Too many times sales recruiters and hiring managers have no idea what they’re looking for in a new candidate before they start a new sales recruiting project. They will tell you that they do - they will even show you a written description of their ideal candidate.
But 9 times out of 10 their description will say something like:
"10 years industry sales experience calling all C level executives. The last 4 years must have been in sales management. managing no less than 10 reps with a total annual sales goal of $23 million." etc, etc.
Pretty generic right? I’m not making this up. Do a search on any job board. For fun do a search on "software sales". Read only the required experience for all 10 sales positions.
By the time you finish you’ll notice that they all say pretty much the same thing.
Let me tell you - most job requirements do not say anything about who you’re looking for to fill your sales job. You’re looking for the same person that every single one of your competitors is looking for - and you’re probably offering the same exact compensation package that everyone else is also.
And to top it all off it will be a total crapshoot if you hire someone who is successful in the sales job you’re recruiting for.
If you want to raise your chances of finding a good sales rep who will be successful with your company then you need to know more about the role you’re looking to fill. To do this start thinking about the sales reps first year.
Start with their first day on the job.What is the most pressing issue that this sales person must solve for you? What will they need to do in order to solve that pressing issue? What will the final outcome be once they solve this problem successfully.
Repeat this process until you have a list of at least 6-8 problems that this sales person needs to correct.
Only you can know what these problems are. If you don’t then you should find out what they are very quickly!
Once you have this list completed you can start to figure out the job requirements for your open sales position. You’ll be looking for someone who has been confronted with these issues in the past and successfully solved them.
That’s it in a nutshell.
You will no longer be looking for a "sales rep with 10 years industry experience calling on C level executives." You’ll be looking for someone who has successfully solved your specific problems in the past. Someone who has "taken over a territory that has not achieved quota in 3+ years. The territory consists of contacts who are Vice Presidents of IT at Fortune 100 companies. The VP level contacts have accepted meetings but no reason to do business with your company was ever uncovered."
So when you’re recruiting you’ll be looking for someone who has solved issues like this in the past. Someone who has turned around dormant target accounts and uncovered buying pains with prospects where non existed in the past.
This is just one example. Hopefully this can help change your mindset as we head into a new year of sales recruiting and team building!