“I still haven’t found what I’m looking for…”
I’ve been tracking and focusing on sales hiring for the past few months. Just for fun this morning, I typed sales into the job search function on LinkedIn and found 207,242 open job postings. Wow. Out of curiosity, I read a large sample of them and found they all look the same.
An oversupply of jobs and insufficient qualified candidates make growth and expansion difficult. Trying to find effective salespeople is even more challenging, but leading companies and high-performing sales cultures are still hiring top candidates. So, why can’t you?
CEOs or Sales Leaders often say, “We need to add a salesperson.” Then they dust off an old job description, post it on LinkedIn, and it blends into oblivion with the other 207,242 sales jobs. No differentiation. No understanding of the person they need to find. No amazing applicants.
What’s the deal?
There are two huge mistakes likely causing you to miss strong candidates
- a poorly defined sales role and
- a job description in place of a well-written ad.
The good news? After reading this article, you can fix both.
What sales role are you hiring to fill?
Like different positions on a sports team, there are different types of salespeople and roles. Your sales hiring process must be specific to your need. Here are 8 critical questions.
- What do you want this person to do?
- What are the 3 to 5 skills and activities the candidate must consistently do to succeed?
- Do they need to hunt and prospect, or do you have leads for them?
- Do they need to contact decision-makers?
- Do you have a solid message that works, or do they need to create one?
- Can they qualify and ask great questions?
- Are they closely managed?
- What actions need to happen every day for the person to be successful?
Once you understand the work, you can find the person that embodies the actions that achieve your desired outcomes. Think about the future and what needs to happen. If you have current salespeople that are effective and achieve their goals, ask them what they do. It’s ok if you don’t know – most don’t. Use this opportunity to learn.
The candidate should say: It’s like you were talking about me.
Once you clearly understand the job, you are ready to write the ad. Most of the ads on LinkedIn and Indeed make the same mistake. They all do some version of the following:
About Us – Job Description – Responsibilities – Qualifications – Benefits
A job ad is an advertisement – so grab their attention and make it personal. You’re hiring a real person so the job description must describe the person you want. Lead with the persona of your ideal candidate. In a crowded marketplace, your ad needs language and descriptions that speak to them. The first sentences of the ad should make them think, “This sounds like me.”
Save information about the company for the close. Your goal with the ad is to get the sales candidates’ attention, not sell the candidate on your company; you can do that in the final interview. Make the ad all about the candidate and the role. Don’t sugarcoat anything either—you want someone who won’t run from the tough stuff.
Now you see why it is essential to understand the role fully. How can you ever hire the right salesperson if you don’t know what type you need?
When you fully deconstruct the role, you’ll discover what type of salesperson you need to hire. That work makes writing an attractive, candidate-centric ad a whole lot easier. Taking these two steps will make your company stand out in a sea of sales jobs.
If you want help, grab 15 minutes on my calendar.