Sales Recruiting

Finding common language between hiring sales executives and sales candidates

The Sales Recruiter should insure alignment across these important elements.

  • Quota amount $
  • Deal size $
  • Hunting versus Farming
  • Target markets
  • Functional expertise, i.e., selling solutions to improve order processing versus end point security
  • Frequency of deals, i.e, two deals per year versus three deals per month
  • Channel, OEM, or Direct
  • Overnight Travel
  • Highly structured versus informal sales culture and reporting requirements
  • Base salary range $
  • W2 history and On Target Earnings $
  • Buying audience, i.e., compliance, IT, marketing, product development, finance, etc.
  • Sales Support, inbound leads – web leads, business development support representatives, etc.
  • Inside Sales versus Field Sales
  • New category of technology versus mature technology, more visioning and education is required
  • Company with no brand name versus established brand; more time and expertise associated with validating a company’s viability is required
  • Sales Engineering assistance to understand needs and position solution
  • Technical aptitude to understand new

A Sales Recruiter can add value by breaking down an employer’s characteristics and preferences and comparing them to the candidate’s experiences and abilities.

It would be hard to imagine:

  • A top ERP application sales person who works for a globally recognized brand and sells $2 million transactions to four known clients trying to sell a $15,000 software quality testing tool over the phone to 100 new clients per year.
  • An inside sales person whose only experience is limited to working for a company with established inbound lead generation being excited about making cold calls all day to find a qualified prospect.

While this may seem like a simple (but labor intensive) process, the Sales Recruiter also needs to work with both parties to see where flexibility can salvage a match, despite not having perfect alignment. The systematic approach would be to assign an importance weighting to each of the above categories.

Experience helps the recruiter recognize which gaps can be overcome with training, time, adaptation, and patience. This is where the term “Sales Utility Player” may surface and employer’s recognize – with an experienced sales recruiter’s assistance – where a candidate’s aptitude and demeanor can produce 2x the required sales productivity with “just” (highly relative term) six months ramp time.

Suggestions for candidates when working with a Sales Recruiter:

Be prepared to think through these variables in advance of your discussion with a Sales recruiter. It will make for a more productive and enriching conversation.

Spend time as a candidate reviewing your true interests and abilities, without the unhealthy influence of excessive modesty, ego, peer pressure, or greed. An honest self-assessment will save you time, help you discover more fulfilling roles, win more interviews and jobs, and improve job satisfaction and productivity.

Suggestions for employers when working with a Sales Recruiter:

Spend time as a client hiring team to assess what skills and experience are critical versus nice to have. An employer cannot afford to produce a long list of items where there is no compromise. The effect is overlooking some outstanding athletes who may join your competition, or far too many months with open territories and lost revenue.

At the same time, be sure not to compromise on the “must haves”, it is too experience to train and turnover the wrong candidate.

Review the characteristics and backgrounds of your current team’s best producers. Discuss how your company’s product, market, support, sales culture, etc. are changing and how it impacts the relevance of these characteristics. Perhaps increased market awareness, established clients, product reliability, and Sales Engineering resources lessen the need for a pure hunter with a technical degree with the ability to chalk board a new solution on each sales call?

Although Xtra Effort is located in Massachusetts, we believe this thoughtful approach to Sales Recruiting can be successfully applied anywhere.