Sales recruitment best practices: 5 key considerations

What is sales recruitment?  

Simply put, sales recruitment is about finding, forming relationships and employing salespeople to earn more money for businesses. To build a sales dream team, sales recruiters must find and employ ambitious people with an internal drive to succeed. However, the challenge of sales recruitment goes far beyond simply finding the best salespeople for roles. 

The sales industry is competitive and has a higher-than-average attrition rate. One study shows that the average turnover in a sales company is 35%, while most other professions face a turnover rate of around 35%. In this article, we’ll look at practical ways to hire, onboard and retain salespeople effectively and see what makes a fantastic salesperson. 

Sales recruitment best practice 5 key considerations

What’s the difference between a consultant and a recruiter?

While talking about the subject of recruitment, it’s good to know the difference between a consultant and a recruiter. During negotiations or the hiring process, a recruiter mediates between the parties involved. They help businesses fill open positions by doing the necessary research. On the other hand, consultants research the issues, concerns, and demands of businesses and job-seekers. 

The essential skills required for a sales role

To succeed in their role, a salesperson must possess the right mix of hard and soft skills. Salespeople must have a growth mindset to develop even during tough times, show empathy and active listening skills to make the customer feel valued, possess clear communication skills to inform potential customers of products and services and keep their team in the loop, and, of course, have plenty of resilience. 

Many soft skills are innate, but lots of hard skills are learned through experience. Skills such as market research, product knowledge, pitching, client engagement and competitor awareness can be learned on the job. However, it’s important to align recruitment strategies with the sales team’s specific needs. Some sales teams might have the time to teach a new starter hard skills, while others might need an experienced salesperson to join the team after using their hard and soft skills for several years.

What is the best way to recruit a salesperson?  

1) Understand what you need from a salesperson  

We all know that when companies look for a new salesperson, they are looking for someone to make more money. But, during the recruitment process, employers and recruiters must know how that salesperson will fit in with the team, so they must outline their daily duties. Sales recruitment strategies must be optimised, and the applicant must fully understand the needs of the sales team.

Recruiters must know exactly what skills they need from a new recruit. Sales reps likely need to have strong, soft “people” skills, such as communication and empathy, as they’ll be meeting with the public every day. On the other hand, a salesperson making cold calls and sending cold emails must be highly resilient.

2) Write an intriguing job description

While most sectors struggled to bounce back after the COVID-19 pandemic, the sales sector came back fighting fit. According to The Wall Street Journal, sales roles in the US shot up by a whopping 65% in 2021, which equates to 700,000 positions. To put it simply, there’s a lot of talent out there with plenty of options, so they are less likely to apply for a role that doesn’t excite them.

When creating a job description, describe your company’s qualities, clearly set out the candidate’s duties and expectations, mention other benefits such as social activities, training and bonuses, and lay out the description in bullet points for easy reading.

3) Use sales specific assessments to evaluate candidates

Using sales specific assessments to evaluate candidates boosts productivity, reduces turnover, streamlines recruitment processes and helps you hire sales people with the right traits to succeed in the role. Tools such as Clevry’s online assessment platform offer employers deep insights into the candidate’s personality and what motivates them in the workplace. It also gives candidates the chance to showcase their abilities.

We also have a sales focused Sales Report that was built specifically for assessing candidates in sales based roles. Check out our Sales Report.

When a potential employee takes part in an assessment, they give their potential employee a well-rounded picture of who they are. These data-driven tools require lots of information about a candidate and are a fantastic way of predicting success.

4) Create an effective onboarding program

According to Hibob, 64% of new employees are likely to leave a job during their first year due to a bad onboarding experience, so it’s important to get it right. An effective sales onboarding process sets a new salesperson, and therefore the business, up for success.

During the onboarding stage, salespeople should gain company and product knowledge so they can meet their targets faster. An effective onboarding program enables salespeople to generate revenue by mastering sales techniques, integrating with their team, and continuously learning. 

5) Use skills assessments for better retention

69% of employees who experience a great onboarding experience stay in a company for three years or more. So, it’s a good idea to improve your onboarding process even before your new employee’s first day and, of course, make sure you’ve found the best person for the job. Using intelligent recruiting, such as soft skills tests and other assessments, ensures you’ll find the right person for the role. When you know the strengths and weaknesses of your new recruit, you can devise an onboarding program that meets their specific needs.

With our onboarding report, you can offer your new employee a positive experience by utilising psychometric data to set expectations early and often. When new employees know what’s expected of them, they confidently start their first day and form new relationships with ease. When a manager has access to background information, they can more easily help the new recruit work to their true potential and watch their performance improve over ongoing catch-ups and one-to-ones.        

The bottom line

Sales people are very much in demand, meaning companies will have to work harder to attract, hire and retain the best sales people who can bring them more revenue and rise above their competitors. 

If you’re an employer looking for a new salesperson, make sure you write a compelling job advert to attract the right person. When you’ve narrowed down your pool of potential employees, get a bigger picture of their personalities and abilities with psychometric tests. You can use the information found through psychometric tests to choose the best fit for your team and develop a bespoke onboarding program for your new recruit.  


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