Dan Fantasia had the opportunity to join Sean Mitchell and Phill Keene on the Real Sales Talk Podcast to talk about how companies can recruit and hire a dynamic sales team.
Companies need salespeople to grow their revenue, but where do they recruit top sales talent and how to do they hire sales professionals to grow their businesses?
Dan, Sean, and Phill dive into this topic and below are some major Q & A takeaway highlights.
What are the advantages of using a sales recruitment firm like Treeline to recruit top sales talent with our top sales recruiters for your company versus doing it on your own?
Internal recruiting teams typically support the entire recruiting efforts for the whole company. They may be recruiting for sales, operations, IT development, and finance. They are focusing on all the open roles.
As a result, using a shared resource, the recruiting team is not getting the support they need to recruit top salespeople, and sales leaders aren’t seeing the type of sales caliber they need to join their team.
Sometimes a company ends up hiring for the sake of hiring. They will hire the B and C Players as opposed to the A Players because they are only seeing a limited pool of sales talent.
An advantage to using a sales search firm like Treeline Sales Recruiters, Inc. is that we already have the extensive network of sales professionals and top sales recruiters who may be selectively and confidentially searching for a new opportunity. They are not on the job boards, but they are looking for a trusted advisor who can educate them on the market and opportunities without wasting anyone’s time.
What makes recruiting sales professionals so different and challenging from other open jobs?
There are a substantial amount of intangibles that sales representatives need to have in order to be successful in different sales environments. The only way to understand those intangibles is through human capital. You need to have conversations with salespeople in order to understand their previous selling environment, their sales characteristics, and the type of sales change they are looking to make in their career.
Whether it’s a small or large company, both are looking to grow revenue and it’s important to consult with them and educate them on the market as well as the type of salesperson that best fits their selling environment.
How does a small company, entrepreneur, or startup who may not have the internal resources/budget go about looking to make their initial sales hire?
For a small company or startup, typically the CEO or entrepreneur is doing all of the selling. As a sales leader they already know how to sell but may not have the metrics or understand their sales model that needs to duplicated and executed by another sales representative (their first sales hire). So before they can hire a salesperson, they need to first take a step back and understand their sales model and metrics in order to understand the type of salesperson and sales characteristics needed to be successful the role.
What are some things a sales leader should be looking for when building their sales team?
Every sales environment is so different from a sales development team to an inside sales team to an enterprise sales team. It depends on the complexity and length of the sales cycle and size.
Let’s say it’s recruiting for an inside sales. You want to look for an inside sales rep who has GRIT (someone who is resilient, positive, hungry, and hard working). You also want to know about their work ethic and their competitive attitude. You want to hire sales athletes and sales professionals who have the aptitude to learn your sale/product/service.
How do you get the honest insight on whether or not someone is a sales athlete who is the right fit for your organization?
When I first start an interview with a candidate, whether it’s for Treeline or a Treeline client, I try to set the expectations around honesty and transparency. I look for open dialogue and questions around figuring out if it’s a good fit for each other.
Tell me your story.
When looking for the intangibles, I look for the story. I want to know if they went to school, did they play sports, did they finance their own education, do they have siblings, what do their parents do for careers, did they work full-time in college and after college. I want to know what drives a salesperson and if they have hustle. I want to understand their capabilities and how it will translate into their success in the sales role.
It also gives more credibility around what they’ve done in their sales career and their sales accomplishments.
What are the fundamentals of building a strong sales candidate pipeline?
We start immediately in our database of thousands of sales professionals, and our referrals.
Then we start building out our recruiting activity. We use LinkedIn, connecting and messaging. We use social media and recruitment marketing efforts. We use job postings.
Job boards will drive traffic but typically it’s irrelevant meaning that the candidate that is applying to the job generally isn’t a fit for that role. Still you need to do the heavy lifting and talk to sales professionals since a resume typically isn’t enough.
How do you sift through resumes to identify if someone is a fit for the sales role?
Sales numbers are a good indicator of success and selling environment. It’s also where you can tell if a sales candidate is lying. You want to understand their sales quota and break that down further. Understand their average deal size, sales cycles, and percentage to sales quota. It gives you a good understanding of their metrics and whether or not they are being honest with you.
It helps you determine whether or not someone will fit in your sales environment. If they are more transactional in nature they may not perform well long-term on your sales team if your role is more strategic in nature with longer sales cycles.
How important is selling environment and resources/tools to support your sales team?
Selling environment and resources are equally as important. Some individuals can make the transition from a large multi-billion dollar company to a bootstrapped startup, but some will also fail.
If you come from a large organization and join a startup you may struggle if you are a sales professional who is used to having the budget and resources of a billion dollar company. You may have the experience in the same selling environment but it may be challenging if you’re used to receiving more resources in a larger company.
What advice do you have for sales professionals who are looking to make the next move in their sales career?
Sales professionals call us all the time for advice on their next career steps. They will say they are ready for a new role and are impatient. My advice to them is to first understand why they want to leave the organization or what they want in their next sales role. If there is room to grow in their current role and they like the company and what they are selling, I advise them to first talk to their manager and see if there is room for growth or a promotion.
If they want to go from an Account Executive to an Enterprise Account Executive it’s best to first get that experience within their current company rather than look for it in another company because they need to first get that type of sales experience.
If there are other things like they are unhappy, don’t get along with management, the company is moving to another location, or is going through a merger, then I recommend taking the time to explore their career options.
As a sales professional when is it time for you to consider a move in your sales career?
Aside from other triggers like commute, broken commission structure, poor management, mergers/acquisitions, or they don’t believe in what they are selling, I recommend looking at the company from a higher standpoint.
You may want to look at the company performance. If the company is failing you may want to start considering other options. However, if the company is in growth mode there will be opportunities for a sales professional in the company.
How do you determine who is a good client company that Treeline can help hire sales talent?
We look for partnerships. When we are working so hard to recruit salespeople and recommend new opportunities to them that may be disrupting their careers, we want to make sure it is a good fit and makes sense for both parties.
We want a client that is serious about their sales hiring. We really want to know about the company and we don’t want to necessarily partner with a company that has high turnover. We don’t want to waste anyone’s time.
It’s not about making a placement…it’s about make the right placement.
What are your thoughts on personality assessments for salespeople?
It’s really up to the company and why they are using the assessments in the hiring process. I can’t say that they are good or bad. It’s really about the timeframe and whether or not they are affecting the hiring process.
Unfortunately, with assessments it can go two ways. A company use them successfully and make great hires or they will utilize them and miss out on some really strong salespeople for their company.
Thanks to Phill and Sean for having Dan on the Real Sales Talk Podcast. You can watch the entire podcast on the Real Sales Talk YouTube channel. If you’re a sales professional, make sure you subscribe to their channel. They cover topics that are relevant to all sales professionals.