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How to Hire the Best Sales Talent.

By: Jeff Hoffman

Hiring is frequently top of mind at the beginning of the year. But how do you find the best talent? As a manager, you want to hire someone who will be the best fit, and hit their quota successfully.

Here are my three tips when looking into finding the best talent.

Step 1: Make It a Habit to Ask Your Best/Top Performing Reps for Recommendations & References To Friends

The best rep on your team has a buddy who is an awesome and gainfully employed rep on another sales manager’s team. Before starting your search, it’s important to remember that your next great hire is A) employed, and B) is already thought of highly by their own manager. Basically, your next superstar is a super star for someone else right now.

What does that mean for you?

It means that it’s going to be hard to pry them away from their current place. They’re not looking because they are valued by their current company and performing well. That is only going to be dislodged by someone else, ie. your top performer; their friend. Utilize your own best reps to find your next stellar sales hire. 

Step 2: Use a Similar Approach with Your Top Executives in Your Company

Speak to executives at your own company who are in non-sales roles. Maybe it’s the Head of Product, the VP of Marketing, or Vp of Operations. Ask the real leaders. People you respect and admire. These are the people who, regardless of their title or role, when they speak, everyone listens.

Ask them, “Can you tell me who were the top reps from your last company? I just want help identifying the right people for my open role.” Now, they won’t be able to give you direct access to this top performing rep, because they most likely signed a non-compete clause. But a name and direction still helps you in your search.

If you have a non-sales person say to you, “get Bill,” then you know that person is a winner. Because your non-sales executive knows that Bill is the best at sales, then you, as someone in sales, should have the confidence to know he’ll be a great rep.

Step 3: Network Or Research Out Of Industry, But in Similar Environments

What does this mean? I was talking to a client of mine, who is trying to find talent in the Bay Area. Specifically, he was hiring for new BDR and SDR positions in his company. The Bay Area is full of awesome companies to work for. That coupled with the boom in tech has left unemployment at about 2% in these specific roles. So when my client shared that he had to hire 15 new reps, my first thought was GOOD LUCK. You are hardly the only company hiring for BDRs and SDRs, in the Bay Area.

So what can he do?

I advised, let’s stop talking about what you sell, and let’s think about how your buyers buy. Give me the background of your process. How do sales in your company work? Once you get the details of the process, sit down and look at the these adjectives and qualities needed. What kind of industry aligns to these adjectives?

For this client in particular, those buying their products most directly related to sales processes in the travel industry. Specifically, the car rental industry. By expanding his search into this specific industry he was able to expand his search to include more tenured reps that had the skill set he was hiring for. And these were  excited at the prospect of joining the tech industry, and so getting them onboard was easier than prying away a top performer from their competitor. Additionally, something to consider is that these ‘out of industry’ reps will most likely be willing to come over at a lower cost than persuading another seasoned tech rep from a competitor company.

These steps will help you narrow your candidate focus, and hone in on the people who are worth your time. This doesn’t mean you can just hire anyone. You still need to hire a winner. When confronted with hiring for the best, expanding the verticals you investigate could be the game changer in finding amazing sales reps for your team. 


Stay tuned next week for an exclusive two part post on how to effectively evaluate your new hire’s performance, and how to fire someone who just isn’t working out.

Happy Selling!

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