06 Apr 2017

5 Reasons Companies Can’t Hire Top Sales Talent

The average company takes, well, an average approach to recruiting sales professionals. If your goal is to hire elite, top 10% sales performers, an average recruiting approach will fall short. After all, there is nothing average about the behavior or thought processes of top 10% sales professionals. Companies tend to fall into two camps with regards to their effectiveness in attracting and hiring the top 10%. They either “get it” or quite simply, they don’t. Based on our observations of both, we decided to share 5 Reasons Companies Can’t Hire Top Sales Talent.

  1. Failure to Embrace Glassdoor.

Despite Glassdoor’s prevalence and importance, we commonly encounter companies that ignore negative Glassdoor reviews. In their words, they see Glassdoor as a rant site where the dissatisfied go to vent. The data, however, paints a different picture of Glassdoor. Most reviews are positive (3 stars or higher out of 5) and most companies have a positive overall score (>3 overall). Indeed, Glassdoor is quite the opposite of a rant site. It’s where in the know and especially elite, sales professionals go to gain transparency into what it’s like to work for an employer.

More than 50% of U.S. job seekers use Glassdoor at some point during their career search.

If you are still not convinced, simply accept that top sales performers are in demand, they have a lot to lose and they have a choice. A few years ago, we were able to successfully recruit top sales performers despite poor Glassdoor reviews. Today, that is not the case.

If your company does have a poor Glassdoor reputation, all is not lost. Here’s some encouraging Glassdoor stats:

  •     68% of consumers trust reviews more when they see both good and bad reviews.
  •     62% of people agree that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.

If your company has a poor Glassdoor reputation, please read 5 Steps to Turn Around or Turn Up Your Glassdoor Ratings. In sum, embracing Glassdoor is the first step in hiring top sales performers.

  1. Neglecting Linkedin.

In addition to researching a potential employer on Glassdoor, top sales performers almost always review a company’s Linkedin presence. In speaking with elite sales performers we find that they spend the majority of their research time looking at the Linkedin profile of their potential boss and potential peers. Linkedin provides a potential employee with their first impression of their boss and the team. That impression often is the difference between accepting or declining an interview.

If you’re unsure of what impression your team presents, put yourself in the shoes of an elite sales professional. One that’s considering an interview with your company. Are you impressed with your team’s Linkedin profiles? Do they come across as professional, approachable and competent? A players want to work with other A players. If your team’s Linkedin presence is a B or worse, may I suggest reading 3 Tips for Your Linkedin Profile.

  1. Non Competitive Compensation.

It is common knowledge that the climate for sales hiring has heated up. What might be less understood is the absolute battle that is being waged to hire elite sales talent. The old rule of thumb that an employer should provide a 10-15% earnings jump just doesn’t apply anymore. This is especially true with currently employed, top sales performers that aren’t actively looking (passive talent). Most tell us that they receive several inquiries from recruiters EVERY day. They have sales momentum, they have a lot to lose and they will only make a move for a significant bump in pay.

To give an example, offering a base salary of $80k to make $150k to an up and comer that currently has a base salary of $65k and a w-2 of $137k just won’t get that up and comer’s attention. Yes, your target is $150k but $70k of that is at risk and your potential employee has no idea how hard it is to hit that goal. Again, hiring passive, top sales performers requires a significant bump, most specifically in their base salary.

“94% of sales professionals say that base salary is the most important element of the compensation plan.”

Glassdoor Survey

The only way we’ve seen companies consistently (in other words, it wasn’t just luck) hire sales talent with a modest bump in pay is to go after the currently unemployed. They need a job and they understand that they don’t have leverage. Unfortunately, shockingly few unemployed sales professionals fall into the elite (top 10%) sales category.

  1. Lack of Urgency.

“I would be working for Xxxxx (our client) if they would have just moved quicker.”

Chris E., Sales Talent candidate

It still pains me to think about losing Chris as he was amazing. The old sales motto that “time kills all deals” holds especially true when recruiting top sales performers. We have noticed that most passive job seekers quickly become active job seekers soon after interviewing with a company. In the case of Chris E., our client moved him slowly through the process because he “wasn’t looking”. While they left the door open he was contacted by a slightly more attractive employer that quickly scooped him up. Unfortunately, Chris E. is but one of many examples that we can give where timing cost one of our clients a stellar hire.

  1. Ineffective Interview Process.

The only thing worse than not attracting and landing the most talented of sales professionals is choosing inferior talent. In our opinion, building an interview and selection process that consistently picks the right candidate is the hardest part of this equation. It’s also a topic that has too many moving parts to cover in a blog post. Fortunately, you can download our 18 page eBook on How to Hire Top Sales Performers to gain in-depth insights that will improve your hiring odds.

How to Hire Top Sales Talent.

In short, recruiting superior sales talent requires solid tactics and superior execution. It’s not all that different from what separates an average from an exceptional sales professional. Happy hunting!

 


Chris Carlson

President and founder of Sales Talent Inc, a B2B sales recruiting firm. Based near Seattle, WA we place sales reps, sales engineers and sales leaders across North America.