Account Executives are critical hires for every business.  Without a strong sales team your company will always be at a disadvantage and will likely struggle to grow revenue or even sustain revenue in challenging economic times.  It is important to note that not all Account Executives are created equal. This means that there are a number of things to consider before you set out to find your next elite individual sales contributor. 

Treeline has been helping companies hire elite Account Executives for more than 22 years and this article will help hiring managers identify and understand the key factors needed to hire talented sales professionals. Answering these questions before beginning your search will help you produce successful outcomes and make you a more effective hiring manager. 

    1. Why would a person join your company? 
      • Why did you join the company? There needs to be a rehearsed consistent message on why a person should consider working at your company.
    2. What is the title of your position?  
      • Is it a common title that people understand and does it have a high keyword rank?  If the title has the words Account Executive, Business Development Executive or Sales Representative in it, you are in good shape.  If the title does not speak to your audience as a sales position you will create confusion in the market.
    3. What are the requirements for this position? 
      • Who is your number one producer and what is their background? Build an example of the type of background you are searching for.  Warning: Do not undervalue the experience of your top producer. Many companies lose direction and decide that their current top producer doesn’t have the kind of background they are looking for now. Be careful with this thought process.
    4. What is the compensation plan? 
      • If you don’t have this ironed out, don’t start your search. If you do, is your compensation plan competitive?  Try this compensation calculator if you are not sure. If you are not competitive with compensation refer back to question 3 and lower your requirements. You will not be able to recruit top talent unless you have a competitive compensation plan.  
    5. What is your quota? 
      • You must have a quota. Every talented sales person will want a budget to meet and they will want something to run for.  This is how they are compensated so communicate this clearly and fairly. If you set unrealistic quotas the sales reps will not be able to make any money and will leave for your competition.
    6. What is the average sales size?
    7. What is the average sales cycle?
    8. Who are your competitors? 
      • Can you recruit from them or are compensation and non-competes going to be an issue? If you are not competitive, look at the individuals your competitors have hired and figure out which companies they came from before joining your competitors company.  Now recruit those individuals.
    9. Have you defined your interview process?  
      • Are all stakeholders in the process aware of the interview stages and where their contribution is required? The interview process should take no longer than two weeks. If this is a challenge, find out where the bottlenecks are and why they exist. Revise the process because speed is the greatest factor to hiring or losing an elite sales candidate. Don’t make this mistake.
    10. What are the company’s core values? 
      • What soft skills fit well into your corporate culture? Understanding these characteristics are required to ask questions that uncover these values. If candidates share the same core values as your culture you are headed in a great direction.
    11. What is your recruitment strategy to find talent that fits the answers to the questions above? 
      • What is the first step to take to build a pipeline of candidates? Document this outreach process and track your metrics of success.  How many emails and phone calls does it take to find someone interested in your position?
    12. Are you accountable for this hire and process? 
      • What will you do to hold yourself accountable to get the job done?

You have to be a sales person to hire a sales person. You have to email, call, and text your prospective candidates. If they are unresponsive, but boast an impressive background, don’t give up! Continue your outreach over a few more attempts to get them into your pipeline.

Once you get them into your pipeline, you have to move quickly with a sense of urgency to get them scheduled in your interview process.  Once you have them scheduled, you have to build rapport, show them love, and clearly articulate why your organization is a fantastic opportunity for them. All the while you are doing this, you also have to unabashedly qualify and vet candidates to see if they are a good fit for your open role.

You will build a strong pipeline of candidates that align to the answers to the questions above.  As you move through the interview process you should be using an interview scorecard. This scorecard will help you assess the talent and find the best fit for your company and team. The companies who have the highest closing ratios on their offers collect a significant amount of intel from the candidate during the interview process.  They are then able to leverage this to be in the know when it comes to what other companies are offering and stay competitive.  

When making an offer it is recommended that you set a deadline for an answer. If the candidate cannot meet your deadline, move on and quickly engage with other top candidates on your shortlist.

If you would like to learn more about effective sales hiring practices for Account Executives, please reach out to our team for a free consultation, email [email protected] or call 781-327-8910.

Published On: June 15th, 2023Categories: Recruiting for Specific Job Descriptions, Sales Recruiting

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