractions.
  • Tips: You can use market research to target specific demographics you are envisioning for your salesforce. Millennials and younger workers, for example, tend to use Instagram and SnapChat more while highly knowledgeable and opinionated professionals follow conversations on Quora.

Conduct campus recruitment

Leverage the good relationships you’ve built at your alma mater. For open internships at your sales organization, your old campus may just be the hunting ground you need. Go beyond your college to other academic institutions in the area if you need to create a larger talent pool.

  • Pros: College students and new grads are generally eager to enter the workplace. They are more flexible and trainable compared to candidates who have been in the job market for a while.
  • Cons: It may take tons of training to get young talent truly prepared for the tough world of selling.
  • Tips: Look for the right attitude, motivation, and behavior.

Traditional sales recruiters, headhunters, and job sites

Job sites such as Monster, Glassdoor, and Indeed.com provide the online interfaces that connect recruiters with job applicants. Like LinkedIn and specialist career marketplaces, job recruiting sites offer the best success rates for your staffing needs.

  • Pros: You get straightforward recruiting services. You also gain insightful job market data such as median salaries for specific positions, industry, and locations.
  • Cons: Getting the best results might entail costs. You will also be competing with similar recruiters targeting the same subset of applicants on the site.
  • Tips: Streamline and clarify your job posting. Make it stand out from the posts of rival recruiters. Use site features such as Glassdoor’s employer reviews to gather worker sentiment and find professionals who might be “open” to trying out other employers.

Fine-tune your search via career marketplaces

Online career marketplaces such as Rainmakers attract the best employers and the top practitioners in a specific field. When these parties meet, excellence happens.

  • Pros: Sales-oriented career marketplaces like Rainmakers already screen candidates for different sales roles and allow only highly competent practitioners to join its marketplace. Talent profiles are generally more in-depth than their accounts on LinkedIn, saving recruiters precious research time when hiring salespeople.
  • Cons: Top-notch services usually come with a price tag.
  • Tips: Use special features such as Rainmakers’ sales performance history to better assess a candidate’s credentials.

Online vs Offline?

Staffing your sales organization can take the offline or online route, or both. Depending on the situation, you can get the best of online and offline recruitment to benefit the final makeup of your sales team. So, make the best of in-person meet-ups during events and conferences. But don’t forget to put your best foot forward when hunting for talent online.

Some final tips and tactics

Sales recruitment is not only a challenging task, but one whose impact can create a powerful chain reaction far down the road. If you’ve hired the right people, then expect positive outcomes to pop up here and there. But if you enable bad candidates to come on board, the damage in terms of time, money, and morale can be devastating. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once claimed that bad hires cost the company $100 million.

So take sales recruitment seriously. Hire specifically for the task you need done but never discount character and motivation. Technical skills should always go hand-on-hand with attitude. For experienced roles, consider the candidate’s professional selling history, relevant training, and certifications.

Don’t settle for less. Do your homework as a diligent recruiter and the rest will follow. Remember, nothing else can move your business further than highly motivated talent.

How to Conduct a Proper Hiring Retrospective and the Timeline for an Effective Hiring Process

Alex Glenn, Head of Platform Ecosystem, Rainmakers.co

ret·ro·spec·tive

/ˌretrəˈspektiv/

Noun – an exhibition or compilation showing the development of the work of a particular artist over a period of time.


In the early stages of a fast growing startup, much, if not all, of the process behind interviewing and hiring is handled by the founder. The founder has the vision for where they want the company to go and who they need to bring on board to reach that goal. Through trial and error they find what works best when interviewing and hiring and how to build on that vision for the future.

As the startup grows, the founder takes on more executive-only tasks like fundraising, opening new offices, and board meetings. Leadership or HR will now need to take over the process of formal interviews when this transition occurs.

This is where a hiring retrospective comes into play. It will be a guideline or SOP (Standard Operating Procedure) for the new hiring manager to follow. This can include steps, checklists, and observations that helped the founder grow the employee base.

The goal of the retrospective is to help the new hiring team understand what has and hasn’t worked in the past and to keep the interviewing and selection process consistent no matter who is doing the hiring. If done right, the long term value of a retrospective will show through a more efficient and effective hiring process that onboards the best possible candidates.

Some best practices for facilitating a hiring retrospective agenda are:

  1. Meet with Leadership and HR to discuss open positions and the applications received for the position.
  2. Take detailed notes on any and all insight provided by Leadership or HR about who they liked and didn’t like among the candidate pools
  3. Keep adding to and refining the retrospective as time goes on to include new aspects of the business or new positions.
  4. Review the retrospective with new Leadership or HR team members.

How to build a hiring retrospective study

When building a documenting the ideal hiring process you should be as thorough as possible. The new hiring manager should be able to read everything and have a clear understanding of what to look for and how to think. Here are some steps to go through when building the outline for the retrospective:

Hold hiring retrospective meetings with department leaders and stakeholders to get input from each about what makes effective employees for their teams. These discussions should be held early on, as soon as the founder is thinking of passing some of the hiring duties on other Leadership or HR team members.

For example, Imagine you are hiring a new sales director and you have whittled down the candidate pool to the top 10 applicants. Your meeting about who to hire should include a CRO or VP of Sales (sometimes both), the CEO (you), the Head of HR/Talent/People, and any other relevant team members you find relevant.

Start the conversation off with what the purpose of the position is, the goals the business wants to achieve once the position is filled, and what the most important attribute is for a candidate to have.

Have everyone review all of the available resources that the candidate provided (resumes, video interviews, websites, etc). Next, go around the room and review the top candidate that everyone liked first. Allow them a few minutes to explain what they liked about the candidate and why they think they would be a good fit for the role.

Ask questions like:

What did you like about this candidates background?

How did the candidate handle the interview questions?

Do you see the candidate bringing value to the business?

Once the best candidates have been reviewed, go over the remaining candidates and have everyone explain why they weren’t their first choice.

Ask questions like:

What makes you think this candidate isn’t ready for the position?

Were there any red flags about this candidate?

Would you hire them if our first and second choice didn’t accept the position?

Make sure everyone provides input on all of the candidates that they had any type of interaction with to get the most well-rounded opinion from the discussion. When the final 1-2 candidates are chosen, the hiring decision can be then handed over to the CEO for final approval.

Once a final decision has been made, send a follow up email to everyone who participated in the meeting thanking them for their feedback. Encourage them to communicate any after thoughts, revelations, or ideas that come to mind even after a decision has been made.

All of the insight gained from discussions like these should be added to the broader hiring retrospective. This should be an ongoing conversation as more positions open within the company.

Create a personality profile with the key attributes of the team members who are successful in the position.  Include examples of qualities the perfect employee would have to fit the cultural and technical aspects of the company. Here is a great one this company uses to define Successful CHRO:

Record relevant information about candidates who were both hired and turned down. Write down the qualities and backgrounds they had, and why they were or weren’t a good fit.

Questions you can ask yourself:

Were there concerns about their experience?

What makes the candidate a good fit for the company?

Were there any observations about their personality?

Make a checklist with the qualities that are relevant to a candidate’s success at the company. Examples include specific experience needed for the job, educational requirements, and personality traits.

Examples of checklist items:

  • Educational background requirements
  • Required technical certifications
  • What they liked/dislikes about past jobs
  • What their professional goals are

Track the length of employment for those who were hired. Record their performance reviews and provide insight into why certain patterns may be occurring.

Make a formal handbook or SOP that leadership or HR can be trained on that includes the information, insight, and best practices on hiring. Here is an example of what a hiring process SOP looks like. Have leadership or HR continue the building on the hiring retrospective as needed with new data or observations.

Common takeaways from a retrospective include:

  • Where to focus recruiting efforts

Where do most of the highest performing employees come from?

  • Repeating themes that reveal common pro’s and con’s of candidate

What do the different groups of candidates have in common, and what makes  them unique?

  • What experience is needed prior to interviewing

Can the candidate be trained on something they don’t have experience in, or is that experience necessary before coming on board?

  • A feel for the right personality traits that top candidates share
    Are there certain personality traits that you are looking for in salespeope that are different from operational support? Use this

Lastly, try to remember to not let any biased opinions you might have affect the hiring retrospective. Try to be as objective as possible when reviewing facts about a position and the candidates.

The chart below shows examples of initial hiring problems, solutions, all of which can be included in a hiring retrospective.

Source for chart: https://www.typeform.com/blog/inside-story/time-to-hire/

Conclusion

The process of documenting the hiring process and turning it into a hiring retrospective will be an invaluable resource for the new leadership or HR team responsible for hiring. The main goal should be for the new leadership or HR team member to be able to read the hiring retrospective and completely understand the interviewing and hiring strategy put forth by the founder. They can now continue growing the employee base in an effective manner.

If you’d like to create a timeline for hiring effective salespeople, here is an example of step by step:

An effective hiring timeline to follow

Day 1: Meet with the team

Who: Leadership / Founder / Hiring Manager

Meet with leadership, founders, and/or hiring managers to decide on the needs, titles, budgets, and which outlets the job will be promoted on.

Day 2: Develop the job descriptions and add the open position to the company website.

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

Come up with a clear job description, including the needed requirements and capabilities.

Day 3: Create image for social media posts, post the job to LinkedIn, etc.

Who: Social media team / Hiring Manager

Share the image, job description, and a link to apply on the company LinkedIn page. Remember to tag any stakeholders in the post. For ideas on images to create, check Canva.com and Google “we’re hiring images” for inspiration.

Day 4: Create a profile on the sales-specific hiring platform Rainmakers.co

Who: Founder or Leadership or Hiring Manager

Where: https://www.rainmakers.co/employers/

Add your company and develop your candidate needs. Batches of candidates will be delivered every Monday.

Day 5/First Monday after creating Rainmakers profile: Review candidates in Rainmakers

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

Look through the candidates who have shown interest in the position through Rainmakers.co. Since batches are delivered each Monday, there will be a consistent flow of applicants through the platform.

Day 6: Create jobs on relevant general job boards

Who: Team Leads / Hiring Manager

If you don’t find a suitable candidate after the first week on Rainmakers, you can post on general job boards like LinkedIn Jobs, Indeed, and Monster.

Day 9 – Day 20 Review resumes

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

First, eliminate any applicants who without a doubt don’t fit the profile of the candidate you are looking for. Depending on the number of resumes you receive, you can go through them individually or use a screening tool to help narrow down the pool.

**If the position has not been filled:

Day 12: Review the next batch of applicants through Rainmakers.co

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

Review the second batch of candidates through the Rainmakers platform if the position has not been filled yet.

**If the position has not been filled:

Day 19: Review the next batch of applicants through Rainmakers.co

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

Review the third batch of candidates through the Rainmakers platform if the position has not been filled yet.

Day 21: Reach out to top resumes for a phone interview

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

After the first batch of resumes have been reviewed and narrowed down, you can begin reaching out for phone interviews. The first phone interview can be relatively brief, 10-15 minutes, and can be viewed as a second screening device.

Day 22: Schedule face-to-face interviews

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

For the candidates who did well throughout the phone interview, you can begin reaching out to schedule a face-to-face interview. It is recommended that the interview itself should be held in a neutral space within the building such as a conference room, not your office. Your questions should focus on the candidates experience which relates to the job requirements.

Day 23: Use a predictive assessment tool

Who: Hiring Manager

You may choose to put a predictive assessment survey in place to determine the candidates current and future work skills.

Day 24: Schedule a second face-to-face interview

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

The second in-person interview can be used to answer any questions, clear up discrepancies, and to sell the candidate on the position. This can also be used to broadly explain what the compensation package would look like should they come on board.

Day 24 Continued: Job Shadow

Who: Leadership & Employees

While the candidate is in the office, it is a good time to have them shadow an employee for 30 minutes. Allow them to have a taste of what the day-to-day aspects of the job is like, and see what feedback they had on the experience.

**If the position has not been filled:

Day 26: Review the next batch of applicants through Rainmakers.co

Who: Leadership or Hiring Manager

Review the fourth batch of candidates through the Rainmakers platform if the position has not been filled yet.

Day 26: Check their references

Who: Hiring Manager

Call the candidate’s references and ask them about their experience and capabilities that relate directly to the job.

Day 27: Sending out a job offer

Who: Hiring Manager

If the right candidate makes it through the whole process and you and your team believe they would be the right fit for the company, send out a job offer. Make sure important details like compensation, schedule, and benefits are clear and unambiguous.

Day 28: Remove the open job listing

Who: Hiring Manager

If the candidate accepts the job offer, remove the open job listings from all relevant websites and job boards. Congratulations on your new hire!

Source: https://www.ecsellinstitute.com/steps-in-the-recruitment-and-selection-process

Here’s a link to a resource for deploying this process internally using Slack.

___

Other useful links to help you brainstorm your new hiring retrospective:

How To Hire A Top Inside Salesperson

Your company is in need of a salesperson, but not just any salesperson, you need a rockstar. So how do you go about hiring a top inside salesperson?

First, determine your needs

It’s important to meet with your team to determine what to look for in a candidate. Think about your needs. You may need someone with specific sales experience in your industry/vertical, or maybe you just want someone with key affiliations or networks that your business can tap into. Opening these questions up to your team will shape the vision for your ideal candidate.

Come up with an offer

What type of competitive package can you put together to attract the right talent? Don’t just consider compensation, but also bonuses, benefits, and additional perks. It’s all about the complete package when winning over top salespeople who may be considering others from multiple companies.

• Compensation – The base salary, which does not include commission or bonuses. This can be considered a “base” for a sales person to build their annual salary off of.

• Bonuses – This can include annual bonuses, spot bonuses, or milestone bonuses. Bonuses can be used as both an incentive for performance and as an effective way to show thanks for hard working employees.

• Benefits – This can include healthcare, paid time off, retirement savings plans, and maternity/paternity leave. Often times benefits are a competitive aspect of the overall job offer.

• Setting on-track earnings expectations – This is what a salesperson can expect their final annual earnings to be, rolling together both their salary and their commission potential. This shows them what is possible if they are on track with, or exceed, expectations.

• Additional perks – Working remotely, wellness programs, training opportunities, and volunteer-time-off are all attractive perks for a potential candidate to consider. These can be viewed as “icing on the cake” to all of the above.

Start the Search

Start with your personal network. Reach out to colleagues and other business leaders in your network to let them know about your needs and see if they know anybody who would fit the role. Look through your Linkedin and Facebook contacts to refresh your memory of possible people to reach out to, and don’t forget to ask your team to keep the open position in mind while looking at their own networks.

Action Plan:

Here is an easy action plan that utilizes your network to get things rolling:

1. Start making a list of the best salespeople you know, even if you know they aren’t available for hire.  Go through your LinkedIn and Facebook connections to make sure you don’t miss anybody.

2. Reach out and schedule lunch or dinner with them to talk about the opportunity

3. Ask the question – “Would you consider joining us?

4. Follow up with the next question – “If you did join us, which salespeople would you most want to bring on board too?”

5. Ask for an introduction to the salespeople they refer.

6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 with those who were referred.

7. Repeat steps 1 – 6 until a hire is made.

Hype it up online by posting about the job on LinkedIn and any other company social media accounts with exciting verbiage about the opportunity and an eye-catching image. If possible, promote the announcement so it reaches a larger, more specific audience, and be sure to emphasize the exciting opportunities for growth and success for whoever gets the new sales role.

Post the job to a localized and specialized platform that focuses on your industry/vertical, such as BuiltIn or Rainmakers. Specialized platforms like these filter out many of the unqualified candidates that clog up traditional mass-hiring platforms. For example, Rainmakers specializes in finding jobs for established, top-tier salespeople who are looking to make their next big move. Depending on your needs, there are additional resources like Stack Overflow Jobs, the monthly Hacker News “Who is Hiring” thread, and AngelList.

  • BuiltIn (NYC/SF/Chicago…) BuiltIn is an online community for startups in the tech hubs of Austin, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, NYC, and Seattle.
  • Rainmakers (NYC/SF…) Rainmakers specializes in connecting high-performing salespeople with companies that need people with proven sales results

  • Glassdoor Glassdoor is a platform that hosts millions of jobs and includes information on salary and anonymous company reviews.

You or your internal recruiters can cold outreach by searching on LinkedIn for possible candidates and reaching out through a message on LinkedIn and through email. Remember to only contact individuals through their personal emails and not their company emails to avoid being blocked. If a recruiter is doing the outreach it’s important that they know the qualities to look for in your ideal candidate before initiating contact. While it may take longer to find a good candidate through cold outreach, it’s a good practice to keep up while your other plans are in motion. – Add about not calling

Get local with membership groups and meetups

LinkedIn Local – LinkedIn Local is a global platform for organizing and attending networking events, roundtable discussions, and workshops in cities near you.

Modern Sales Pro – Modern Sales Pro (MSP) hosts regular in-person and online events focused around sales techniques and best practices for salespeople and businesses. This event in May of 2019 focused on growing a large sales organization while still being nimble.

SalesAssembly.com – Sales Assembly helps tech/SaaS companies sale by providing resources, tools, and a peer based community that hosts regular events and workshops In a recent event called “Amplifying the Top of the Sales Funnel,” they discussed strategies for amplifying initial interest from potential customers.

Victorylap.io – Victory Lap is a talent platform for sales professionals that links them up with the companies that need them. They also specialize in helping companies train and retain top sales talent.

Meetup.com

Start a Meetup group and schedule a recruiting event. Meetups are easy to organize and can bring out good local talent for face-to-face introductory conversations. Search for examples of Sales Meetups on Meetup.com to get ideas on locations and event itineraries. You may also consider hosting “lunch and learn” events focused on salespeople and growing a successful career based on sales to attract candidates.

Examples:

  1. https://www.meetup.com/smallbusinesstech/
  2. https://www.meetup.com/Tech-Sales-and-Pre-Sales-Professionals-in-the-Bay-Area/
  3. https://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Tech-Startup-Networking-Training-Events/

Conclusion

Hiring the right salesperson can be tough, but there are many useful and creative ways to find who you are looking for. Leveraging your network, using strategic digital platforms, and hosting events are all possible ways to help you spend time on the right types of candidates and lead to your new top inside salesperson coming on board!

How to Attract and Retain Top Sales Reps in A Competitive Market [Event]


Sales has quickly become the #1 hiring priority among tech companies, and the market is more competitive than ever. Not only is it more challenging to find and attract salespeople, but also to retain them.

Come and join your peers and top industry experts as we discuss strategies to keep up with the ever-changing sales hiring and recruiting market. The goal is for all of us to walk away with actionable insights on how to improve (or build) our own processes.

Some of the topics we’ll be covering:

  • Inbound pipeline – employer branding and creative ways to bring the candidates to you
  • Sourcing – tools and methodologies for finding and contacting those hard-to-reach candidates
  • Retaining – best practices for making your company the right environment for the salespeople you hire
  • Diversity – how to find and attract diverse sales candidates, and create an environment of inclusion

If sales hiring is a priority, you won’t want to miss this.

This event is exclusively for internal recruiting teams and internal talent and HR leadership. Please, no third party / agency recruiters!

When: June 13, 2019 – Thursday.  6:00pm – 8:30pmWhen – 6-7pm, but advertise for earlierSetup: 4:30pm – 5pm

Where: 181 2nd Street – Main Lounge

Why: Sales recruiting is a challenge. Let’s help each other.



About the speakers:

Jessica Bent:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/jessicarbent/

Jessica Bent currently works in the San Francisco Bay Area as a Recruiter for Crunchbase, a platform for finding information about private and public businesses. She revamped Crunchbase’s hiring processes company wide, created a referral program resulting in 20% more referrals within the first two quarters, and is responsible for developing onboarding processes to mentor and train new hires.

Jessica’s received her Bachelor of Arts degree from San Francisco State University and her former roles include being a Recruiter for Wish, an HR/Admin Associate for Foreo, and a Benefits Administrator for Restoration Hardware.


Luke Baseda:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/lbeseda/


Luke Baseda is the VP of Talent for Lightspeed Venture Partners, an early-state venture capital firm located in Menlo Park, CA that focuses on accelerating innovations and trends in the Enterprise and Consumer sectors. Lightspeed has helped build over 300 companies including Nutanix, AppDynamics, MuleSoft, and The Honest Company.

Luke recived his Bachelor of Arts degree from Syracuse University and his prior roles include Head of Recruiting for Flurry, Inc. and Head of Talent Acquisition at Nextag.com/WizeCommerce.


Gordon Lewis:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/gordon-lewis-4624691a/

Gordon Lewis is the Head of Talent & Recruiting at Scout RFP in San Francisco, CA. Scout RFP is a sourcing and supplier engagement platform used to streamline procurement processes for SaaS companies.

Gordon’s former roles include being an Advisory Board Member for Rainmakers.co, Talent Staffing Consultant for TapInfluence, and Interm Head of Talent for LendUp. He attended the University of California, Berkeley.


Mario Espindola:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/marioespindola/

Mario Espindola is the Head of Recruiting and Talent for BuildingConnected in San Francisco, CA. Mario has developed several company wide talent programs including referral programs, health/wellness programs, and company performance management.

Mario received his Bachelor of Arts degree from California State University-Chico and his prior roles include Advisor for PeopleTech Partners, Advisor for Rainmakers.co, and Consultant – Talent for Connery Consulting.

About Rainmakers:

Rainmakers is the data-driven sales hiring platform. The coolest tech companies utilize Rainmakers to hire top, diverse sales talent including Crunchbase, Affirm, Algolia, JFrog, BuildingConnected, and Scout RFP.

So if you’re looking to build or scale your sales team, and want to connect directly with pre-screened candidates, come and chat with a member of our team or email us directly at mike.fossi@rainmakers.co Attracting top sales talent.


How To Hire A Top Inside Salesperson

Your company is in need of a salesperson, but not just any salesperson, you need a rockstar. So how do you go about hiring a top inside salesperson?

First, determine your needs

It’s important to meet with your team to determine what to look for in a candidate. Think about your needs. You may need someone with specific sales experience in your industry/vertical, or maybe you just want someone with key affiliations or networks that your business can tap into. Opening these questions up to your team will shape the vision for your ideal candidate.

Come up with an offer

What type of competitive package can you put together to attract the right talent? Don’t just consider compensation, but also bonuses, benefits, and additional perks. It’s all about the complete package when winning over top salespeople who may be considering others from multiple companies.

• Compensation – The base salary, which does not include commission or bonuses. This can be considered a “base” for a sales person to build their annual salary off of.

• Bonuses – This can include annual bonuses, spot bonuses, or milestone bonuses. Bonuses can be used as both an incentive for performance and as an effective way to show thanks for hard working employees.

• Benefits – This can include healthcare, paid time off, retirement savings plans, and maternity/paternity leave. Often times benefits are a competitive aspect of the overall job offer.

• Setting on-track earnings expectations – This is what a salesperson can expect their final annual earnings to be, rolling together both their salary and their commission potential. This shows them what is possible if they are on track with, or exceed, expectations.

• Additional perks – Working remotely, wellness programs, training opportunities, and volunteer-time-off are all attractive perks for a potential candidate to consider. These can be viewed as “icing on the cake” to all of the above.

Start the Search

Start with your personal network. Reach out to colleagues and other business leaders in your network to let them know about your needs and see if they know anybody who would fit the role. Look through your Linkedin and Facebook contacts to refresh your memory of possible people to reach out to, and don’t forget to ask your team to keep the open position in mind while looking at their own networks.

Action Plan:

Here is an easy action plan that utilizes your network to get things rolling:

1. Start making a list of the best salespeople you know, even if you know they aren’t available for hire.  Go through your LinkedIn and Facebook connections to make sure you don’t miss anybody.

2. Reach out and schedule lunch or dinner with them to talk about the opportunity

3. Ask the question – “Would you consider joining us?

4. Follow up with the next question – “If you did join us, which salespeople would you most want to bring on board too?”

5. Ask for an introduction to the salespeople they refer.

6. Repeat steps 2 – 5 with those who were referred.

7. Repeat steps 1 – 6 until a hire is made.

Hype it up online by posting about the job on LinkedIn and any other company social media accounts with exciting verbiage about the opportunity and an eye-catching image. If possible, promote the announcement so it reaches a larger, more specific audience, and be sure to emphasize the exciting opportunities for growth and success for whoever gets the new sales role.

Post the job to a localized and specialized platform that focuses on your industry/vertical, such as BuiltIn or Rainmakers. Specialized platforms like these filter out many of the unqualified candidates that clog up traditional mass-hiring platforms. For example, Rainmakers specializes in finding jobs for established, top-tier salespeople who are looking to make their next big move. Depending on your needs, there are additional resources like Stack Overflow Jobs, the monthly Hacker News “Who is Hiring” thread, and AngelList.

  • BuiltIn (NYC/SF/Chicago…) BuiltIn is an online community for startups in the tech hubs of Austin, Boston, Chicago, Colorado, Los Angeles, NYC, and Seattle.
  • Rainmakers (NYC/SF…) Rainmakers specializes in connecting high-performing salespeople with companies that need people with proven sales results

  • Glassdoor Glassdoor is a platform that hosts millions of jobs and includes information on salary and anonymous company reviews.

You or your internal recruiters can cold outreach by searching on LinkedIn for possible candidates and reaching out through a message on LinkedIn and through email. Remember to only contact individuals through their personal emails and not their company emails to avoid being blocked. If a recruiter is doing the outreach it’s important that they know the qualities to look for in your ideal candidate before initiating contact. While it may take longer to find a good candidate through cold outreach, it’s a good practice to keep up while your other plans are in motion.

Get local with membership groups and meetups

LinkedIn Local – LinkedIn Local is a global platform for organizing and attending networking events, roundtable discussions, and workshops in cities near you.

Modern Sales Pro – Modern Sales Pro (MSP) hosts regular in-person and online events focused around sales techniques and best practices for salespeople and businesses. This event in May of 2019 focused on growing a large sales organization while still being nimble.

SalesAssembly.com – Sales Assembly helps tech/SaaS companies sale by providing resources, tools, and a peer based community that hosts regular events and workshops In a recent event called “Amplifying the Top of the Sales Funnel,” they discussed strategies for amplifying initial interest from potential customers.

Victorylap.io – Victory Lap is a talent platform for sales professionals that links them up with the companies that need them. They also specialize in helping companies train and retain top sales talent.

Meetup.com

Start a Meetup group and schedule a recruiting event. Meetups are easy to organize and can bring out good local talent for face-to-face introductory conversations. Search for examples of Sales Meetups on Meetup.com to get ideas on locations and event itineraries. You may also consider hosting “lunch and learn” events focused on salespeople and growing a successful career based on sales to attract candidates.

Examples:

  1. https://www.meetup.com/smallbusinesstech/
  2. https://www.meetup.com/Tech-Sales-and-Pre-Sales-Professionals-in-the-Bay-Area/
  3. https://www.meetup.com/Bay-Area-Tech-Startup-Networking-Training-Events/

Conclusion

Hiring the right salesperson can be tough, but there are many useful and creative ways to find who you are looking for. Leveraging your network, using strategic digital platforms, and hosting events are all possible ways to help you spend time on the right types of candidates and lead to your new top inside salesperson coming on board!

How to Hire Salespeople that Have Leadership Qualities

Young business woman presenting his ideas on whiteboard to colleagues

If you run a company, then your employees are your most valuable asset. You need to make sure you are bringing the best people on board that you can afford. That way, they will lead your team and find new ways to make your company more valuable in the marketplace. This takes the right approach. Use the tips below to ensure you get the best:

Do Your Background Work
Making sure you have the right employee with the leadership qualities you want starts with background probe. You can never know exactly if someone is telling the truth or not. They could say anything when they are interviewing for the position.

When you conduct a background check, be sure to look for criminal activity. Also, verify their references. You want to ensure they aren’t making anything up with regards to where they have worked before. This will help you screen them from the beginning to look for leadership qualities and other aspects that may be helpful to you.

Verifying references is something that people tend to skip over because it does lead to more work. But being able to hear from someone about how good of a worker a potential candidate is may end up saving you more time in the long run. Of course everyone puts their best references forward, so being able to ask the right questions and sort through the fluff is very important. Questions like “tell me what it is like to work with the job candidate?” and “how well did the candidate get along with their coworkers?” are great to get a feeler about the potential employee.

Look at Their Resume

A resume is a great presentation of what someone can accomplish. You will want to look at their entire resume. Look for areas where they were being a leader. This could have meant a management position. However, this is not always the case.

Sometimes, great leaders come from regular positions. They might have been in sales but they put up the best numbers in their department. Perhaps they were great at motivating others to perform at a higher level. This is why digging deeper on their resume will help you uncover their true strengths.

In addition, learn to read between the lines. Sometimes, certain goals or quotas that they met are not as impressive as it sounds. You need to understand what they are really saying so that you don’t get seduced by buzzwords.

Watch Their Social Media
In today’s world, you can’t get away from social media. Everyone’s life is online. If your employees have a social media account that you can access, then do it. It will give you insight into what they put out there in the world.

There is nothing wrong with having a personal life. However, these are people who will be putting their face out there for your company. They should have profiles that are professional and not filled with questionable content. Who they are behind a screen can tell a lot about their character and who they will be as an employee. Doing a quick check online can save a lot of headache in the end.

Keep an Eye on Them in the Beginning
The onboarding process is essential to keep your eye on carefully. How they handle training is crucial. If they are asking great questions and showing that they are proactive, then this is a bonus. However, if they can’t be bothered to learn the basic materials, then that says something about their ability to lead in the future as a member of your company.

Give Them More Responsibility
When you have brought them on board, the hiring process is not over yet. You are still looking for ways they can lead. Try giving them special assignments. See how they react. If they produce great results, then they could be showing a lot of promise early on.

Conduct Reviews
Regular performance reviews are a must. However, this is even more true for someone who might be a leader in your company. Look for the ways they communicate with others. If they are liked in the company, then that is the first step.

In today’s world, a great employee is priceless. They can make all the difference between how much your company profits or declines. You don’t want to jump the gun on an employee that is not a great fit. So use the tips above. They will help you evaluate and hire the right leaders that can help your entire team perform at their best.

 

This is a Guest Post by Craig Middleton.

Craig has worked as a Business Consultant, Real Estate Agent , and HR businesses for most of his professional career. He graduated at UC Berkeley with a bachelor’s degree in Marketing.

Hiring Salespeople for Gender Diversity

Here at Rainmakers, we are helping sales teams to hire the best talent in the industry.  One request always comes up: “How do we hire more female candidates?” Companies are more focused than ever on building a diverse workforce, which makes for an even more competitive talent market.

 

It’s no secret that there are fewer women in tech sales than there are men. By using the same old recruiting strategies, companies are going to perpetuate this ratio.

 

  1. Broaden your hiring profile – many companies screen their sales candidates with only two criteria: what companies they have worked at, and what university they attended. While there’s no doubt these candidates may be a good fit, it will continue to yield the same results in terms of hiring. It’s important that companies start to think outside the box and find overlapping sales experience rather than just looking at logos. One option is to use a platform like Rainmakers that provides objective sales data for candidates.

 

  1.  Create standardized interview questions across the board – Hiring teams have now begun to create “interview question banks” for hiring managers to use when interviewing.  This allows for the same questions to be asked for each candidate coming through the door, and helps to further eliminate unintentional bias.

 

  1.  Re-write your job descriptions to attract more diverse candidates – Women are much less likely to apply for a job if they don’t meet 100% of the criteria, compared to male candidates who apply even if they only meet 60% (Hewlett Packard Internal Report).  Rewriting your sales job description to focus on what the candidate would be responsible for accomplishing rather than a bulleted list of qualifications will make a big difference.

 

  1.  Create a diverse interview team – a candidate’s first interaction with a company will usually take place with the interview team.  With a diverse interview team, candidates from underrepresented demographics will feel more comfortable and less alienated.

 

We will be continuing the discussion around this and related topics in upcoming blog posts, as well as our live event, which we encourage all to attend.

Women in Tech Sales- Event Details

When: December 4th, 2018 at 6:00PM

SPEAKERS

Carla Sparolini

VP of Commercial Sales @ Salesforce

 

Jeanne Dewitt

Head of Sales, US & Canada @ Stripe

 

Aliisa Rosenthal

VP Sales @ Walkme

 

Rebecca Olson

VP Strategic Accounts @ Gainsight

 

MODERATED BY

Brooke Garnder

RVP of ISV Sales @ Salesforce

Where:

225 Bush Street

#2nd Floor

San Francisco, CA

94104

REGISTER HERE

Rainmaker Contributors- Emma Schumacher and Mike Fossi

Where (And How) To Find Great Sales Reps in 2019

———-This is a repost from my Sales Hiring article that was published in the Acceleprise blog————-

Sure, technology can help heat up your metrics, but only talent can sell your brand like hot cakes. In the ever-shifting market, talent spells the difference between sales organizations that are well-positioned to win the future and those that struggle just to survive the challenges of the present.

As customer centricity, account-based selling, and artificial intelligence redraw the contours of business, talent will become more crucial to keeping pipelines full, flowing, and fruitful. If your organization lacks the will to attract, recruit, and retain excellent sales professionals, then you are just exerting futile efforts at postponing failure to a later date.

After all, only sales professionals with the right skills and mindset can drive meaningful conversations with prospects and orchestrate the outcomes customers expect. Today’s consumers — especially in the B2B space — are empowered buyers looking for trustworthy consultants who can help them achieve success. They are not keen on taking cold calls from desperate sellers who primarily engage people just to make a sale and meet quotas.

Now more than ever, business organizations need buyer-focused sales professionals who possess the character and the competencies to deliver high value to both the customers they serve and the companies they work for.

In a highly competitive talent market, the process of finding, hiring, and keeping these high-performing sellers can be quite challenging.

Why is it so hard to find good sales reps?

Forward-looking enterprises with ample war chests implement aggressive recruitment and retention strategies for top sales talent. These enterprises already deploy many excellent professionals on their sales floor. Given the emerging business realities, these highly competitive companies simply couldn’t afford not to.

For one thing, businesses improve profitability by as much as 30% when they hire top-notch candidates, according to a Gallup poll. In the B2B space, moreover, corporate clients have nearly unlimited access to information about alternative products, and virtually nothing prevents them from brand-hopping at will. If your sellers lack the skills at building effective solutions and at keeping these solutions relevant throughout the customer lifecycle, then closing deals and reducing customer churn will both be very difficult. Which, as you well know, leads to diluted revenue, profit margins, and morale.

Hiring anyone just to fill the vacuum wouldn’t do, either. In fact, poor hires cost a lot more in direct and collateral damage than not hiring in the first place. A bad hire causes your team to lose a substantial amount of time, money, and energy, with some estimates placing financial loss at hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars per year just for one bad hiring decision.

Meanwhile, the challenges of selling as a field also cause most people to shun sales as a career option, even compelling a significant number of practitioners to shift their line of work. Either effect further trims the number of competent sales professionals in the market.

Best channels to find good sales reps

If your organization plans to recruit the best sellers, there are a few places you would want to check out.

Start with your personal network

Your social and professional network covers your family and friends as well as acquaintances from grade school, the fitness club, and the workplace. Your network will likely include a number of competent sales practitioners, professionals who enjoy working with people, or individuals who are good at articulating value and convincing others to view things from a particular perspective. You can reach out to these people and probe whether some are open to working in a sales organization with you.

  • Pros: Reconnecting with people you already know could be fun and won’t take as much effort.
  • Cons: The process of identifying competent sales professionals or individuals with high potential in sales would be informal at best and largely dependent on your hunch/intuition. Overpromising on the benefits may also cause a strain in otherwise friendly relationships.
  • Tips: Don’t overlook your alumni association from high school and college, as well as the business associations and social clubs you’ve joined in the past. Also consider sales professionals who have reached out to you regarding business matters. If they’ve managed to make you sign a subscription, perhaps they’ll be good at selling your product as well.

Ask for referrals and recommendations

If gleaning potential sales superstars from your network doesn’t work as planned, you can always request for referrals. Just like you, your friend or acquaintance knows somebody who works as a high-flying real estate agent or someone who has an uncanny ability at persuading people. Unless you have other options with higher odds of success, referred candidates would be worth checking out.

  • Pros:  Building new relationships is easier when you have common reference points: in these case, your mutual contact and your shared interest in selling.
  • Cons: The competency or potential of the recommended individual depends on how the referrer defines what a “good seller” is.
  • Tips: Remember to request for updated contact information and as much detail about the person as possible. Also, getting referrals from acquaintances who work as recruiters or sales leaders would be doubly valuable since you can assume these recommendations have been vetted more professionally.

Optimize events and meetups

Industry events such as seminars, trade shows, workshops, and conferences are premium opportunities for relationship building. They’re also great for sniffing out and assessing potential hires.

  • Pros: Social events that relate to your industry help narrow the talent pool to those who are highly relevant to your business.
  • Cons: Most attendees would already be connected to other companies and brands. However, the vast majority of them are also likely to be looking for better career opportunities, according to HubSpot.
  • Tips: Tread lightly and be subtle. Limit yourself to building connections if your new prospect does not send positive signals that he or she is looking for a new employer. It’s not good to antagonize other industry players and be tagged as a “talent poacher.” Also, hang-out in places where executives and sellers usually go. There might be opportunities of discovering eager talent once in a while.

Squeeze LinkedIn dry

The planet’s largest professional network is perhaps the best place to build a shortlist of potential sales hires. The site’s powerful search functions can help you find qualified (but often presently employed) sellers in your particular market niche. You can also post job ads and reach thousands of professionals who meet your standards and qualifications.

  • Pros: LinkedIn is purposely designed for businesses, professionals, and everything in between. It is a vast marketplace of ideas, products, and talent.
  • Cons: Applying to job postings over LinkedIn is so easy your recruitment campaign might be swamped with applications too quickly for you to catch up and effectively select candidates who meet your requirements.
  • Tips: Require additional information, a portfolio if appropriate, and a cover letter. These will help you get more pertinent information on top of what’s already available in candidates’ account profiles. Moreover, these will help you gauge whether a particular candidate is really interested in your posting (i.e., less interested candidates will not bother to submit additional requirements). Having said that, be wary also of desperate job hunters who’ll do anything to get an interview.

Explore other social media sites

If you need an entire brigade to fill your sales floor, then you can go beyond LinkedIn to other social media networks such as Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Quora. Hundreds of millions of people visit these networks regularly to communicate their message and join conversations that matter to them.

  • Pros: It’s free. You can start with your online social network and expand the search from there. There are also communities — especially on Instagram and Facebook — that could be very relevant to your business. Moreover, any sales candidate gleaned from these networks can arguably be considered “social media savvy,” a desired trait for new generations of sellers.
  • Cons: There are a lot of noise on social media that will make your search hazy. You can easily get distracted and lose precious time navigating random distractions.
  • Tips: You can use market research to target specific demographics you are envisioning for your salesforce. Millennials and younger workers, for example, tend to use Instagram and SnapChat more while highly knowledgeable and opinionated professionals follow conversations on Quora.

Conduct campus recruitment

Leverage the good relationships you’ve built at your alma mater. For open internships at your sales organization, your old campus may just be the hunting ground you need. Go beyond your college to other academic institutions in the area if you need to create a larger talent pool.

  • Pros: College students and new grads are generally eager to enter the workplace. They are more flexible and trainable compared to candidates who have been in the job market for a while.
  • Cons: It may take tons of training to get young talent truly prepared for the tough world of selling.
  • Tips: Look for the right attitude, motivation, and behavior.

Traditional sales recruiters, headhunters, and job sites

Job sites such as Monster, Glassdoor, and Indeed.com provide the online interfaces that connect recruiters with job applicants. Like LinkedIn and specialist career marketplaces, job recruiting sites offer the best success rates for your staffing needs.

  • Pros: You get straightforward recruiting services. You also gain insightful job market data such as median salaries for specific positions, industry, and locations.
  • Cons: Getting the best results might entail costs. You will also be competing with similar recruiters targeting the same subset of applicants on the site.
  • Tips: Streamline and clarify your job posting. Make it stand out from the posts of rival recruiters. Use site features such as Glassdoor’s employer reviews to gather worker sentiment and find professionals who might be “open” to trying out other employers.

Fine-tune your search via career marketplaces

Online career marketplaces such as Rainmakers attract the best employers and the top practitioners in a specific field. When these parties meet, excellence happens.

  • Pros: Sales-oriented career marketplaces like Rainmakers already screen candidates for different sales roles and allow only highly competent practitioners to join its marketplace. Talent profiles are generally more in-depth than their accounts on LinkedIn, saving recruiters precious research time when hiring salespeople.
  • Cons: Top-notch services usually come with a price tag.
  • Tips: Use special features such as Rainmakers’ sales performance history to better assess a candidate’s credentials.

Online vs Offline?

Staffing your sales organization can take the offline or online route, or both. Depending on the situation, you can get the best of online and offline recruitment to benefit the final makeup of your sales team. So, make the best of in-person meet-ups during events and conferences. But don’t forget to put your best foot forward when hunting for talent online.

Some final tips and tactics

Sales recruitment is not only a challenging task, but one whose impact can create a powerful chain reaction far down the road. If you’ve hired the right people, then expect positive outcomes to pop up here and there. But if you enable bad candidates to come on board, the damage in terms of time, money, and morale can be devastating. Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh once claimed that bad hires cost the company $100 million.

So take sales recruitment seriously. Hire specifically for the task you need done but never discount character and motivation. Technical skills should always go hand-on-hand with attitude. For experienced roles, consider the candidate’s professional selling history, relevant training, and certifications.

Don’t settle for less. Do your homework as a diligent recruiter and the rest will follow. Remember, nothing else can move your business further than highly motivated talent.

Rainmakers presents- Women in Tech Sales

Rainmakers is excited to be hosting the upcoming Women in Tech Sales event in San Francisco.

We are proud to take part in the ongoing discussion around diversity and inclusion, with an emphasis on women in tech sales.

Unbiased Hiring and Inclusion in Tech Sales

Unbiased hiring helps to retain employees, strengthen team dynamics, and improve productivity and innovation.  Talent acquisition and HR teams lead the front lines in bridging the gap of gender diversity, especially in the tech sector.  Yet we can do more, which is why our event will help continue the conversation around improving culture and the hiring process for gender diversity.

As more companies focus on bridging the gap, diversity hiring becomes more challenging.  Recruiters and talent acquisition leaders everywhere are being asked to improve workplace diversity, yet it is becoming harder and harder to move the needle. Challenges can stem from pipeline issues to unconscious bias, onboarding and more.

Here at Rainmakers, we continue to work with tech companies of all sizes to help with their gender diversity hiring efforts, and create a culture that helps to attract diverse talent.  We invited some of the top sales and hiring leaders in the space to discuss the subject, as well as address other topics around gender diversity.

Rainmakers Series on Diversity and Inclusion

In addition, we will be launching a multi-part series on these topics leading up to our live event.  Whether you are in recruiting, HR, or any role we encourage you to follow our blog, and attend our event to participate in a live discussion around promoting gender diversity in the sales hiring process.

Women in Tech Sales- Event Details

When: December 4th, 2018 at 6:00PM

SPEAKERS

Carla Sparolini
VP of Commercial Sales @ Salesforce

Jeanne Dewitt
Head of Sales, US & Canada @ Stripe

Aliisa Rosenthal
VP Sales @ Walkme

Rebecca Olson
VP Strategic Accounts @ Gainsight


MODERATED BY

Brooke Garnder
RVP of ISV Sales @ Salesforce

Where:

225 Bush Street

#2nd Floor

San Francisco, CA

94104

REGISTER HERE

Rainmaker Contributors- Emma Schumacher and Mike Fossi

Why You Need Competent Salespeople to Grow Your Startup

A business is only as good as it’s employees. No matter how great your idea or how much money has been invested, if you don’t have a good team, your done. Superior talent is up to eight times (800%) more productive than average performers. The return on value here is massive. Often employers are looking for cheap hires to cut down on overhead, this is the exact wrong way to think about the process. Hire talent and watch the revenue increase.

There is an intense War for Talent going on as we speak. Fortune 500 companies are constantly competing to find, hire, and retain elite professionals. Despite their ability to pay skilled work 82% of the top companies still feel that they are unable to hire and hold highly skilled talent.

Here lies the problem for startups. With the great competition among the elites, there is no chance a startup will be able to land top talent. Even if they do, it would be almost impossible to hold them for long.

Do not even waste your time with undesired sales candidates. It may seem like a quick fix or the potential hire may show potential, but unfortunately many people are experts at being mediocre. Before hiring you must take a long hard look at your brand, culture, and recruitment plan. Welcoming people who seem motivated isn’t enough. Anybody can show up with a smile and promise the world.

4 Problems With Your Startup Strategy:

  1. You don’t know where to look
  2. Your brand is dull
  3. You don’t provide enough benefits
  4. You provide no long-term growth

1) You don’t know where to look

The one thing you can always expect is for things to change. Hiring processes that worked for baby boomer won’t work for the millennials and younger generations. For better or for worse a whole new generation of employees are slowly entering the workforce. This means that traditional hiring methods such as job boards or online postings are no longer relevant. Talented salespeople, more often than not, are already making deals and forming relationships. You won’t catch them looking for a job on indeed.com.

Before you hire talent, you need to have a vision of what you want that talent to be. Understand the persona of your ideal candidate. Once you have an idea of who they are, you can position yourself to get into their field of vision. Social media is a creative way to present your brand in a way that is enticing and powerful to potential employees.  Get your content/brand in industry events and conferences, and on specialist sites that provide content, training, and other resources for sales professionals

2) Your brand is dull

No matter what your niche there will always be an audience who supports your market. You need to establish that your niche is cool and attractive, just because it may seem boring to a mainstream audience, doesn’t mean you can’t strut your brand like your Elon Musk. A dull company leads to dull work, avoid it at all cost.

Your brand matters to millennials and younger generations who place a high premium on “experience” and online reputation. Many companies provide reviews to for people looking for jobs. You need to make sure your corporate culture is seen by many to be fun, engaging, and rewarding. Value people over outdated systems, promote health and happiness over deadlines and 30-minute lunches.  Your company culture will speak volumes to potential hires. Millennials want a place to not only work, but to live.

 

3) Your Compensation Plans do not Give Reps Enough Incentive

This is extremely important. Highly talented workers consider compensation one of their highest priorities when looking for a job. The whole idea of hiring a talented employee is to increase revenue one way or another. You need to be generous with your salary because that is one of the major stepping stones when getting someone in the door.

Always be honest when it comes to compensation. Any trickery here can seriously harm your reputation for years to come. However, don’t just come out and show potential candidates your above-market rates. Instead, provide a package which includes training, flexible schedule, and other perks first. Then surprise them with a handsome paycheck.

4) You Provide no Long-Term Growth

Perhaps the single most important element of the hiring process is long-term growth. Talent wants to work on the projects their skilled in, do not have them doing monotonous soul-sucking tasks. Show them a path upwards and that promotion is possible. This ties into having a scalable business model set in the first place. If you don’t know how to manage your talent appropriately and your business structure has no upward growth, you’re not getting the talent you need.

This is easier said than done, but figure out a way to make the work fun. Show your employees that the work their doing is contributing to the success and growth of the company and reward them whenever you can. Highlight advantages such as company-subsidized professional development programs, travel incentives, generous commissions, job meaning, and impact, as well as clear career paths and growth avenues for sellers.

Conclusion

You need competent salespeople to grow your startup. But they are hard to find and rarely come cheap. For highly skilled and motivated sellers to join your team, you have to do your part as a responsible employer that values its people. And it all starts with the applicant journey as sales candidates go through the stages of your recruitment process. To hire the best people, offer the best value you can.