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How to attract and retain the best salespeople: Part 1

After nearly 11 years in the recruitment industry, I thought I would share my insights to answer a question I have consistently been asked throughout my career, “How do I attract and retain the best sales talent”

Whether you are an internal recruiter for a fast growing tech start-up or the CEO of a major international corporation, the challenges are still the same, and winning the war for talent becomes increasingly difficult with so much competition in the market. This is a talent-short marketplace, no question!

Over the next four weeks I am going to share with you my top 12 recommendations that will, in my opinion, put you considerably ahead of the competition.

 

Part One…

The first step before attracting or interviewing any potential candidates is to ask yourself the question, “What does our business offer that is different, or more appealing than our competitors?” Also, ask yourself “What do we need to put in place to attract the highest performing sales people in the market?”

 

1). Interview training and preparation

The most common mistake companies make is not training new managers to interview candidates correctly. A lot of managers, particularly sales managers, have been promoted into management roles from individual contributor sales positions, due to their personal achievements and successes. The majority have never managed or even mentored others. They are often thrown in the deep end of conducting interviews. In most instances, these interviews are spent questioning, sometimes drilling the candidate on why they want the job or why they should be hired, when interviewing has to be a two way street! To even have a chance of securing a top performer, the manager must invest time in the interview to discuss the major selling points and culture and benefits of the company, and why the candidate should join the business over any other company.

My advice would be to make sure any new manager is trained in interviewing by experienced members of the team, prior to meeting any potential candidates. Involving experienced managers in the first round interview for the first few candidate interviews will help to ensure they are managing the interview and selling the opportunity effectively.

It is also vital to fast-track the interview process for high quality candidates. More often than not, companies wait and miss out on the best applicants due to offers from the competition.

 

2). Competitive salary packages and commission structures

In such a competitive market, it is very important to ensure base salaries are attractive, and at a minimum, in line with the market average for that particular role. I would recommend downloading the Talent International 2019 Salary Guide here: https://www.talentinternational.com/talent-2019-salary-guide/

I have seen companies make offers to candidates below their current salary package, or at the exact same salary they are currently earning. If you are asking a top performing sales person to leave their current role, particularly candidates who are content in their current role, it is extremely rare they will leave unless there is a pay increase.

In my experience, commission structures are often even more important for sales hires than the base salary. Top sales performers in 2019 are looking for companies that offer uncapped commission structures with sliding scales if they overachieve their targets. If you are not currently offering this, there is a strong possibility you are missing out on the best talent.

 

3). Extra workplace benefits

Extra benefits on top of base salary and commission structures are now often expected by top performers. Non-financial perks are commonplace, particularly in the tech sector. A lot of fast-growing businesses and big brands are now offering health insurance, equity, wellness schemes, gym memberships, training allowances and flexible working hours (including working from home). If you are not doing this already, it is something to think about implementing to increase your chances of securing better talent.

Next week I will provide you with three steps you can implement to make an immediate impact on retention once you have the right talent on-board…