Sales talent! According to a worldwide survey of 5,400+ employers by Mercer, this will be a time of brutal competition for top sales talent. Over 90% of surveyed CEOs expect increased competition for hiring top performers.
To win this competition, you must be strategic with your hiring efforts. A couple of questions to consider:
- Who are you trying to reach?
- Where does that group hang out?
- Is there a group of underserved, unrecognized, and highly motivated individuals you aren’t reaching through normal channels?
If you’re looking for the best candidates, don’t get lost in the usual listing services. There are hundreds of places where you can find the candidates you want, and you’ll be the only recruiter out there.
We informally surveyed 200 sales managers and asked them where they found their best sales talent. Here is a rank-order list of the best sources they reported:
- Referred to us (externally or internally) (47%)
- Worked for a competitor (14%)
- Responded to Online Ad (12%)
- Contacted directly by the sales candidate (9%)
- Came from internal promotion (4%)
- Worked for a supplier/service provider (3%)
- Recruited from a university (3%)
- Came from a customer (1%)
What was the order in your head before you read that? Do you keep track of where you get your best applicants? Whether you do or not, ask your sales team members how they first heard about you. And then tell them you’re looking to add a member or two.
Notice the survey. The number one source of sales talent and candidates is referrals. Your sales team and other employees can be an excellent resource for locating new sales talent. Create a robust sales-candidate referral program and offer incentives for referrals and ultimate hires. Ask employees to discuss the opening on their social networks (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.) To supercharge your candidate referral pipeline, you can:
- Ask new employees for referrals during the onboarding process.
- Create a contest for employees to compete for the most referrals
- Pass out referral cards at events
- Allow non-employees to refer candidates (clients, vendors, past employees, etc.)
You can also promote your job opening where your target applicants hang out online. Consider appropriate professional associations, meet-up groups, LinkedIn groups, Facebook communities, and other digital resources.
Look at government and non-profit resources. Not only can they find you good candidates, but they also often have their own training resources that can defray your onboarding costs.
We’re big fans of veteran resources—especially wounded warrior programs.
Job Boards and Job Search Engines That Work
SilkRoad consolidated information on 14 million applicants, 655,000 interviews, and 329,000 hires in its report on hiring sources. Their research confirms our informal sales managers’ survey: most hires come from internal or referral sources. According to this broader survey, external sources account for only about 48% of all hires.
Not surprisingly, the research shows that online recruiting (from job boards, job search engines, and social media) accounts for 72% of all externally sourced hires. This means you’ve got to build a robust online presence and brand.
Based on its research related to job boards, SilkRoad reports that the top online resources for hires are:
- Indeed (with 65% of all hires)
- CareerBuilder (11% of all hires)
- LinkedIn (8% of all hires)
By the time you read this, that list will be obsolete. Today’s ‘must read’ ad site will be tomorrow’s ‘who?’ It’s another reason you need a social media team that can stay on top of the ever-shifting digital landscape.
Our point? ABR (Always Be Recruiting) to continuously attract top sales talent.