ABC (Always be Closing), the old-school motivational phrase for sales professionals might just need to be changed to ABH, for “Always be Hiring.” Why? Because in order to make a sale, you more than a great product and a market niche. You need sales professionals who can perform in the market trenches. As hard as it is to thrive in sales, it is even harder to find stellar sales people.
Why You Need to Pay Attention to Vetting and Hiring the Best
Which is why, rather than focusing solely on seeking new sales prospects, many companies are finding that they also need to be on the hunt for those who are already top tier sales talent. The reason is clear: to succeed, you need sales people that have a built-in sales personality.
You need a specific set of traits and skills pre-installed in your team members. These traits include a high sales IQ. Meaning that they have to be able to read people, think on their feet, spot issues and turn them into opportunities, and most of all, they need to be able to build relationships with your client base. After all, when a sales team member interacts with a client or potential client, they carry your brand on their back.
Assuming they past that test, there is another hurdle they must be able to easily jump. They need industry experience, or at minimum, an ability to learn and understand the dynamics of a given niche. Since onboarding ramp up times are often short, but equally critical, bringing your team members up to speed needs to be as streamlined and seamless as possible. These things are even more important if your company is midsized, because you may have sales team members playing multiple sales roles (locating prospects, gathering and closing).
Find the best and Upgrade the rest
Obviously, you need to find sales professionals that are already vetted and experienced. But therein lies the rub. Sales professionals do not grow on trees. Study after study has shown that companies are already struggling with a shortage of sales talent. Sales talent is listed as one of the hardest vacancies, to fill, a fact that will come as no surprise to overworked sales managers.
Companies are desperate for qualified sales talent and it is only going to get worse. Millennials have shown little interest in working in sales positions. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the need for sales representatives will increase at a rate of 22% annually.
So all of this takes us right back to where we started. You need to fill positions, not just with warm bodies either. You need talented, adaptable and experienced sale pros. All of which, requires careful planning and most of all, time. As they say though, time, in this case, really is money.
Research has shown that 57% of sales positions will remain vacant for over three months. Onboarding can easily eat up another three to six months. As a rule of thumb, the ramp up time can be calculated by the length of a given sales cycle, plus another 90 days.
In the meantime, you are not only missing opportunities, you are paying to train the sales candidate. If, for some reason they walk away or are not suitable, you have waster months of marketing time. Then you start the cycle over again. The solution to all of the above is to recruit people who are able to adapt quickly and are motivated to hit the ground running. To do that, you need a seamless recruiting and vetting process that is already in motion, constantly providing a stream of well-qualified, top sales performers. A customized recruiting strategy allows you to increase your market intel and improve your company’s bottom line.
There are a few different ways to approach this issue. You can, for instance, create an in-house team that seeks out and recruits sales talent. Most companies rely on HR, however they are often already overworked, loaded down with other duties. Which is why you need a team that does just recruitment, testing and vetting.
Some companies are also creating partnerships with colleges and other groups to help them ferret out potential sales candidates for the future. If you have the money and resources, this strategy can pay off down the line. Others are relying on old school methods by placing ads, vying for an ever shrinking pool of talent. This can lead to high turnover rates, meaning that the issue is never really resolved.
It just kicks the can down the road and can end up costing the company money in the long run. Which is why many forward thinking companies are using professional sales recruiters to fill in the gap. (They already have the networks to keep sales talent on tap.) The main takeaway here is that whatever you do, you need to do it both strategically, and quickly.
For more information on locating the best sales talent to fill your vacancies, please call us at 214-720-9922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. At ProActivate, we know how to link top sales talent with hungry sales companies. We have worked with Fortune 500 companies as well as small start up business to help improve their top line.