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How to hire salespeople with a unique recruiting process

Truly talented Salespeople are unique; your recruiting process should be unique too.

It’s been a difficult past few years for everyone in sales, and that will continue to be the case. As part of the “new normal,” far more employees, including salespeople, work from home, and zoom meetings are, and probably will continue to be, a regular occurrence. Regardless, it’s always been challenging to find qualified salespeople who can work leads and overcome sales objections. The good news is that skilled talent is still out there. Many companies recognize the value of good employees, and make it in their best interests to stay.

Yes, you can find quality salespeople who want to work.

Key Points:

  • There is a lot of talent competition - The number of new sales positions is increasing, but fewer applicants want them.
  • It’s a job seekers market - You must meet and exceed the needs of experienced salespeople who have many choices.
  • Think outside of the job posting sites – Job posting sites are flooded, but companies can find many talented sales professionals by using targeted online searches.
  • Don’t overlook your existing employees – You can convert your existing employees, especially those in customer service into salespeople.

What’s happening to salespeople?

What’s happening to salespeople

In recent years, the number of applicants for sales positions has been declining while available positions have been increasing. For example, in 2021, sales jobs increased by about 65%. However, many recent graduates view sales as “high-pressure” and aren’t seeking to enter the market. Meanwhile, some older workers have left the job market completely or “quiet-quit” and are essentially out of the workforce.

But others see it differently—salespeople who have tasted success like it. They know the rewards are there, and they can earn much more than the average worker. They like their industry and how they will be empowered for the rest of their lives.

As you search for new salespeople, you also need to sell them on your company. You must ensure that your company will support, train, and reward them. You’ll need a state-of-the-art CRM Platform too. Otherwise, they may choose to work elsewhere. Despite recent layoffs in many large companies, it’s still a job seekers market. But your ideal salesperson is out there. So let’s find them.

How do you find motivated individuals who will sell?

Finding the right talent is, and always will be, challenging—the reason why is simple. You don’t just need a great salesperson. You need a great salesperson suitable for your company, your industry, and your type of sales.

Finding the right people takes time; on average, it could take 60 days or longer. So be patient, don’t search for heartbeats. Search for lasting relationships instead. So where can you find these people?

LinkedIn – Have your recruiter take a look at Linkedin. If you get the right membership level (yes, that means paid), you can easily reach your desired target market of sales professionals. Why LinkedIn?

How do you find motivated individuals who will sell

Because people on this social media platform are far more serious about their careers. The better candidates are those who post about sales or have written articles themselves. They may also belong to online sales groups. If potential candidates are using LinkedIn correctly, you’ll be able to see their work history. Using LinkedIn as a source can help you find motivated, experienced, and influential candidates in your industry or an industry that can transfer over. You can also use other social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter.

Sales Groups – Outside of LinkedIn, many online and in-person sales groups exist. For example, Reddit has an entire section dedicated to salespeople called r/sales. There are also groups. Here in South Florida, where’s offices are located, there is a Meetup sales group for IT and Marketing professionals. They meet once a month.

Employment sites – Sites such as and others can be excellent places to search because you can use many filters and assign the right questions to potential sales candidates. Yes, almost every other company is on this platform, but that is because the process works. Hopefully, you may find a few “unicorns,” but you’ll also receive a lot of “near-qualified” candidates, whom you might consider if their attitude and aptitude are good. Non-qualified candidates will also apply, whom you will have to filter out.

Have you looked “inside the box”? There’s probably one, or even a few people in your company who go to meetups, attend chamber of commerce meetings, or post on social media about the company. They are your company cheerleaders and have your best interests in mind. People who believe in your company will make great salespeople. Look to get these people on your sales team. Just train them and treat them right.

Recruitment Agencies – Headhunters can become a valuable resource in your search. They have a large vetted pool of potential employees. But be aware of the cost and that the headhunter may not have the industry knowledge you need to make the critical decision. Remember they look for instant placements, but you need long-term results.

Get a database of salespeople – Ask your management and other staff to build a database of potential candidates for sales roles at your company. This means you are planning ahead. When you see a great candidate, be sure to get his or her information and remain in contact with them. Later down the line, when you need good candidates, reach out to them.

Current employees – You also shouldn’t overlook current employees. You may not consider employees who desire a stable salary and have no sales experience as a good match for your sales team. But think that over. They are probably loyal and may have a lot of product knowledge. Particularly if they are already involved in the customer service process, your current employees could be ideal candidates for sales. They’ve likely heard all the objections already. You may have to match their current salary with a draw vs. sales or similar agreement, but they could make ideal sales professionals. Because of their experience, they can help your company when choosing a CRM. They probably are already using your Sales Playbook and know objections and rebuttals.

You could also consider training them to upsell your existing clients and having other salespeople work on new leads, thus introducing your current employees to sales without them having to give up their security of a monthly paycheck. Loyal with product knowledge, many of them are trainable. They would probably love to make more money too. Just take your time with them.

Make sure your job description is specific

As you make your job description more specific, you’ll find the quality of candidates increases even as the number of applicants decreases. Who do you really want, a “database salesperson” or a salesperson for an accounting database platform for firms from 100-500 people, who also uses a CRM daily. Include the daily core responsibilities, long-term expectations, and how this position benefits the organization.

Are those individuals right for your team, and is your team right for them?

Now that you’ve found a few candidates who match your needs and are willing to work for you, it’s time to determine if they are right for your team. Here is what to consider:

  1. Are they trusted advisors or pushy salespeople – Potential clients often know far more about products than ever before, sometimes more than the salesperson themselves. It’s the "trusted advisor" who is bringing in more revenue and more sales. Is your candidate a trusted advisor? Will he or she be able to find the “pain points” of the client?
  2. Do they have product knowledge – Does your candidate have the product knowledge you are looking for? This doesn’t have to mean the exact knowledge, but a minimum needs to be met. For example, just because someone sold real estate, even commercial real estate (business to business), doesn’t mean they can sell computer services to those same clients. However, someone who did sell databases and has a technical understanding and sales experience may be qualified to sell a CRM platform to business owners. Even if they don’t have direct experience. Of course, if they have the knowledge and the experience in your immediate field, all the better.
  3. Do they have vertical experience – If they don’t have direct experience with your exact type of industry, do they at least have experience in your vertical? In other words, if you are a B2B sales company that sells to enterprise-level companies, have your candidates sold to enterprise-level companies? B2B sales might not be enough if they only sold to small businesses where the decision-making process is far different.
  4. Do they have the aptitude for sales – Yes, your candidate could have experience in sales, have the product knowledge, and even be experienced in your vertical. But do they have the aptitude for sales? Not everyone likes sales, and some are very burnt out. Interview questions must include the “why.” What makes them great salespeople, and why are they still in sales? Is it only for the money? Why do they want to work for your company?
  5. What makes them stand out in this market? – There are many experienced salespeople, but some of them truly stand out and can make the impact needed in your organization. You’ll need to ask the following questions:
  • What are their connections – Do they have industry-level relationships? Have they been on any boards, or are they leaders of any organizations? Are they involved in chambers of commerce or other resources?
  • What experiences match your needs – Have they been able to get their own leads or start their own pipeline? Have they worked in the types of fields your company represents? Are they fully experienced, and if not, are they trainable?
  • Why did they respond to your advertisement? – What makes your company stand out to them? Is it your product/service, maybe your reputation or industry? Or is it that a salesperson is desperate for any job?
  • How can they help your company? Ask what makes them different than other applicants and why are they suited for your company.

Ask for Referrals – Good salespeople travel in packs, so why not get more than one shark? It’s not that often, but it is possible that more than one person can switch over from their previous position to your company. When you find the right candidate, you can ask if they have any referrals. The benefit of this is that you have a functioning team with members who know the strengths and weaknesses of each other. Maybe one is more technical while the other is more outgoing. You’ll have a functioning complementary team. You’ll need to ask the following:

  • How did you work as a team before?
  • What are your best practices?

Is your company competitive enough to attract talent?

  • Compensation and rewards – You’ll have to be honest about your company. Are your compensation and rewards above average? It’s easy for a salesperson to look online and know what they should earn. Top performers will decline your offer if your company can’t beat or exceed industry averages. Ask your HR department to pay up if needed.
  • Health and other benefits – How do your benefits stack up? No salesperson can be fully functional if they need to worry about their personal or family health issues. Make sure you offer the best in industry coverage.
  • Ongoing Training – Does your company offer sales enablement and continued training? 94% of employees are looking to stay longer at companies that invest in them and offer training or help fund their education.
  • Are your sales expectations realistic? What are your sales expectations for new salespeople entering the company? How did you come to that conclusion, and what are standard industry averages?
  • Are you looking good? Most candidates look at a company’s reputation before applying for a job. Make sure your company branding is on point. Of course, you should have a solid brand reputation beyond needing new salespeople.

In closing

Qualified candidates are out there, even if there are fewer of them. But your company has to set itself apart and use different hiring techniques. Additionally, you’ll need to ensure that your company compensation packages are industry average or above. Finally, don’t overlook internal talent who can perform beyond their expectations.

Leonard Goffe

Leonard Goffe is our resident sales enablement nerd. You can find him writing or behind his camera when he’s not reading about Sales Enablement, AI, and technology.

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To assign a sales enablement user, simply go to Administrator > User Management > Edit User.

Once you are on the user's information, you can select if you want them to be "Non-Admin," "Admin," or part of the "Enablement Team." Save this information, and your desired user will have the right access.

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