Recently while meeting with the EVP of Sales of a large public company, he said several things that surprised me coming from an executive of email database for sale such a large company. He said that his sales leaders’ number one job was recruiting sales people. At that point, I high-fived him for coming to an important realization. He followed this statement up with, “However, they do not know where to find quality sales people for the sales interview, nor do they know what traits and competencies to look for. We lack a best practice recruiting and hiring system. We need a field guide with a sales profile for recruiting and retaining salespeople.”
Like most sales leaders, he wanted tips for recruiting and hiring salespeople. The first tip he wanted to address is the same common question expressed by sales leaders, “Where do I find top salespeople to recruit?”
Most managers and recruiters do not have the proper paradigm around sourcing for great candidates. Most focus on getting people who do not have a job into the office for a sales interview instead of creating a network of email database for sale people who send them a steady stream of qualified candidates.
A manager told me recently that he was tired of looking for pearls among the cow patties. He was ready to start panning for gold using 21st century hydraulic equipment.
If your current approach to finding and selecting salespeople candidates is not working, try this. First, develop the profile of the best salesperson for your company. Write down the attitudes, beliefs, motivations, character traits, personality traits and sales skills you want in a candidate.
Second, put together a networking plan to build a recruiting referral network. This network will help you find more qualified candidates, both currently employed and unemployed, for your company. Just as you teach your salespeople to get out into the community to network to find prospects, you should take the same approach to recruiting salespeople.
Building a recruiting referral network is one of the most important jobs of all sales leaders. A network of people who are continuously sending you top recruits will give you a constant flow of great resumes, not just when you need to hire a salesperson. Successful sales leaders will tell you to always keep a funnel of fresh prospective candidates. You never know when you will need to fill a position on the team.
Consider this information if you are not yet convinced you should invest the time to develop this important network of contacts.
Two big issues will arise if the pool of candidates is too small.
1. It will take a long time to fill the position; no salesperson, no sales.
2. When the pool of candidates is small, we have a tendency to pick the best candidate in the pool rather than measuring all candidates in the pool against the ideal candidate we want to hire.
The question is not where do I find candidates. The real question is where do I find people who know great people who I can recruit? It is not who you know. It is who you know that knows others.