Company Culture

Hire the Best Sales Candidates Out There with These 5 Tips


If you’ve spent any time trying to hire a sales rep, then you know how daunting it can feel. Are you ready to invest a huge amount of time and money into this person? Can you trust that your read on them is correct? Who’s to say they’re as good as they came across in their interview?

Well, we’ve got good news: you don’t have to rely on your gut. With the wealth of experience and advice from managers we’ve gathered over the years, we’ve distilled some of our key hiring best practices down so that you don’t have to shoot from the hip anymore.

If you’re looking to hire the best sales candidates possible for your organization, take a look at these strategies and see how you can develop a hiring process that truly works for you.

Understand Your Team’s Needs First

Before diving in to some of the more specific parts of the hiring process, it’s important to start by understanding what it means to hire “top talent.” There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sales, and the sooner that you can get that ingrained in your hiring process, the easier time you’ll have finding the best candidates for you.

Every sales organization has its own story, its own mission, and its own goals (more on those below). So it’s important that you take a look inward at your team to assess what they need, so that you can then set parameters for your candidate search.

Do you need field sales? Are you looking for managerial-minded folks? Do you need a team of twenty right now, or are you trying to build a solid foundation with a few seasoned—and potentially more expensive—associates? Once you’ve got that down, then you can really start your search.

Cast a Wide Net: Forget Everything You Learned About Geography

News flash: It’s 2019, and you’re reading this post on a thing called the Internet. Not only does this Internet have great blogs like ours, but it’s got a whole system in place for communicating, task-management, networking—and even hiring!

Hell, our entire sales gamification system is based on this whole Internet craze.

But light sarcasm aside, long-gone are the days where you are fully dependent on an in-house sales team. Beyond just having field sales positions, you can rely on an entire fleet of inside sales associates who never have to leave the comfort of their own home. Remote working, as we’ve covered countless times on here before, is more prevalent now than ever. And not only is hiring remote workers a great way to save on your bottom line, but it also helps you to cast a much wider net in your search for sales talent. You don’t need to limit your search to the local metropolitan area, or worry about paying for expensive relocation. The best candidate for you could really be just a couple of clicks away.

Develop Short- & Long-Term Goals

Writing for the Spiro blog, Adam Honig makes the excellent point that “It’s not just about finding a great salesperson, it’s about finding the right one for you. You want to find someone who believes in what you believe in.”

At the end of the day, your team will be defined by shared goals, and this is what makes the hiring process so crucial: you’re not just trying to sell someone on your goals, or get a candidate to tell you what you want to hear. You need to understand each candidate’s personal goals, and assess if they do or don’t align with that of your own organization.

Are you looking for candidates who want to grow within an organization, or who are simply happy as individual contributors? Is your candidate interested in management long term, and are you going to be able to provide them with adequate training to be successful in that realm?

When it comes right down to it: if a candidate’s short- and long-term goals don’t align with yours, then save yourself the pain and don’t make the hire.

Invest In Culture

“Corporate culture” can become an almost meaningless piece of jargon , but beneath the almost-too-common alliteration lies a deeply important aspect of the hiring process: finding people who fit in.

Are we suggesting that you try to build a team that looks like the human form of a suburban housing development? Absolutely not. There is too much to be celebrated and gleaned from a company that’s built on a plurality of people and personalities. But that needs to come into focus: what sort of mindset, or, dare we say… culture are you trying to create?

Writing for Forbes, Beth Kuhel puts this into perfect perspective when she addresses screening for “emotional intelligence”: “

Screening for traits like empathy, mentorship ability, self-awareness, humility, curiosity, resilience, flexibility and creativity will help improve your company’s chances of finding people who will fit in your culture and contribute to it.” And in doing so, she goes on to say, you’ll find candidates who will understand “how they can be a part of your company’s solutions for success.”

Investing in culture goes beyond buying bean bag chairs and high-quality coffee (though nobody’s complaining about the latter!). It’s about taking the time and care to encourage a like-minded desire for success.

Don’t Skimp On Compensation

Finally, let’s stop beating around the bush. If you want to attract top talent, you’re going to have to pay for top talent. And this crucially goes back to the above steps.

You may not need the world’s top individual contributor of 2019 on your team to hit your goals. In fact, that may lead to you way overspending for a salesforce that can’t deliver on your needs. But somewhere in between the polar extremes lie the sort of numbers that you can afford to attract the best candidates for your actual needs.

As you’re building your team, take the time to map out with your finance team what you can really afford, and how you can creatively offer competitive contracts that are going to get you real-world talent. Don’t be so naïve to think that your company’s vision is compelling enough on its own.

At the end of the day, these simple fundamentals are the core of what we believe it takes to hire the best possible candidates. Take some time to assess your current hiring process, see how you can incorporate these best practices, and watch as you begin to see great talent rolling your way.