9 Ways to Use Data to Improve Sales Recruiting

Published on Mar 14, 2022

Data is everywhere in the modern business world, and sales recruiting is no exception. A rapidly growing number of companies are now incorporating data into their recruiting operations to the point that it’s become ubiquitous. But how exactly are these companies using this data?

In this post, I’ll cover nine specific ways, citing statistics from a recent study. By seeing how others are capitalizing on the data boom and how it can improve recruiting, you’ll know how to work it into your own sales recruiting process as well. 

What the Research Says

An interesting study was performed that surveyed recruiting leaders to find out what the top uses of data were in their hiring process. The purpose was to A) identify the specific areas where data was most helpful for improving and B) rank these areas from top to bottom. 

Here’s were the findings. 

Now let’s unpack everything in detail. 

  1. Improve Retention – 56%

Salesperson turnover is an ongoing problem for many companies. On average, the salesperson turnover rate is around 34%, with involuntary turnover accounting for nearly two-thirds of it. However, 10% of companies have much higher turnover rates at over 55%. That’s why the most common reason for using data is to improve retention and keep quality salespeople around longer. 

“With data science, you can better understand trends and patterns in your workforce, making it easier to improve employee retention,” explains data science consulting firm Millan Chicago. “Improving employee retention involves hiring the right people, managing turnover, and detecting and dealing with culture problems.” By having concrete information like this, you can make intelligent decisions and continually refine this vital aspect of operations. 

  1. Identify Skills Gaps – 50%

Not all salespeople are created equally. It’s as simple as that. 

Whenever a company lacks critical skills, their productivity and inevitably profitability will suffer. But data has proven to be highly effective for identifying skills gaps to help determine which specific areas need to be addressed. Modern data tools can, for example, find competency and performance gaps to help guide salesperson hiring and training so you can eliminate major issues and better develop your talent to thrive. 

  1. Make Better Offers – 50%

Due to the recent talent shortages in the sales industry, high-level sales reps have a lot of leverage. A key part of enticing them to join your organization is making solid offers while taking things like salary, career development, schedule flexibility, and remote opportunities into account. By analyzing data, you can pinpoint what top salespeople are most receptive to so you can make better offers, and, in turn, bring on top talent. 

  1. Understand What Candidates Want – 46%

Besides better offers, nearly half of sales recruiters also use data to gain a better understanding of candidate desires and objectives. A recent poll from LinkedIn, for instance, found work-life balance, compensation and benefits, and colleagues and culture were the most important priorities overall. And flexible work arrangements, an inclusive workplace, and work-life balance were some of the fastest-growing priorities since COVID. 

Accessing comprehensive data can provide a bird’s-eye view of what’s most important for your exact candidate demographic so you can make the right adjustments with your recruiting. 

  1. Enhance Workforce Planning – 41%

Further, data can aid in several areas of workplace planning such as forecasting trends, demographic changes, talent management, and strategic direction. That way you’re more likely to have the right people with the right skills at the right time. 

  1. Predict Candidate Success – 39%

One of the biggest things that excites me personally about data is that you can use it to scientifically predict which candidates will be successful. With HireDNA, for instance, you can assess candidates based on development metrics, sales “DNA” competencies, and selling competencies to generate quantifiable data. Here’s an example. 

This makes it much easier to filter through the talent pool and find the true rockstars with the ideal candidate profile based on your unique selling environment. And it’s highly effective, with 92% of suggested candidates hitting the top of the sales force within their first year. 

  1. Evaluate Talent Supply and Demand – 38%

As I mentioned earlier, there’s been a serious talent shortage as of late — something that’s primarily due to the backlash of COVID and many new grads being hesitant to get into the sales profession. So it’s extremely important to have a grip on supply and demand and know how to evaluate talent in the current landscape. Data can help here because you can “zoom-out” on supply and demand trends and make accurate predictions for more effective staffing. 

  1. Compare Talent KPIs with Competitors’ – 31%

Given how competitive sales recruiting is these days, it’s helpful to know how your company stacks up against the competition. With data, you can analyze KPIs like turnover, retention, employee satisfaction, cost-to-hire, and time-to-hire to see where you’re winning and what needs work. With continued refinement over time, this puts you in a position to win the talent war. 

  1. Forecast Hiring Demands – 29%

Finally, data can help gauge future hiring demands so you can identify employment projections. Rather than taking a reactive approach to recruiting where you look for new salespeople after you need them, you can take a proactive approach where you initiate the search in advance. That way you have people in place precisely when you need them, which can eliminate a lot of unnecessary stress. 

Closing Thoughts

I think we can all agree that data is super important and has a wide range of practical applications. But when it comes down to what those exact applications are, many sales recruiters aren’t 100% sure. After reading this post, you should be clear about the most common ways today’s sales recruiters are using data and how you can apply it to your own operations. 

Learn more about how HireDNA can help you find better salespeople, faster. 

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