Within the residential building products industry, it isn't a secret that top salespeople can make huge impacts in your company. And, it is also pretty clear that finding and hiring the best-performing salespeople can be a challenge. That isn't to say it is impossible, but you do need to have a very narrow focus and possibly re-think your processes.
Keep in mind top performers are usually already employed. Smart companies work on attracting passive candidates and building long-term relationships with them.
What And Where
Knowing what you want and where to find it is the first step.
Talk with your current sales stars and find out what in their background, experience and tools have brought them success. Find out what organizations and groups they belong to. Where did they go to school? What were they active in during college? Who do they talk to, where do they network? Where do they hang out after work?
When you identify exactly what they bring to the table and where to find them, you'll have a great first step in building your attraction plan.
What Drives Them
Invest some time to get inside the brain of a high potential salesperson.
- What motivates them?
- What engages them and what turns them off?
- Think what salaries and compensation packages entice them?
- What management teams do they work best with?
- Which tools and support do they need to succeed?
- What do they really want to achieve?
- What future opportunities do they need access to?
- How do they talk about themselves?
- What matters to them outside of work?
When you can answer those questions, you'll have a pretty powerful idea and profile of what top performers think about and like.
All That Matters
Next, figure out what truly matters to your company in your next high-performing salesperson. Do they need to be up-to-date on every sales training that exists? Does their resume need to be super impressive? Do they have to have set records at all of their past positions? Does product mix, territory size, niche & channel carry more weight?
What exactly is it that gets them off the ground running and helps them continue to succeed? Identify what hasn't worked in the past and what was fantastic.
You should have a list now of what and who you want and a start on where to find them. When you sort the nice to have items from the real requirements, it makes attraction so much easier.
Start From The Ground Up
Finding and replacing top salespeople is one avenue, but another is growing and retaining your own.
- Do you have inside sales teams?
- Are your training programs and systems in place and up to snuff?
- Do they often transition to outside sales? Why or why not?
- Do you have a program to help train or transition from inside to outside?
- Is there a program in place to train outside sales teams?
- And keep updating their training?
- Do you nurture young staff members and help them develop skills?
- Is there a formal mentoring program within your company?
- Do you have skill or job paths designed and implemented?
Forming relationships with colleges and other organizations to hire and build up younger team members may be the route your company wants to go. You just need to figure out where to find them and make sure you have processes in place to help them grow.
Not every inside salesperson wants to move to outside sales, so keep both paths in mind.
Go Find Them & Build Relationships
Hiring can very much be a long game. You might lay groundwork for years before you actually snag high potential candidates.
Be active in your community and in networking. Make sure you make, build and develop relationships. Don't just hover by the free food and say hello, have some real conversations. The more you talk to someone, the more you'll learn about what makes them tick.
Build connections with anyone you know who interacts with top salespeople. Let them know you want to hire and keep the best.
Don't be afraid to think outside the box. When you run across a natural winner (say at a restaurant or a car dealership) don't be afraid to consider the possibilities. People skills and natural sales inclination can be just as important as knowing about residential building products.
Use everything you have learned to build enticing job ads and design fantastic opportunities. Use their language and their key driving factors in everything you do related to hiring.
Start thinking big picture: what do you want sales teams and individual top salespeople to look like? Where do you meet up with them, how do you entice them and how do you hire and retain them? When you know those answers, you'll be on your way to success.