Sales recruiting is one of the more critical aspects of growing a successful sales force. As a sales manager, good sales people are needed to address business needs. And yet most everyone treats recruiting as a necessary evil only to be done when absolutely necessary.
Adopting a different philosophy about recruiting sales talent can provide the edge needed to build the best sales team — faster and for less money.
Start by understanding what recruiting is all about. Think of recruiting as an on-going process designed to develop a cadre of qualified candidates. There are two key take-aways from this approach. First, sales recruiting needs to be an on-going process. You should constantly be on the lookout for new sales talent. If you recruit only when a position is open, you are always in reactive mode. The best analogy I can give is to think of recruiting just like selling. You are always on the lookout for new sales opportunities. The same holds for recruiting.
Second, you want to be able to choose from the largest pool of qualified candidates. To have qualified candidates it is necessary to understand the business needs and what skills and behaviors will be successful in your environment.
Knowing what to look for and relentlessly trying to find those people are the keys to finding and hiring the best.
Armed with the correct philosophy surrounding recruiting, the next step is to develop a recruiting strategy. The strategy dictates exactly how to develop the cadre of qualified candidates. How much money to spend, where to look, who should do the job and the success metrics are just a few of the issues covered in a good employee recruiting strategy.
One absolute guarantee about sales recruiting is that there is no one best source for candidates. Successful recruiting involves using multiple sources for finding the best candidates. Part of the strategy will be to decide how best to deploy your resources.
Classified ads, online postings, headhunters, etc. are all legitimate sources but your specific situation will determine which is best. See the article on employee sourcing for a complete discussion of recruiting sources.
That said, you absolutely should consider having an employee referral program. Many studies have shown that candidates referred by existing employees turn into consistently higher performing employees. Every recruiting strategy should have an employee referral component. See the article on employee referral for a complete discussion of employee referral programs.
Sales recruiting is not free. There are costs both in money, time and resources. It is too easy to throw a bunch of much money and time at recruiting without a return. The first step is to make certain you are both planning and tracking expenditures. Tracking the metrics include monitoring what is spent and the results each activity delivers.
Finally, there are a number of recruiting services available to help. These include headhunters, search firms, consultants and various online recruiting services. And, there are many software solutions available as well.
It can be confusing.
The conclusion is that you cannot leave your sales recruiting to chance. Plan your activities, measure the results and have an on-going strategy to keep the candidate pool full.