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What HR teams need to know to build and scale their sales organizations

Updated: Jan 18, 2019

Building and scaling an organization’s sales team can be a daunting task for sales leaders and human resources (HR) professionals. Whether you are working to keep up with new hiring trends, focusing on maintaining balance within your existing teams, or looking at innovative approaches to bringing on the best talent, we know that managing and planning for growth and the addition of new sales hires can be a challenge.

As we look ahead to 2019, there’s no better time than the present to revamp your hiring strategies. Included below are some key recommendations for you to consider as you plan to build out and scale the best sales teams, i.e., those who will create strategies, implement solutions, and deliver lasting results for your company. These thought starters will hopefully inspire different strategies that give your recruiting efforts that little push it needs to ensure a great start to a successful year.

By Jamie Hoobanoff, December 2018

Sales Recruitment is Sales Itself

The way in which your HR (and recruiting) team approaches the market is crucial to attracting the right talent. Your approach sets the tone for your search and your recruiter’s ability to sell, and will ultimately make or break the success of your talent acquisition efforts.

To win the kind of talent that is going to help your company disrupt, grow, and provide your customers a best-in-class experience, your recruiters need to be really good sales people. They must know your culture, your mission, and what makes your company a great place to work. They need to believe in your company’s vision and be able to communicate it to the types of talent you’re targeting. They must also be able to clearly articulate the full range of your company’s benefits as an employer of choice. They have to sell your company as the best place for a sales person to build their career.

Don’t Just Hire for Experience

Finding applicants is the easy part. In fact, most jobs that are advertised receive too many applications. The trouble is that, based on our experience, roughly 95% of them are irrelevant or unqualified candidates.

Although sales people are generally evaluated and analyzed on sales metrics, it’s important to recognize that this should not define your hiring decision. While metrics are a crucial indicator of how a candidate will perform on your sales team, finding a passionate salesperson who has excellent communications skills and also fits the company culture is a great way to foresee how a candidate will shine on your team.

Showcase Your Employment Brand

For the brands that we work with, approximately 30 percent of employees are part of the sales team. And of every three candidates interviewed, one will be hired. If we view our insights as an industry average, we know that a vast number of sales talent will connect with your business during the hiring process, creating a huge opportunity for candidates to directly experience your brand. To capitalize on this opportunity, everyone that connects with a candidate - whether it be your HR team, an outsourced recruiter, or the senior executives conducting interviews - must effectively represent your company’s brand. This includes conveying key aspects of your organization’s identity, such as a culture of collaboration, or a flexible work environment that thrives on creativity, or recognition programs that reinforce an appreciation for employees.

Ensure Consistency in Evaluating Candidates

As all sales candidates should have the exact same interview experience, keep the process consistent. This begins with creating a baseline measurement against which to fully analyze candidates. This will ensure that expectations and standards being measured are consistent across the prospective talent pool.

Going beyond the standard check marks, your evaluation should also measure candidate fit based on experience not highlighted on the standard resume. Take, for example, a focus on diversity. This is a topic that takes on many meanings in the hiring process. How diverse is the candidate in their approach to sales? Do they think outside the box? Can they creatively solve problems and build strategies? Do they bring a different perspective to the table? These are not only questions your talent acquisition team or recruiter should ask, but against which each candidate should be evaluated.

A Solid Plan Today Can Deliver Long-Term Rewards

Hiring for a rapidly growing sales team isn't always easy. However, putting a plan in place and strategically selecting the right professionals can help you build out a strong team. It could also lead to increases in revenue and improvements in company culture that impact your organization for years to come.


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