Attracting the right people is a key step in putting together a highly performing sales team. But this is a discipline where competition is fierce for the best individuals. So how do you attract the best salespeople to drive leads, revenue, and ultimately business growth?

Michael Page recently held a LinkedIn Live discussion to address this very topic. Hosted by regional director Kat Jackson with contributions from senior operating director Chris Lyons, you can now access the archived event right here for full actionable insight into the sales recruitment market.

For more information, we have summarised some of the key points from the discussion and the Q&A below.

Event highlights

During this half-hour event, Kat and Chris provided a comprehensive overview of the current state of the sales recruitment market, along with the four key pillars that can help any business succeed when it comes to hiring in a challenging, candidate-led environment.

The discussion covered a variety of topics relating to finding and hiring top talent for sales roles, including up-to-date insights on:

  • Why you should establish campaign support and marketing collateral
  • How you can optimise the interview process
  • How to perfect your job offer management in a candidate-driven market
  • How to keep candidates engaged all the way through to onboarding

Kat and Chris share their own personal insights about hiring sales positions and the best practice businesses should adopt in order to attract the best individuals and start to build a highly performing sales team.

What are the four key pillars?

Chris outlines four crucial factors that can feed into the success or failure of a top-level sales recruitment campaign. These critical elements are especially important when targeting top performers, who may be more difficult to find, recruit and retain in a competitive hiring market.

The four key pillars discussed in the event are:

1. Campaign Support

Ensuring that your marketing collateral - such as your company LinkedIn page - portrays you as the company you would like to be.

2. Interview Process

How slick is your hiring process? High-calibre candidates may withdraw if you are running late or seem disinterested. Why should they care about your company?

3. Offer Management

Sales candidates are usually money-motivated, but that is not the only factor. Make a strong first offer and be clear about benefits like company car, holiday entitlement and pensions.

4. Candidate Engagement

Keep your most desirable candidates close. Give them opportunities to meet their future team. Make sure everything is in place so that new hires can start working on day one.

Ultimately, hiring managers need to be prepared to convince candidates of why they should want to work for you - especially if trying to attract them away from an existing position that pays well in salary, commission, bonuses and benefits.

Insights from the Q&A

Throughout the discussion, both Kat and Chris offered actionable insights in response to a series of questions. Here is a summary of their responses - the full broadcast contains many more:

Q: What is the best way to attract star salespeople right now?

Chris: "Since the pandemic, we have seen a very candidate-driven market. Now with a recession looming and high inflation, we think the more extreme characteristics of the market will tail off. However, businesses will need to satisfy their ongoing skills needs. We anticipate some slowing of jobs volume, especially in the sales sector. It's a great time for hiring managers to capitalise on this. But you may need to consider offering inflated salaries or guaranteed bonuses to entice top performers away from lucrative commission-based positions."

Q: What are the long-term prospects?

Chris: "If we are entering a recession, we anticipate slightly less competition for the best salespeople. You will need salespeople to continue to grow your business. We would urge you to use this opportunity to attract best-in-class talent whilst there is less competition for it. You can retain people by challenging them. People want to continue to learn, they want to feel supported and rewarded. Salespeople in particular need clarity about their targets and earning potential."

Q: How can sales perform better on diversity, equity and inclusion?

Kat: "Sales has a reputation for not having a full-circle approach to its DE&I policies. Sometimes having a policy is one thing, but actually practising that policy can be less prevalent in sales for all sorts of reasons. That obviously needs to change."

Chris: "You need to remove barriers to entry. It's all well and good to specify a candidate shortlist of at least 50% female, but you need to make sure the brief does not then exclude them from traditionally male-dominated roles. If you're genuinely serious about DE&I, look at bringing people on board earlier in their career, seek talent based on competency rather than experience, and work with us to invest your time into recruiting the best individuals from a slightly longer shortlist."

What’s next?

For more in-depth discussion of these questions and many more not listed here, watch the complete event on-demand. You can access Attracting Star Salespeople: Four Key Pillars in full here.