Tuesday, 24 January 2012


By Venetia Butler 
“What are the most effective ways to hire top sales people?” remains the number one question we  are asked at SALESGURU Careers, followed closely by “once we have secured top salespeople, how are we able to retain them?”. These are not easy questions to answer and questions without a magic answer, but certainly worth understanding in as much detail as possible. 

Specialising in the recruitment and representation of top sales people has enabled us to outline and understand the comprehensive detail involved in successful recruitment, and in so doing we have compiled an list of the crucial often missed steps in the recruitment process, that can be very rewarding and profitable when implemented successfully.

Each month we will be discussing one of the steps identified in the process, in the hope that this will assist your company in securing TOP SALES PROFESSIONALS.  This month we kick off with perhaps the most obvious and overlooked step in the recruitment process:

Is seems so simplistic to start with this, but I firmly believe that an understanding of why the vacancy is available will offer much insight into your strategy, planning and the recruitment process. 
There can be many possible reasons for a staff resignation, highlighted below are the top reasons why there are sales resignation and new vacancies:

Company growth is always an easy position to advertise as it falls in line with what most employee’s seek and want to hear about potential companies.  What is often missed is that as much as this is a great reason to advertise and talk about growth for employees it also speaks about the organisations successful sales record, this is a huge factor for sales people. This is also an indication that the company has a product or service offering that is desirable in the market place, that they have an efficient sales team who are selling the product or service and ultimately can be one of the main reasons why sales people choose to stay and work at that company.

No company growth is a major factor for candidates resigning, more so with the Y generation who expect to advance and grow far quicker than most and sometimes with an un-realistic expectation of career progression.  Realistic targets, timelines and expectations need to be discussed in the first interview in order to confirm the organisations expectation of the candidate you are hiring, the candidates expectations also need to be discussed in detail in order to understand there expected personal growth requirements.

It can be very rewarding and flattering to be headhunted or poached from a competitor and it often comes with a big increase.  Whilst the statistics still show that this remains common practice, we have seen a decline in headhunting in the Sales Industry as often these candidates have un-realistic salary expectation, furthermore it creates insecurity (if not managed properly) in a sales team as you never know how long will it be before competitors poach them or use salary as an incentive for them to move again.  

Salary, the remaining motivating factor for sales people, (more on this contested topic next month) also offers valuable insight in that it’s an opportunity to analyse whether or not your remuneration package is indeed market related and in line with what competitors are offering. Organisations should be paying realistic salaries in terms of what is market related for the skills and acumen required and when there is a commission structure included, the structure needs to be agreed between both parties and should be provided as motivational factor for the employee to close more sales.
Salary surveys conducted by various organisations are a great way of keeping up to date with industry salary standards.

Believe it or not this outdated description is one we still see most.  As generalised as this term has become it encompasses many aspects of an un-happy working environment including; job security, company culture, internal staff conflicts and management issues.  All of which contribute to the motivation for sales staff to stay at a company. These factors need to be analysed and understood clearly in the exit interview (an invaluable tool) for companies.  

When receiving applications from three or four candidates from the same company, we often find that there was no exit interview, and they were never allowed to voice their concerns and expectations or felt that they had no value and were just another number. 

Each of the possible reasons mentioned carry strong merit for analysis and need to be investigated.  Companies that are positioned as an employer of choice reduce many of the unnecessary resignations and recruitment costs involved and as such reap the benefits of strong staff retention.   


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  2. Employees are an important ingredient for the successful functioning of any organization. If you are looking to recruit online, one great way to start is to join a few of the online networking communities and web sites.
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