Working in sales recruiting, I understand how important a strong sales force is to a company’s health. As more and more companies have adopted an inside sales model, they are looking to build out their business development teams. The business development representatives are the front line of the sales team. They prospect and identify leads and usually are the first to make contact with a potential client.
If you’re like many other companies, you are faced with the same challenge of looking for the same type of candidate that everyone else is looking for. So how do you find and hire these talented business development reps before your competition?
First things first, know why you’re hiring BDRs
Understand why you need these positions filled and what the role will entail.
- Does the role require following up with all the inbound leads?
- Does the role require making 100 outbound calls each day?
- Do you already have a BDR team in place and have measurable metrics?
- Is this your first Business Development hire?
You need to know these things first in order to understand the scope of candidates you will search for. When you have a firm grasp on what this role looks like, you can set accurate expectations and a process around how to hire these candidates.
What to look for in a BDR candidate
- Is this an entry-level role (0-2 yrs experience)?
- Are you looking for recent college grads to join your team?
- Are you looking for someone with cold calling experience?
Depending on the sell, more often than not, this role is entry-level and a launch pad for candidates to build a successful sales career. With that in mind, have realistic expectations. Don’t expect a stellar resume that screams the perfect candidate.
Yes, previous sales and customer service related experience and internships is a huge plus, but shouldn’t be the be-all, end-all when hiring.
The business development representative requires looking for more of the intangibles and transferrable skills that might not be on the resume. If this is an activity-driven role, you need someone who is disciplined, intelligent, creative and driven. You want someone who is coachable and willing to learn.
- Did they play sports in college?
- Did they graduate with honors?
- Were they leader of a fraternity, sorority or campus organization?
- Did they do internships or volunteer?
- Do they have a tough job now?
- Do they have a unique story?
Don’t overlook a candidate solely based on the resume or you will miss out. I recommend speaking with as many people as you can. This is the only way you will find out if a candidate is a possible good fit or not.
So where do you find the right talent?
Keep in mind that if you are looking for that entry-level candidate they may not be on all the job boards or have resumes that jump out during your searches. Many of the candidates you will be considering may be millennials so you want to be able to find ways to connect with these candidates.
A few techniques to find and attract BDRs:
- Career Fairs-What better way to meet the talent?! Students are eager to find companies they can join after college
- Partner with Universities-Get on campus and talk to the students, offer to be a mentor
- Social Media-If you’re not on social media, you are missing out and need to get on that ASAP
- Job Boards-It never hurts to advertise your roles and get the job and company out there
- Recruiting Firms-Recruiters are constantly connected and understand the job market and they are a great resource to bring you talent
When attracting talent: Sell the sizzle not the steak
Once again if your audience is recent college grads and millennials, you need to understand what motivates them when looking for a job. Yes, getting a job is important and so isn’t money, but that’s not always the selling point when hiring sales talent.
Candidates don’t long for or fear job security. Instead they look for job opportunity. You want a candidate that will not only produce results but will invest in the company. Today’s generation looks for opportunities where they feel like they are part of something bigger than themselves and culture is a huge selling point.
If you are looking to attract the right talent to your company and job posting make sure you sell the position.
- Do you have company outings?
- Do you promote casual attire?
- Do you do happy hours every week?
- Do you have flexible time off?
*It’s okay to tell them that the job is hard and requires time and commitment, I mean it is a job after all so you don't need to sugarcoat everything. However, don't negative sell them too much and remember to tell them about the positives and why it’s a place they will want to come to every day.
If you want to build a team that drives revenue, then you don’t want to create an environment with a high turnover rate. You want your team members to stay and grow with the company.
Tell them realistic compensation and growth plans
When it comes down to discussing compensation don’t tell them they will be getting the moon and the stars. Set their expectations of what they realistically will be making first year with your company and if an actual promotion is possible with an accurate time frame.
- Talk about what your current top BDRs are doing and making.
- Talk about the future plans of the company.
- Let them know how the career path works and real examples of growth with current team members.
The last thing that you and the candidate want is for the person to get hired and after a few months realize that the expectations given to them originally are way off track. I can guarantee they will start looking for a new opportunity.
Most importantly, if you find someone you like and who is talented enough to do the job don’t wait, hire them! Remember, if you don’t hire them someone else will. Understand your hiring needs and what is important to look for in a candidate. Drive activity and talk to as many people as you can. When you follow these basic principles you will build a growing and sustainable sales force.
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