How CEOs can recruit the right sales talent to succeed

Sales professionals expect to be paid well. Salaries for experienced salespeople are often larger than other career paths with the same number of years experience.

To ensure businesses grow successfully and maintain that growth, they often need to pay the “market rate” for sales talent. If competitors are paying a few grand more, and have a stronger overall compensation package, it will be more challenging the recruit the calibre of talent you need to hit growth targets.

However, the challenge - as any CEO will know - is when you encounter salespeople who are better at selling themselves than your products/services. Or when you encounter salespeople who establish a great rapport, but down the road there isn’t a strong cultural fit. Either way, you need to start the process again, it costs more money, and your sales team could miss targets.

How do you recruit sales talent that will ensure you hit growth targets?

Here is a quick guide for busy CEOs and managers responsible for recruiting sales talent.

Top 5 tips for recruiting impactful sales talent

#1: Assess values and motivations

Behind every company is a “Big WHY?” And behind every career and every sizeable career choice is a big why. Often more personal and rarely as public, there is a reason people go into sales.

Money is often part of it. But is this the only reason? Sales is a career that suits those with a certain type of personality. Outgoing, friendly and helpful is part of that, and that should - if you want a successful sales team - reflect in those who are hired. Make sure the sales team hires are aligned with company values. You need a team that want to help clients, want to make a positive impact, and aren’t only after the money.

Financial goals should fit in with values, but when those are their only motivations then cutting corners and looking for their next job could factor into how they perform. Always be careful when it comes to a salesperson’s values and motivations.

#2: Assess problem solving skills

When it comes to consultative selling and account management, these aren’t job roles that require quick-fire transactional sales skills. Consultative selling is about problem solving. Asking the right questions and finding solutions for clients that fit the products/services your company offers.

Ask for examples of how they solved problems for clients in the past. Whenever possible, test these skills in a pitch or demo environment. It isn’t necessarily about how they pitch, it’s about how they think and approach a potential client with the right solutions for them.

#3: Test technical skills

Sales roles often involve the use of several software services and apps. And when your product/service is in the tech sector, you need a team that are comfortable using apps and software. Ask for examples in previous jobs and if possible, let them use your software and make sure that they’re comfortable with the relevant sales tech tools.

#4: Don’t neglect references

When you’ve got a salesperson who seem as though they can sell anything to anyone, make sure they are credible. It can be too easy to rush to offer them the complete package if they seem the perfect fit. So ask their previous employer and other relevant references for feedback before going ahead. It could save you a lot of trouble in the long-term.

#5: Ask for referrals

When looking to recruit new members of a sales team, always start within your network. Ask people whom you like, know and trust. See if they know of anyone looking for a new role. Likewise, after hiring a salesperson who is a good fit for your company, ask if they know anyone keen to jump ship - and with the right skills, experiences and values - when you need to recruit the next member of the team.

Recruiting the right talent is something that every CEO needs to manage carefully. Especially in sales teams. Take extra care to ensure that someone is as good as they sound on paper and in-person. Check that values, motivations, experiences and skills are aligned with your company and they possess a keen problem solving ability and desire to help others and make a positive impact.