Recruiting sales reps is a critical part of any small business. Even if you have the best products and services in the industry, they won’t sell themselves without effective salespeople to sell them. Finding and hiring the best sales reps is key to closing sales, increasing revenue, and building a strong, robust sales team.
We’ve collected nine recruiting strategies to help you recruit the best salespeople and grow your business:
1. Create Clear Job Descriptions
Be very clear about what you’re looking for when creating a sales job description. It’s important to give the applicant insight into your culture, mission, values, and benefits, but you also need to be very clear about the specific job responsibilities to attract the best candidates.
Here are several examples of job responsibilities that could be attached to specific sales roles:
- Outside sales rep: Visiting prospects in person, traveling to trade shows, providing product demos, negotiating with prospects, closing deals, and meeting monthly and annual revenue quotas
- Inside sales rep: Selling over the phone, answering email inquiries from prospects, giving product demos with video conferencing tools, closing deals, and meeting sales quotas
- Account manager: Fostering a long-term relationship with customers after the initial sale, cross-selling and upselling, resolving customer issues, reporting out on customer health and growth
- Sales development rep: Making cold calls to qualify prospects, setting up demo meetings for inside or outside sales reps, answering emails, meeting daily and monthly cold call and demo quotas
- Sales manager: General sales management duties such as overseeing the work and productivity of sales reps and/or sales development reps, coaching and assessing the work of each salesperson, and providing sales reports
“Focus on creating a detailed and relevant job description to ensure that the person you hire is the best fit for your company. Salespeople come in all different forms and, while they may be brilliant in one industry or company, they may struggle in another. For example, someone who can achieve a lot of sales in a retail company may struggle to match that success in a tech-focused company because they lack the technical know-how. A sales rep who has only ever worked over the phone may not thrive in a more client-facing position.”
—Kevin O’Regan, Managing Director, Ramblers Walking Holidays
Pro-tip: Create a video using a tool like Wistia to include in your job description that describes your company culture and what type of person is likely to succeed in your organization.
2. Post on Multiple Job Boards
Job-seekers are increasingly looking for job opportunities online so be sure to post your sales job openings on multiple sites. Here are just a few of the places you should post job descriptions when recruiting salespeople.
Indeed is a great place to recruit salespeople because it’s one of the most popular platforms people go to look for jobs. Plus, there are over 200 million job resumes posted that you can search through to find qualified candidates. Job seekers can also apply for jobs without leaving the Indeed page and take skill qualification quizzes to help recruiters match candidates’ skill set with each open position.
Over 90% of the best salespeople are already using LinkedIn, so it’s a great platform for recruiting them. First, make sure you have a complete, modern-looking personal profile on LinkedIn—at least the “advanced” or even better, “all-star” level. When you reach out to candidates, it will make a great first impression.
Next, join LinkedIn groups and answer questions to establish yourself as an authoritative sales expert. Just go to the search bar on LinkedIn, type in “sales rep,” choose “groups” and you’ll find plenty of groups to join. Finally, use LinkedIn’s “advanced people search” to look for salespeople by filtering titles, location, industry, and more. Once you see a potential candidate, send them an invitation to connect and ask to set up a quick introductory call to gauge their interest.
Remote-Only Job boards
If you’re hiring remote salespeople, there are certain websites job seekers often visit to look for new opportunities, so don’t neglect to post job descriptions on these niche sites. Some great places to post remote sales jobs are WeWorkRemotely.com, FlexJobs, and Remote.co.
While it’s great to post about open sales opportunities on your Facebook page—especially if you’re active on social media, there’s also a fairly new feature offered by Facebook called Facebook Jobs. People spend a ton of time on social media, and Facebook Jobs offers one place for job seekers to apply to jobs using an auto-fill feature and talk to recruiters or hiring managers directly on the Messenger app.
Simply go to your company Facebook page and above “write a post” at the top of your timeline, click “Job.” You can upload a photo, fill in the job description, and add questions you’d like applicants to answer before applying. You can also choose to receive applications through the Messenger inbox or by email. Then, click “publish job post.” You can also choose to post a job posting to expand its reach just like you can a regular post.
3. Create an Internal Referral Program
People who already work at your organization often have connections with great talent. When you’re hiring sales reps, offer an incentive if current employees refer someone who ultimately gets hired.
The most common incentive companies give current employees for recruiting new salespeople is a cash reward, usually $500 to $1,000. However, you can also get creative with recruitment incentives. Consider offering extra paid time off, gift cards, or give the employee choices of a reward.
“I am a business owner who has found that one of the best ways to recruit talented sales reps is to ask our current, talented team if they know anyone they’d like to refer for these positions. Internal employee referrals can be a big win for businesses and their growth, and skilled sales reps probably know a few individuals that would be a great fit for the role. The best part is that creating a referral program like this has the capacity to expand to all departments within a company.”
—Deborah Sweeney, CEO, MyCorporation.com
Pro-tip: Make it easy for your employees to recruit salespeople by using a program like Greenhouse that gives them their own referral link and makes it easy to enter job candidates’ information. They can also watch as the person they referred goes through the screening and interview process.
4. Recruit Consistently
Just like filling your sales pipeline full of leads is important, it’s critical to grow a pool of qualified salespeople, sometimes even when you aren’t actively hiring. You never know when you might lose a sales rep and need to start interviewing candidates immediately. If you start recruiting right when you need someone, you might settle for a candidate that’s not the best fit rather than one who is more skilled and a great cultural match.
“Start recruiting before you need a new hire. Building a network, whether it be online with a platform like LinkedIn or personally within your community in order to build awareness for your company and authentic interest from potential employees. Instead of blasting out job positions once you need to hire someone immediately, work on fostering relationships with salespeople and reps that you can invite in when needed. This investment upfront helps you not only attract top talent but also vet out potential employees without signing any paperwork. With already established relationships and awareness you won’t be making any quick pressured decisions either to determine whether someone is a great fit or not.”
—Jared Weitz, CEO & Founder, United Capital Source, Inc.
5. Use a Recruitment Agency
If you have room in your budget, consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find the most talented salespeople. This is a great option for growing companies that are scaling and need to find qualified sales reps quickly.
It allows the experts in recruiting and acquiring new talent to take over in finding the best candidates, while you focus on running your business. However, make sure the hiring managers are involved with actually interviewing candidates before an offer is made.
6. Recruit from Your Competitors
Determine who your top five to 10 competitors are and find their sales reps. They are often listed on the company website and are usually easy to find on LinkedIn. These candidates will often require less time and effort to train since they’ve already been successful selling for a similar company.
Contact them to discover if they are interested in making a change. If they are, treat them like any other candidate. Ask to hear about their top accomplishments and describe their sales strategies. If they are a good fit, ask what it would take for them to come work for your business. This is a good time to use negotiation strategies such as offering a higher salary, better benefits, or a sign-on bonus.
7. Get Involved with Job Fairs
Investing time with job fairs is a great way to meet a large pool of candidates at one time. It’s especially good for entry-level sales positions such as sales development reps by meeting recent college graduates or people seeking a career change.
Arrive at job fairs prepared to “sell” your company. Set up a booth, provide marketing materials about your company, and even demo your product or services. Bring plenty of business cards and collect resumes from interested candidates. You can even set up interviews on the spot with the most qualified candidates.
8. Host Networking Events
You can host networking events at your place of business or at an outside venue for people to get to know more about your organization. Social conversations can turn into recruitment discussions, filling your recruiting pipeline with potential new sales rep hires.
Make networking events casual and offer food and drinks to attract more people. Some companies host networking events like these at local restaurants and offer a happy hour for an hour to two at the cost of the company.
9. Offer Sign-On Bonuses
Qualified salespeople often have their pick of where they want to work, especially in a healthy economy. If you have a candidate on the fence, you can offer a sign-on bonus to encourage them to choose to join your company rather than a competitor. Offer a healthy bonus up to $1,000 to $2,000 depending on your budget, but don’t go overboard. Remember, you want them to join your company for the right reasons such as the culture and that they believe in your products and services—not just money alone.
5 Keys to Recruiting Your Next Sales Rep
Growing businesses are constantly needing to hire new salespeople to expand their business and grow revenue. As you do, it’s important to find the right people for the right roles. Here are the five steps to hiring your next sales rep:
1. Tailor Your Job Postings
Your job descriptions should be custom-made for each open sales position. Candidates need as much information as possible to know if they are qualified for the job. The more information you give them, the more qualified applicants you will receive.
2. Cast a Wide Net
Once you have nailed down your job descriptions, you want to get the word out about them online in a variety of places. Post on LinkedIn, Indeed, Facebook Jobs, and remote job boards. The more places you post your job openings, the more candidates you’ll reach.
3. Leverage Your Current Employees
Your current employees are one of your best recruitment assets. They are connected to talented candidates and often want to work with people they already like. Create a referral program that rewards current employees for recruiting sales reps.
4. Get Out of the Office
Don’t expect qualified candidates to come to you just through posting job descriptions online and referrals from current team members. Get involved with job fairs and host networking events to meet qualified talent in person.
5. Decide Quickly
The best salespeople are always in high demand. So, when you’re hiring a sales team, once you find a qualified candidate you are confident will be a great addition to your sales team, be prepared to make an offer quickly. The longer you wait, the better chance a competitor will beat you to it.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are the common mistakes people make when recruiting sales reps?
One common mistake business owners and recruitment teams make is only starting the recruitment process when they already need someone now. This often ends up with them settling with a candidate who isn’t properly qualified by picking the first one or two applications. Another common mistake is not creating comprehensive job descriptions that list the specific duties of each position, resulting in applications from unqualified candidates.
Is recruiting salespeople expensive?
It doesn’t have to be. Posting job descriptions online is often free such as with Indeed and Facebook Jobs. However, you should dedicate some of your budget to a referral program, job fairs and networking events, and boosting job postings online.
When is the best time to recruit new sales reps?
It’s a best practice to always be recruiting new sales reps. It’s a great idea to have a pool of qualified candidates ready to start interviewing at any time, so you’ll have a broad range of people to choose from and can pick the most qualified candidate who is the best fit for your company.
The Bottom Line
Recruiting salespeople is a major part of any small business, because successful salespeople are the lifeblood of growing and scaling a company. Utilize these strategies to attract the most qualified salespeople who will contribute to your bottom line and company culture.
Use Indeed’s comprehensive tools to view job seeker resumes, create a company and careers page, determine what salary you’re willing to pay salespeople and improve your employer brand. Visit the Indeed website to sign up for and post unlimited jobs for free today.