June 22, 2021

How to Identify and Hire the Best Sales Talent


We’ve all been there. We find sales job seekers who check all of the boxes and who prove to be the best candidate for the role we’re looking to fill. They have the right skills and work experience. Great attitude and energy. They fit-in. And then we lose him/her to another organization. When this happens, do you ask yourself what went wrong? Was it:

  1. Your office culture or the hiring manager?
  2. An unrealistic compensation range or a failure to identify your business need?
  3. Did the interview process not move quickly enough or did you neglect to follow-up to ensure they understand what the process looks like?

Any of these missteps can lead to losing the best sales candidates.

Plus, if you work for mid-size and smaller organizations, you also have to compete for landing the best talent with large corporations like Amazon and Google who have large recruiting teams on a constant look-out for that same talent.

We get it. Over the years we have seen organizations fail to land the best sales candidates many times. It’s a lot to manage and there’s no silver bullet. However, we’ve learned how to prevent your frustration and implement steps to land the best technology hires.

To help you land the best technology candidates, we put together key actions you can take to succeed.

We’ll review . . .

  1. How do we define Top Talent? And what are they looking for in a new job?
    The qualities, personality traits and desires of the top talent

    • What they look for in a career
    • The importance of corporate culture
    • How they will support your organization
  2. Challenges most recruiters face
    Typical challenges/reasons why organizations struggle to attract top talent.
  3. Steps to overcome the challenges
    The steps it takes to land Top Sales Talent:

    • How to identify the “best” job seeker
    • How to make your organization attractive to the “best” job seeker
    • How to go above and beyond to make the “best” job seeker believe they can’t not take the job
    • Trends that impress the “best” job seeker

How Do We Define Top Sales Talent

Seeking to understand what makes sales people tick helps you identify the top sales talent. With sales professionals, you want to remember what the best candidates are fueled by:

  1. Compensation, motivation, and competitiveness. Top sales talent wants to work hard and have the ability to make a lot of money. They want to be the best, close a lot of deals, and be paid well in the process. It really isn’t that complicated.
  2. Hard work. They got where they are because they’re hardworking. They may have played a sport, or paid their way through school, they got up early, they always pushed.
  3. Their ability to adapt to new situations. Whether it’s changing products or changing sales cycles, the best sales candidates know how to adapt and embrace it.

With the top sales talent, you can focus on discussing goals and quotas as well. If they aren’t hitting their numbers, ask why, because people always have reasons why. Be skeptical if the failure to hit quotas is a recurring theme.

Challenges to Landing the Top Sales Talent

The challenges of landing the top sales talent vary, but they focus primarily on:

  1. Compensation. The plan needs to be well defined and they need to understand what is required to hit their On Target Earnings (OTE) number. Top salespeople are typically doing well in their current role and are walking away from deep pipelines. Does your company have a plan to offset that?
  2. Even marginal sales people are great at selling themselves. Make sure they can back up their talk with tangible results and a track record of success.
  3. Salespeople are aggressive and want to dictate the recruiting process. You need to define your process and stick to it to get the information and candidate you want.

Overcoming the Challenges to Landing the Top Sales Talent

While the challenges may feel like a lot to take on, we’ll take a deeper dive here into the ways to overcome them.

Ask the Right Questions

You have to ask more questions, and engage in more dialogue, talking it through during the interviews and turning it around on them. Maybe this is not the exact fit for your sales experience? What makes more sense for your next step?

Take Time to Understand Work History

If their last role involved big changes in their position or product, what were the results? Taking the time to understand their prior successes and their ability to adapt to them, will help your expectations.

Focus on Future Earnings

They may be focused on the dollars. While they may not be able to make big dollars year one, they can in year two. Show them how they can progress with opportunities and excel down the road.

Be Upfront & Transparent

Don’t overpromise. Instead, be realistic regarding where the company is at in terms of its own growth, and where appropriate delineate how their skills may be more helpful to the company in the future, which leads to…

Get the Candidates Excited About Their Career Path

Talk to them about their career path. What are their next steps? Provide a clear path to where they could go and how they can get there with your organization.

For more guidance, you may be interested in the following. . .

Final Thoughts

When it comes to landing the top sales talent, we see where recruiters can be effective at identifying the right talent, but can fail to vet them properly or adequately entice them to move forward in the process.

This is where you can ask more questions about their work history, results and what they think the best fit for them might be.

Be upfront about where your company is today and where they can get to with the right sales talent.

And define future earnings and career path.

Hirewell is Your Partner to Help You Make The Best Hires for Your Organization

We’re here to provide you with the guidance you need to land the top sales talent.

Want guides to other specialties? View our guides to landing the top Technology, Marketing and Human Resources hires, too.

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