Hiring Your First Sales Leader? Here’s How to Handle the Process Strategically.

Choosing your first sales leader is exciting, but it can also be a little nerve-racking. With so much riding on their success, it’s a critical position you want to find the ideal candidate for.

In this post, I’ll explain how to handle the process strategically and provide helpful tools to dramatically increase your chances of choosing the right sales leader.

Identify Critical Traits

Before you do anything, it’s important to figure out exactly what you’re looking for in your first sales leader, as this will impact your job ads, interview questions, and more. While what is considered ideal traits will vary from company to company, there are nine attributes to look for across the board, including trustworthiness, being a natural motivator, and being an excellent communicator.

This graphic is a great starting point for coming up with your list.

9 Traits of a Sales Leader | The Sales Hunter

Keep in mind that you’ll also want to consider cultural fit and what type of personality will mesh the best with your existing sales team. Once you’ve got a tangible list of traits ironed out, the rest of the hiring process should be a lot easier. This brings us to the next step in the process.

Create an Ideal Candidate Profile

Based on the information you’ve generated from identifying critical traits (which you can think of as a rough draft), use it to create a fully fleshed-out ideal candidate profile. The more detailed the better, as it will provide a clear template to draw from when later assessing sales leader candidates for a position.

Along with the attributes I discussed earlier, some elements to include in your ideal candidate profile can include:

  • Education
  • Selling and leadership experience
  • Industry experience
  • Candidate demographic
  • Location
  • Hard skills
  • Soft Skills

One thing I’d like to point out here is that some sales recruiters get too hung up on looking for candidates with industry experience that they miss out on potentially A+ talent. I’ve found that, in many cases, candidates with proven sales and leadership abilities can make for excellent hires even if they don’t necessarily have direct industry experience. My philosophy is that it’s easier to train on products than it is on sales and leadership.

So this is something to keep in mind if you find a candidate who looks promising but lacks direct industry experience. Check out this article for more info.

Build Your Talent Pipeline

Now that you have a clear idea of the type of candidate you want to be your first sales leader, it’s time to build a talent pipeline to help you procure a true rockstar. There are several ways to go about this, including:

  • Recruitment marketing on job boards
  • Paid advertising on search engines and social media
  • Recruiting internally
  • Getting referrals from current employees
  • Email newsletters
  • Engaging passive candidates

Like any other aspect of sales recruiting, building a talent pipeline will likely require trial and error until you find the right formula. A great way to streamline this part of recruiting is to use a platform like HireDNA.

HireDNA used powerful technology that identifies and engages both active and passive candidates that match your ideal candidate profile, allowing you to cast the widest possible net with maximum efficiency. With it, you can tap into a national network of experienced sales recruiters to quickly fill your pipeline.

So if you’re struggling in this area, using a platform like HireDNA can be a huge help.

Screen and Assess Candidates

At this point, you should know the critical traits you’re looking for in a sales leader, have developed an ideal candidate profile, and have a talent pipeline in place. And that’s half the battle. Now, it’s time to screen candidates and evaluate them based on your specific criteria to find the right fit for your unique selling environment.

Given how overwhelming this phase can be, I usually suggest using technology to streamline it to A) save time and B) increase your odds of success. One way to go about this is by using an applicant tracking system (ATS) to filter through candidates and organize them so you can narrow your talent pool down to the best of the best. G2 has a great resource that covers some of the top applicant tracking systems.

Another way is to use HireDNA to screen and assess candidates using data and science to better predict the likelihood of success. This looks at numerous core competencies like motivation and desire to determine the top candidates for a sales leadership role to ensure you’re never “going on a hunch,” but rather making assessments based on concrete data.

To save even more time, HireDNA delivers qualified candidates right to your inbox for maximum convenience.

Interview and Hire

From this point, the heavy lifting is done. Now it’s just a matter of shortlisting the cream of the crop and interviewing the candidates that check the right boxes.

Note that interviewing for your first sales leader position will likely look a little different than if you were interviewing for a regular sales rep position and will be more extensive. Venture capital firm Stage 2 Capital suggests conducting two interviews, with the first being with your CEO/founder and marketing leader.

Then, if they pass their first round, the second interview will be a group meeting with your sales team and executive team and another with your CEO/founder.

This, of course, may not be the exact formula you want to take, but I think this is a good template to borrow from. And you can always refine your strategy later on when you hire again.

Finding the Perfect First Sales Leader

A sales leader is a pivotal position, and whoever you hire will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of your company. So you want to get it right. By taking a strategic approach as I’ve outlined above, you can methodically move through the process to ensure a strong candidate pool and narrow it down until you have a winner.

To learn more about how HireDNA can help you find sales leaders and schedule a live demo, reach out to us today.

The Correlation Between a Positive Brand and Better Sales Recruiting

The impact of positive branding is far-reaching. From increasing brand equity with consumers to building trust with leads to winning over customers, effective branding is an essential precursor to success. But besides the consumer side of things, positive branding can also be immensely helpful for recruiting. In this post, I’ll examine some specific ways it leads to better sales recruiting, citing captivating stats that show just how big the impact can be.

A Higher Volume of Qualified Salespeople Will Apply

A basic yet essential first step in successful sales recruiting is simply getting qualified salespeople to apply. I’m not talking about getting just anyone to apply. I’m talking about getting qualified candidates that have the skillset needed to thrive in their position long-term. Those with a proven track record and who understand the entire sales funnel, how to build rapport, and how to close.

According to a recent study, “a business that’s considered a reputable brand receives 50% more qualified candidates.” And it makes complete sense. When a talented sales rep is searching for a potential employer, they’re naturally going to gravitate toward one that has amazing brand equity. Whether it’s receiving a great rating on job search sites, having a solid social media following, getting a nod of approval from other legitimate brands, or simply passing the “eyeball test” with brand recognition (think HubSpot or Salesforce), these factors can greatly increase your brand equity.

By the way, if you’re curious about which factors influence brand equity the most, here are some of the biggest.

By making your company a “destination brand,” you’re almost guaranteed to receive a higher number of applications from qualified salespeople when posting a job for a sales position. What I also found interesting is that this transcends just appealing to active job seekers and carries over to passive candidates who aren’t necessarily looking for a new job but would be willing to consider one if the right offer came along. As a matter of fact, “86% of passive candidates evaluate a brand before applying to a job.” So if you’re looking to bake this into your sales recruiting recipe (something I highly recommend), this is a good way to do it.

More Qualified Applicants Will Accept the Job

Research has also found that having a solid brand reputation is critical for getting elite salespeople to accept an offer. More specifically, “75% of Americans would not take a job if the company had a bad reputation.” That’s definitely worth noting, as it doesn’t do you much good if you go through all the trouble of creating a job ad, filtering through candidates, interviewing, and so on, and ultimately putting an offer on the table, only to have a candidate decline.

But if you have a strong brand reputation right from the start, you’re much more likely to seal the deal and bring elite salespeople to your team.

Recruitment Costs Can Be Slashed in Half

I’m not going to get into all the gory details of recruiting costs. But as you’re probably aware, it can be quite expensive in 2022. Recent SHRM data found the average cost-per-hire is $4,683, with leadership positions being sky-high at over $28,000.

Another huge benefit of effective branding is spending significantly less on recruiting. In fact, one study found that it can reduce recruitment costs by a staggering 50%.

Why? There are two main reasons.

First, more quality candidates will come to you. “One of the most marked benefits of successfully positioning your company as a desirable place to work is that more candidates will actively seek you out and apply for positions through your career site,” explains recruitment marketing automation software SmartDreamers. “In a job market in which the highest quality candidates can essentially sit down and decide which employers they’re interested in, being top of mind for these applicants can be a huge boon.”

Second, the candidates you get should be far more receptive than if you were a company with minimal brand equity. By having a strong brand, you should spend less time chasing candidates around, which should shorten your time-to-hire and, subsequently, lower your spending. This goes back to what I mentioned earlier about more qualified candidates accepting the job where you’ll have “fewer fish get off the line” and are in a better position to convert the A+ reps you really want.

Less Turnover

Finally, it should also be mentioned that “a strong employer brand reduces turnover by 28%.” When you have a firm framework in place where top-tier candidates are drawn to you, a high job offer acceptance rate, and so on, it naturally sets the stage for salespeople to hang around longer. And this creates a virtuous cycle that continues to strengthen your brand, which, in turn, helps you acquire more quality talent. In the grand scheme of things, this can create an immense competitive advantage.

Better Sales Recruiting Through Positive Branding

When most people think about branding, they see it through a consumer-based lens. And they wouldn’t be wrong. Strong branding is a critical component of winning over customers. But it goes much deeper than that.

As we’ve learned here, effective branding also leads to better sales recruiting by:

  • Generating a higher volume of qualified candidates
  • Incentivizing more qualified candidates to accept job offers
  • Lowering recruitment costs
  • Reducing turnover

That’s why branding should be a top priority if it isn’t already.

Looking to accelerate your sales hiring and fill open positions faster? Learn how HireDNA can help using science-based assessments and intelligent matching to predict success. 92% of candidates climb to the top of their sales team within the first year, and turnover is lowered by 33% with HireDNA.

61% of New Salespeople Say The Job Doesn’t Match Their Expectations: The Importance of Transparent Hiring

It happens all the time. A new salesperson is hired, onboarded, and starts selling. But somewhere along the way, the actual experience of daily activities doesn’t quite align with their expectations. In other words, there’s been a lack of transparent hiring.

In some cases, a salesperson will carry on and make the adjustments. However, other times, they’ll end up leaving prematurely, creating a toxic turnover rate. To quantify, 48% of salespeople have left their job because it didn’t meet expectations.

And here’s the kicker. The majority of new salespeople (61%) say the job doesn’t match their expectations. Considering this is such an obvious issue, let’s take a deep dive into the importance of transparent hiring.

Some Context

First, it’s necessary to understand the current recruiting climate that today’s businesses are operating in.

We live in an age where applicants can find virtually anything they want about a potential employer. A quick look through social media or a search on Google, for example, gives them access to direct input from current employees, previous employees, or someone who has known an employee.

Just look at all the results that popped up for “HubSpot career reviews” in Google.

In seconds a potential candidate can get quantifiable reviews, see whether or not HubSpot is a good company to work for, see what employees have to say about HubSpot, and more. Some sites like Comparably are even solely devoted to analyzing companies and educating people on brands, salaries, culture, values, and so on.

While companies in the past could often paint their own picture of what it’s like to work for them and largely control the narrative, this isn’t the case anymore. Technology has put the power in the hands of candidates, which means applicants can easily sniff out any discrepancies between the image a company portrays and reality.

As Bertrand Dusser, Oracle’s vice president of human capital management transformation puts it, “the key takeaway is that when job seekers have unprecedented access to insights about a workplace, they also develop an extremely low tolerance for blatantly promotional messaging and gaps between what an organization says about itself and what’s being conveyed online.”

When you combine the ease in which sales candidates can find company information, how inconsistencies can hurt the employee experience, and how likely salespeople are to leave if a job doesn’t match their expectations, transparent hiring has arguably never been more important than it is today.

In fact, “96% of job seekers say that it’s important to work for a company that embraces transparency.” And how can you blame them? It’s almost guaranteed to be disappointing if they’re excited to join a company that seemingly checks all the boxes but underdelivers in the end.

Reasons for the Discrepancy

The fact that 61% of new salespeople have joined companies that don’t align with their expectations shows just how pervasive a lack of hiring transparency is. But what are some of the exact reasons for it?

According to research:

  • 59% say it’s because of a discrepancy in job responsibilities
  • 42% say working environment
  • 35% say work hours or shift patterns
  • 29% say salary or benefits

The Advantages of Transparent Hiring (Besides Lower Turnover)

Perhaps the number one reason to embrace transparent hiring is increased retention. When the day-to-day activities of a job match what a salesperson expected, they’ll naturally be inclined to hang around longer. And when you hire elite sales reps, this is vital to building a strong foundation and thriving in your industry.

Also, note that younger salespeople have a lower tolerance for discrepancies. More specifically, “a higher percentage of Gen Z respondents (73%), those aged 18 to 24, reported leaving their job for not meeting their expectations.” So transparent hiring is especially important if you’re looking to recruit young professionals fresh out of college.

But it goes much deeper than that. Another key benefit is the overall increase in candidate quality that transparent companies tend to get. “Research shows that organizations often see significantly higher-quality applicants if they manage their employment brand effectively,” writes Forbes. “One explanation is that transparency helps candidates make better decisions about which organizations suit them best.”

There’s also the matter of increased trust. When a position matches what a new sales rep expects, it sets the stage for trust right off the bat. That way a salesperson can settle in without unnecessary friction and they know they’re in good hands working for a company that delivers on promises. This, in turn, can increase morale, raise employee satisfaction, and boost overall performance.

Finally, hiring transparency can increase brand equity. With social media and career sites distributing employer information at lightning-fast speed, word gets around in a hurry. If a company gains a reputation for hyping up its sales positions but chronically falls short where reps are profoundly disappointed, it’s going to harm its reputation. Conversely, setting the right expectations where a company paints a crystal clear picture and delivers should result in consistently happier reps that sing the praises of their employer. And that’s always a recipe for improved brand equity.

When you look at it from different angles, it’s clear that transparent hiring is a win-win for salespeople and the companies hiring them.

Transparent Hiring: Closing Thoughts

While I wasn’t surprised that not all sales positions perfectly aligned with candidate expectations, I was surprised that it was so common. With more than 6 out of every 10 sales reps saying a job didn’t meet their expectations, this is a major problem where many companies are falling short.

That’s why hiring transparency is something I highly recommend analyzing and identifying areas for improvement. For advice on this, I suggest reading this quick guide from Villanova University, as it provides an easy-to-follow checklist.

And if you’re looking to fill your talent pipeline with leading salespeople in your industry while drastically reducing hiring inefficiencies, check out HireDNA. This platform uses cutting-edge technology like intelligent matching and science-based assessments to find the cream of the crop and eliminates 96% of hiring mistakes.

Over Half of Salespeople Will Take a Pay Cut for Increased Flexibility: How to Attract Top Sales Reps When You Can’t Win the Bidding War

Sales recruiting is hard. When you combine a global talent supply shortage, younger professionals shying away from the sales industry, and increasing competition, it’s not easy to attract top sales reps. This is especially true if you’re a fledgling startup and simply don’t have the financial power to pay big salaries.

Fortunately, there’s a workaround that can help you snag A+ talent without having to shell out big bucks. And it all boils down to one thing — flexibility. Allow me to explain.

Sales Rep Salary Outlook

A few months ago, I wrote an article about sales rep salary in 2022 that discussed how much today’s salespeople earn on average. In it, I mentioned that the annual median salary is around $62,000. However, more talented individuals can earn closer to $90,000 per year.

And when you look at the overall trajectory of salesperson salary moving forward, it’s clear it’s not slowing down any time soon.

While keeping up with salary growth may not be a big deal for well-established companies with deep pockets and plenty of clout, it’s not always easy for smaller businesses that are just getting their footing. So if your company is closer to the latter and you can’t afford to write huge paychecks, you need to get creative in order to attract top sales reps.

This leads me to the crux of this article.

How to Attract Top Sales Reps with Increased Flexibility

While there are numerous strategies for winning the talent war without paying more, one of the most realistic is to create a more flexible workplace that helps salespeople establish a healthy work/life balance. According to a recent PwC study about the future of recruiting, they found “slightly over half (51%) of sales reps would forgo higher salaries for more flexibility. That’s even higher among women (53%) and those who have been in the workforce longer (56%).”

More specifically, sales reps are willing to give up to 12% of their salary to have great flexibility.

And there’s plenty of other data that echoes the same sentiment. In fact, a recent hybrid working study by the Harvard Business Review said “59% of respondents reported that ‘flexibility’ is more important to them than salary or other benefits.” By these numbers, it’s clear that offering more flexibility can be an effective way to level the playing field when you can’t offer as high of a salary as other companies.

What Types of Workplace Flexibility Are Most Effective?

There are two main types of arrangements that can create a more flexible workplace.

First, there’s telecommuting where salespeople can work from home or on the road either full-time or part-time. With COVID basically forcing businesses to embrace contactless communication within themselves and with their customers, telecommuting has rapidly evolved in a short period of time. That’s why it’s something to heavily consider adapting in at least some capacity if you haven’t done so already.

Fortunately, with an abundance of cutting-edge software available for nearly every industry, telecommuting is easier than ever. A sales management system, for example, allows you to automate workflows, assign leads to sales reps, track KPIs, and more. A video conferencing platform like Zoom allows for high-quality sales calls, group meetings, and sales demos. And project management software like Asana and Trello makes it easy to break large projects down and monitor them from conception to completion. You can get a ton of helpful information on managing a remote workforce in this previous article we wrote.

Second, there’s flexible scheduling, which according to the SHRM, can include the following arrangements:

  • Flextime
  • Compressed workweek
  • Shift work
  • Part-time schedules
  • Job sharing

While it can, admittedly, create scheduling conflicts, and you need to look at it from every angle before letting salespeople work whatever schedule they want, flexible scheduling can be highly effective for attracting top talent. It’s just a matter of figuring out what will realistically work for your company. Also, it will likely take some trial-and-error before you get it just right. But with a bit of refinement, flexible scheduling has the potential to work well for your company.

Note that flexible scheduling can create some challenges from a legal perspective. Managing benefits, workers’ compensation, and independent contractor classification, for example, can become more difficult when you’re not operating with a traditional full-time work week. That’s why you’ll need to fully consider all the legal implications before making any official changes.

This resource from the SHRM is extremely helpful for this and highlights everything to take into consideration before implementing flexible scheduling.

Looking Beyond Salary to Attract Top Sales Reps

Let’s be real. Salary is important. At the end of the day, talented salespeople will always want to be paid well. But it’s not the only factor that determines who they choose to work with.

Workplace flexibility has become increasingly important for many salespeople, and that’s not a trend that’s likely to end any time soon. While this won’t guarantee you’ll get every rockstar you want, it can definitely put your company on the radar of more talented reps and help get your foot in the door when you can’t afford to pay a big salary.

Find out how HireDNA can help you get a steady pipeline of pre-screened, qualified sales candidates to grow your team and thrive within your industry. HireDNA can cut your hiring time in half, and 92% of recommended candidates become sales leaders within their first year.

7 out of 10 Sales Candidates Will Apply to Companies That Practice Brand Management. Here’s Why.

When most people think of brand management, they think of it from the consumer side of things. And they wouldn’t be wrong.

The definition of brand management, according to Investopedia, is “a function of marketing that uses techniques to increase the perceived value of a product line or brand over time.” Further, “effective brand management enables the price of products to go up and builds loyal customers through positive brand associations and images or a strong awareness of the brand.”

But as we’ll discuss in this post, there’s a heavy overlap between brand management and sales recruiting. When done correctly, brand management can be instrumental in generating high-quality sales candidates that can be tremendous assets to your team. Here’s why.

The Correlation Between Brand Management and Increased Applicants

A few years ago, extensive research was done to identify the correlation between brand management and the likelihood of qualified sales candidates applying to jobs. Their findings were interesting, but perhaps the most compelling stat is that nearly 7 out of 10 “job seekers are likely to apply if the employer actively manages its brand.” Specific examples include responding to reviews, updating profiles, and sharing information on company culture and work environment.

And this makes sense. Being heavily involved with brand management tends to create a positive impression on sales candidates and shows them a company is invested and truly cares. On the other hand, never responding to reviews, for example, would give the opposite impression that a company is simply “setting it and forgetting it.” After all, if they’re not willing to actively participate in a digital conversation, potential candidates will have to wonder how much they’re invested in their employees.

Going deeper, a separate study found that “companies with positive brands get 2x as many applications as companies with negative brands, and they spend less on employees.” So in theory, if you had two sales companies competing with one another where one had a positive reputation because of solid brand management and the other had a negative reputation because of poor brand management, the former would get double the applicants and spend less on recruiting.

It’s not rocket science. Today’s salespeople are smart and savvy, and they can easily tell which companies take brand management seriously and which ones don’t. And the companies that win in this area have a massive advantage over the competition.

Some Other Compelling Brand Management Stats

To paint an even more detailed picture, consider these other stats.

  • “62% of candidates agree that their perception of a company improves after seeing an employer respond to a review.
  • Companies with bad reputations pay 10% more per hire.
  • 50% of candidates say they wouldn’t work for a company with a bad reputation — even for a pay increase.”

By these numbers, it’s clear that focusing on brand management helps improve the overall perception of sales candidates and can significantly reduce your cost-per-hire. Beyond that, it can potentially help you be more competitive even if you can’t afford to offer the big bucks to salespeople like companies with much deeper pockets.

A Real-Life Example

To get a better idea of what great brand management looks like, let’s check out a real-life example. Asana, one of the world’s leading work management platforms, has developed an excellent reputation since its launch in 2008. They’re known for providing a simple, intuitive, well-rounded platform that makes it easy for teams across a myriad of industries to manage projects and stay on track.

Asana, for instance currently has a 4.7 out of 5-star rating on Apple and a ton of great reviews.

Besides that, Asana has also developed a reputation as being a great company to work for, with 96% of employees enjoying their experience. For comparison, that’s 39% higher than your typical company.

Here are some specific reasons why employees love working for Asana.

And if you check out the application page for a commercial account executive, you’ll see that Asana succinctly explains why candidates should be interested in working at their company.

And if that wasn’t enough, they have an in-depth careers page on their website that discusses Asana’s culture, values, benefits, growth opportunities, and much more. You can check it out for yourself here.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Asana has consistently been a leader in the work management industry and has a knack for acquiring some of the best and brightest talent. Salespeople are naturally attracted to them for many reasons, with their strong dedication to brand management being a big one. So if you’re looking for a great template to base your strategy off of, Asana is one of the best.

Brand Management: The Ultimate Win-Win

Having a great reputation is obviously important for winning over customers and establishing loyalty. In today’s hyper-competitive climate, brand management is almost always a precursor to any type of long-term success.

But it’s also extremely important from a sales recruiting standpoint. I think most companies understand this on some level, but many don’t realize just how big of an impact it has. To recap, nearly 70% of sales candidates will apply to companies that emphasize brand management, and it usually results in double the number of applications.

So if brand management is something you haven’t fully invested in thus far, now is a great time to do so.

And if you’re looking to fill your talent pipeline with qualified applicants faster, check out HireDNA. It uses intelligent matching and science-based assessments to source top talent in your industry to cut hiring time in half and lower turnover by 33%.

The Most Important Information Sales Candidates Want When Job Searching (Based on Concrete Data)

There’s no denying that 2022 is a candidate’s market. With a huge demand for high-level talent and a diminishing number of young, qualified job seekers, many sales companies are struggling to maintain adequate manpower. While there’s a lot that goes into winning the talent war, a great place to start is creating quality job ads that include the specific information sales candidates want to see.

For this post, I’ll explain exactly what those things are based on concrete data, along with a real-life example of a job ad we created.

The Top 5 Pieces of Information Sales Candidates Want

An in-depth job search study analyzed what “job seekers want employers to provide as they research where they work.” While it varies somewhat, the data found that five pieces of information stood out above all else and include the following:

  1. Details on compensation packages
  2. Details on benefits packages
  3. Basic company information
  4. Details on what makes the company attractive
  5. Company mission, vision, and values

Now let’s fully unpack these findings.

Details on Compensation Packages

Compensation information being first on the list comes as no surprise. Research has found this is hands down the most important thing for job seekers, with 74% wanting salary information. For comparison, that’s 13% higher than the next piece of information on the list, which is benefits at 61%.

One of the things I mentioned in my last blog post is that today’s massive inflation rate of 7% (the highest in 39 years) has created a bidding war where many companies are willing to pay elite salespeople top dollar to join their sales force. So it only makes sense that job seekers will want to see salary information front and center.

If you look at one of the job postings we made for our client MPOWER Envision, an Illinois-based software company, you’ll notice we included both the base salary range and total compensation range so, at a glance, job seekers could see what they’re working with.

Ideally, compensation information will be located at the top “above-the-fold” of a job ad so sales candidates can see it without having to scroll down.

Details on Benefits Packages

As I just mentioned, 61% of sales candidates want to know what types of benefits a company offers. That’s also unsurprising as sales companies can differ widely in terms of benefits and perks. If it comes down to a job seeker choosing between two companies with identical pay, nearly all will opt for the company with more robust benefits. So you’ll want to be crystal clear about what you offer.

In our example featuring MPOWER Envision, we included a fully fleshed-out list of traditional benefits, such as health, dental, vision, 401(k), and so on. Besides that, we also mentioned that employee wellness is a priority, there are ample career development opportunities, and employees can provide input and be a strategic voice.

Basic Company Information

While you don’t necessarily need (or want) to go into great detail about your company, data shows that providing a quick overview is important for helping sales candidates get their bearings. Going back to our example, we point out the essentials like when MPOWER Envision was founded and how many employees it has.

We also mentioned a bit about them, that they’re backed by a 30-year-old well-established sister company, who uses their platform, and more.

Again, you don’t need to go overboard. But offering a succinct overview helps get your foot in the door with sales candidates and ensures they don’t have to struggle to get a feel for your company.

Details on What Makes the Company Attractive

I’m a firm believer in developing a great unique value proposition (UVP). With so much competition out there, it’s never been more important to differentiate yourself from other companies. In line with that, it’s important to let candidates know what makes your company attractive.

For MPOWER Envision, we noted that they have a 4.6-star G2 rating and a perfect 5-star Glassdoor rating to instantly impress sales candidates right off the bat.

Leveraging social proof like this is always a good strategy for establishing value and showing your company is respected.

Besides that, we mentioned that the job is remote, which is highly appealing for many of today’s sales candidates in our post-COVID world.

Company Mission, Vision, and Values

Culture has always played a role in who sales candidates want to work with. But that’s never been more true than it is today.

As Natalie Baumgartner of the Harvard Business Review puts it, “candidates are seeking workplaces where they can intertwine their beliefs with those of the company, and work together on a common vision of purpose and success.” Therefore, things like mission, vision, and values are critical pieces of information sales candidates want when considering applying.

When writing the job description for MPOWER Envision, we clearly articulated this information, saying what it’s like working there, what the company’s mission and values are, and more.

Making Sure You’re Including the Important Information Sales Candidates Want

Most sales companies are up against some stiff competition in 2022, and you need to bring your A-game in all aspects of sales recruiting. One of the best places to start is to understand what sales candidates want to see in a job description and strategically hone in on those areas. That way you can grab the attention of more rockstar sales reps and fill your pipeline with strong candidates.

Looking to hire better sales talent, faster? See how HireDNA uses cutting-edge features like intelligent matching and science-based assessments to connect sales companies with the best and brightest. Brands that use HireDNA cut their hiring time in half, and 92% of suggested candidates are top achievers within their first year.

Salesperson Turnover is Up 25%: What to Do About It

It’s an interesting time for sales recruiting. We’re at a point where the worst of the pandemic is over, and things have steadily gotten back to normal, albeit it’s “a new normal.” As you might imagine, this has created some significant changes, with the rise of remote work and video conferencing being some of the biggest.

Besides that, there’s been an alarming rise in salesperson turnover, where it’s up substantially from a couple of years ago. For this post, I’ll examine this trend in-depth to understand why it’s happening and how to respond.

A Sharp Rise, Then Gradual Fall in Unemployment

First, it’s important to understand the context of how things got to their current state. In early to mid-2020, when COVID got into full swing, there was a sharp rise in unemployment. It went from being just under 4% in February 2020 to nearly 15% by April.

At that point, many sales professionals were scrambling to find work, with many making the shift from a brick-and-mortar setting to remote. However, as things began to stabilize, so did the unemployment rate, and by December 2021 it was back to around 4%. This brings me to my next point.

A Surge in Flexible Work and SaaS Companies Hiring Salespeople Outside Their Industry

The backlash of COVID has had far-reaching implications, not all of which are currently known. But two particular changes that have impacted the sales industry are growing flexible work options and SaaS companies hiring outside their industry. With “the genie being out of the bottle” with remote and hybrid work models and stiff competition with high-paying tech companies looking for top talent, it’s created an employee market.

Now that the worst of the pandemic is behind us, salespeople with robust skill sets are looking for the best possible jobs. And this led to another trend — higher turnover.

Salesperson Turnover Increased By 25%

Under normal circumstances, the average salesperson turnover rate hovers around 10%. But that number has more than doubled over the past couple of years.

“One consistent theme we’re seeing,” writes Karin Kimbrough, Chief Economist at LinkedIn is that “workers across the globe are eager for change and are ‘voting with their feet’ by taking their experience and skills to new roles at an accelerated pace. Globally, the share of members changing roles in October was up 25% compared to the pre-pandemic period in October 2019.”

As a result, this has made it far more difficult for companies to retain top sales talent — an issue that can be frustrating and detrimental to their bottom line.

Why Has Salesperson Turnover Increased?

I touched on the reasoning earlier with the increased desire for sales reps to have more flexible work options and higher pay. But let me unpack this a bit more. According to LinkedIn, the three main reasons for increased salesperson turnover are better compensation (54%), better alignment with employee values (48%), and more opportunities to move up (44%).

It’s clear that elite salespeople in 2022 have far more leverage than they did during the height of the pandemic. This combined with the highest inflation rate in 39 years at 7% has basically created a bidding war that shows no signs of stopping any time soon. That’s why salespeople looking for better compensation is the number one reason for high turnover.

Beyond that, the added leverage today’s sales reps have has resulted in them seeking employers that have matching values and more career advancement opportunities.

How to Handle the Spike in Turnover

This begs the question. What exactly should you do about this trend?

The short answer is to make sure you’re offering competitive pay. Recent reports indicate that the average salesperson’s salary in 2022 is around $60,000. However, those in the top 25% earn closer to $89,000. So that’s a pretty good range to aim for when deciding how much to pay new hires.

Keep in mind, though, that the salesperson’s salary outlook has increased significantly since 2010, so you’ll likely need to keep raising it steadily as time goes on. Besides that, it’s helpful to offer the right benefits, as this can serve as an added incentive to pull in the best and brightest in your industry. I wrote a post about the top 10 benefits today’s salespeople are looking for based on concrete data, and that’s a great starting point.

Here’s an overview for reference.

But what if offering a high salary just isn’t an option?

In that case, I recommend focusing on two key areas as selling points — schedule flexibility and advancement opportunities. With many of today’s top salespeople valuing remote working arrangements, a healthy work-life balance, and the chance for growth, this can be very appealing and give your brand a competitive edge.

Wrapping Up

COVID turned the world on its head in more ways than one. And we’re still feeling the aftershocks long after the pandemic reached its peak.

The bottom line is that salesperson turnover has reached record highs in 2022 and won’t likely change any time soon. But with the right game plan and an understanding of what top reps are looking for, you should still be able to hire elite talent, and more importantly, retain them.

Looking to hire better sales talent faster? See how HireDNA can help using intelligent matching and science-based assessments. 92% of candidates recommended by HireDNA climb to the top of their sales force within the first year and turnover is lowered by an average of 33%.

Only 16% of Salespeople Have Skills for Current and Future Roles: Why You Should Focus on Long-Term Sales Recruiting

When you break it all down, there are two fundamental approaches to sales recruiting. One is to bake turnover into your recruiting strategy where you only think short-term and continually replace salespeople with little to no potential for internal growth. The other is a long-term sales recruiting strategy where you focus on finding quality talent with the end goal of internal promotion, providing a framework for rock stars to rise through the ranks.

For this post, I’ll explain why long-term sales recruiting is usually the best option, especially in today’s current sales recruiting climate. I’ll also provide specific tips on how to successfully adopt this approach.

Illuminating Data from Gartner

In a 2020 HR and recruiting study, technology research firm Gartner uncovered that only a small number of new sales hires are equipped with the skills for long-term growth. “Organizations are struggling to hire quality talent as only 16% of new hires possess the needed skills for both their current role and the future,” Gartner explains.

This means that for every 10 sales reps you hire, less than two will realistically have the ability to level up in their role and take on a more demanding position such as a sales manager or account executive. While that may be fine if you’re only looking for salespeople for limited roles and aren’t concerned with internal growth, it can be quite vexing if you’re hoping to create a rich culture with an emphasis on internal promotion.

In other words, this data shows that many companies end up “spinning their wheels” where they’re unable to successfully move salespeople up the ladder. Instead, they often get stuck in an endless cycle of hiring entry to mid-level reps who hang around for a while and eventually leave with no major progress occurring. As a result, these companies struggle with turnover and basically plateau without reaching their full potential.

So what’s the solution?

Taking a Long-Term Sales Recruiting Approach

It boils down to making a fundamental change in your sales recruiting approach. Rather than simply finding salespeople who match what you’re currently looking for in an entry to mid-level position, you need to think long-term and look for candidates with the potential for serious growth.

“To hire quality talent, recruiting leaders must shift their strategies from replacing the workforce to instead shaping the workforce,” Gartner writes. Recruiters “that excel in these workforce-shaping behaviors see a 24% increase in quality of hire.” And “high-quality talent can have a significant impact on business outcomes, including individuals who successfully perform in their roles 20% faster and teams that get a 19% boost in their ability to meet future challenges.”

For the rest of this post, I’ll explain exactly how to go about that.

3 Key Strategies for Long-Term Sales Recruiting

1. Clearly Define “Big Picture” Skills

It starts by first creating a robust sales candidate profile that focuses on both short and long-term objectives. Here’s an example.

Say you’re currently looking for a talented salesperson who possesses fundamental skills like establishing and building rapport with customers, successfully performing product demos, resolving customer complaints, and so on. However, you’re also looking for someone who has the talent for long-term growth as a sales manager later on down the road.

In that case, you would want to add additional skills to your sales candidate profile such as strong leadership, strategic planning, comprehensive CRM knowledge, and analytical abilities. Here are some other examples.

That way, whoever you hire should be equipped with the skills to grow beyond their initial role and be a bigger asset to your company.

2. Expand Beyond Your Traditional Talent Pool

Another way today’s companies get themselves in trouble is only targeting sales candidates using their traditional talent pool. But this approach can be limiting, especially in our globalized world where remote work has become ubiquitous. If your current sales recruiting strategies feel a little stale, it’s time to expand beyond and tap into other resources.

HireDNA, for example, is a helpful tool for filling your pipeline with qualified sales candidates at all levels. It uses innovative techniques like sourcing top talent from a massive network of top-level candidates, intelligent matching based on 20 key data points, and science-based assessments involving 21 core selling competencies.

Instead of limiting yourself to a small, local talent pool, HireDNA can help you connect with elite salespeople from all over the country.

3. Create a Strong, Adaptive EVP

In a recent blog post, I explained how to build a rock-solid employee value proposition (EVP). Simply put, this is a mix of the benefits, rewards, perks, recognition, support, and overall value you offer to your salespeople. And an EVP is something that’s absolutely vital to maximizing retention and creating an atmosphere for long-term growth.

If you haven’t done so already, I recommend reading that post to learn the ins and outs of constructing a winning EVP. Also, be sure to continually adapt with your EVP, ensuring it’s responsive and nimble enough to change as the sales recruiting climate inevitably changes.

Winning at Long-Term Sales Recruiting

I was personally a little surprised to find out that only 16% of new hires have what it takes to expand into future roles. This lack of talent and skillset in the vast majority of candidates imposes inherent limitations on sales recruiters and shows that the current game plan many companies use is insufficient for promoting strong internal growth.

By implementing the three strategies listed above, however, you should be able to create a better pipeline of sales talent who can grow alongside you.

Want to know more about how HireDNA uses cutting-edge technology to find A+ sales talent? Reach out to us today.

How to Build a Rock-Solid Employee Value Proposition

A well-crafted employee value proposition, or EVP, can have a huge impact on sales recruiting and retention. Recent data found it can improve new hire commitment by as much as 29% and lower turnover by 69%. Further, it increases the chances of a salesperson becoming a brand advocate where they help recruit other A+ candidates by up to 47%.

In this post, I’ll explain everything you need to know in order to build a rock-solid employee value proposition so you can attract and retain top-tier talent in your industry.

What Exactly is an Employee Value Proposition?

Definitions vary somewhat depending on who you ask. Traditionally, it’s been thought of as the benefits, rewards, and perks an employee gets in return for offering their skills, experience, and expertise to a company. However, in the modern context, it can extend into other areas, such as the recognition, support, culture, and overall well-being an employer offers to salespeople.

I think this pyramid by Mercer Thrive Research illustrates it perfectly.

Regardless of how you define it, the core purpose of an employee value proposition is to let sales candidates know what’s in it for them. And it’s designed to maximize their potential and encourage them to operate at their peak.

EVP Examples

In terms of conventional benefits, here’s an example from Gingr, a company that sells “user-friendly dog daycare, kennel, and grooming software.”

As for other areas such as support, culture, and so on, here’s an example from data platform Splunk.

The Step-By-Step Process for Creating an EVP

Now that we know exactly what an employee value proposition is and why it’s important, here’s a simple formula you can use to build your own EVP from scratch.

Tally Up Your Selling Points

First, I suggest “doing inventory” of what you have to offer that would be of interest to potential sales candidates. Start with the fundamental quantifiable selling points like competitive salary, health insurance, PTO, holiday pay, and so on. Then, move on to the less quantifiable benefits, such as career advancement opportunities, an amazing culture, and the chance to work with other innovative professionals.

This will serve as a rough draft that you can refine later on, which brings me to my next point.

Get Your Existing Employees’ Input

A big part of nailing your EVP is putting yourself in a salesperson’s shoes. Even though most recruiters have a decent understanding of what’s appealing to candidates, even a small rift can marginalize your efforts. That’s why I suggest getting input straight from the horse’s mouth — your existing employees.

Here are some potential questions to ask to gain insights:

  • Why did you choose our company?
  • What’s your favorite part of working here?
  • What does our company offer over others you’ve worked for in the past that stands out to you?
  • What are your favorite benefits?
  • What are some benefits we don’t currently offer that you’d like to have?
  • What are the best aspects of our culture?
  • Do you feel there’s a genuine opportunity for growth?
  • What type of support could we offer to improve your working experience?

Side note: Besides helping with the construction of your EVP, these insights can help you improve operations in general and address small issues before they escalate.

Collect Data from Exit Interviews

Another way to get valuable information is from exit interviews where you find out what prompted salespeople to seek different positions. Asking a few basic questions such as the following should help you get a feel:

  • What did you like most about your job?
  • What did you like least?
  • What motivated you to find another position?
  • What does our company do well in terms of providing value for employees?
  • What could we improve on?

Synthesize Your Findings

Once you’ve tallied up your selling points, gotten feedback from current employees, and added data from exit interviews, you should have everything you need to go on. At this point, you’ll want to synthesize your findings to pinpoint A) what you’re already doing well and B) potential areas for improvement. From there, it’s just a matter of using this information to create a realistic employee value proposition.

You may, for example, want to emphasize that you offer higher than average salary, outstanding health insurance, remote work opportunities, leadership development, and so on. For inspiration, I recommend checking out HubSpot’s Sales Careers page. It’s an amazing resource that provides a detailed overview of HubSpot’s EVP and addresses everything potential candidates would want to know in one convenient area.

There’s the “How we work” section, which explains how HubSpot sets its salespeople up for success.

There’s also a “benefits” section that highlights the exhaustive perks of working for HubSpot.

So with just a little browsing, sales candidates can get up to speed and see why HubSpot is a software company to seriously consider. While you don’t necessarily need to create as extensive a resource as this (and it may not make sense if you only hire occasionally), this shows how impactful a quality EVP can be.

Improving Recruiting and Retention with an Employee Value Proposition

There’s no lack of sales jobs out there. In fact, the sales industry is booming more than ever post-COVID, which means quality candidates have plenty of choices. That’s why it’s so important to stand out from the rest of the pack and show candidates what you bring to the table — something that can be done by building a great EVP.

Learn how HireDNA can help you attract and retain A+ sales talent while cutting your hiring time in half by using intelligent matching and science-based assessments. 92% of suggested candidates ascend to the top of the sales force within just one year.

70% of Job Seekers Use Google: How to Optimize Job Posts for Search

I don’t need to tell you how ubiquitous search engines are in our daily lives. 93% of online experiences start with a search engine, and they’re used for just about everything, including finding a job. While there are countless search engines available ( about 160 worldwide as of 2020), Google is, hands down, the indisputable leader. In fact, a whopping 70% of people use Google to search for a job. To ensure qualified candidates can find you, it’s essential to optimize job posts for search, which I’ll explain how to do in-depth in this post.

Understand Google’s Logic

First, it’s important to have a basic understanding of how Google decides which job posts to display prominently and how their algorithm works from a recruiting perspective. There are, of course, countless variables and complexities, but recruiting expert Mortiz Kothe explains the nuts and bolts of it by saying the following:

“Google for Jobs works by pulling in job postings from a wide range of sources and choosing which ones to display. Those sources include company career pages and over 70 job boards, such as Monster, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, and CareerBuilder. Google for Jobs filters through all those sources and chooses just one listing per job post.”

He then goes on to say that Google uses the exact same information found on job boards and boils it down to a single job post, which is why “posting the same job on multiple job boards is now a waste of money” — at least if your primary goal is getting found by sales candidates on Google.

The bottom line here is that Google chooses just one of your job ads to post on their network. So there’s no use posting on several job boards because your exposure will be the same.

Include Critical SEO Information

After performing a ton of research and from personal experience, I can tell you that optimizing job posts for Google is pretty straightforward when compared to optimizing an entire website. With the latter, there are a mind-bending number of elements you need to address such as keywords, meta tags, internal links, external links, URLs, headers, and so on. But with job ads, they’re fairly minimal.

SHRM breaks it down to the essentials, which include:

  • Name of the brand posting the job
  • Job title
  • Job description, including responsibilities, qualifications, skills, working hours, education, and experience requirements
  • Job posting date
  • Location information for the job including full address
  • The expiration date for the job posting

Beyond that, they recommend including:

  • “The unique identifier for the job, usually the requisition number from the ATS
  • The type of employment—whether full-time, part-time, contractor, etc.
  • Base salary information in either a lump sum or range, including currency type and frequency of pay period”

As long as your job ad has this information, you should be in good shape, and it will give Google everything they need.

Connect Your Job Ad

Today’s recruiters have a significant advantage over those of the past because of one specific tool — Job Search on Google.

With it, you can connect your job postings to make sure they appear on Google. And it offers all the resources you need to do that. There are two ways to go about it. You can post from your website and use structured data that integrates with Google. Or, you can see if the third-party job board you use participates in the job search experience on Google.

If you post from your website, simply click on “Get started”…

and you’ll be directed to a page called “Add structured data to job postings.”

There they explain how to add structured data step-by-step and provide helpful tips to ensure your job ads get indexed.

You’ll also find a link to their job posting content policies and a Rich Results Test so you can see how the structured data would look in Google search results. Basically, everything you need to know is there.

If, however, you’re using a third-party job board like Monster, LinkedIn, ZipRecruiter, or CareerBuilder, you’ll want to check with them to confirm that they’re participating. ZipRecruiter, for example, has integrated with Google and saw 4.5x growth after doing so.

If the job board doesn’t participate, I suggest switching to a different one that does because it’s going to be difficult to gain any real traction with Google otherwise.

Follow SEO Best Practices

The last piece of the puzzle to optimize job posts for search is being aware of SEO best practices. If you’re familiar with regular SEO for optimizing websites, this should be straightforward, as there’s a lot of overlap.

These best practices include:

  • Performing keyword research to find keywords with a high search volume and low competition ( You can use the Google Keyword Planner for this)
  • Target those keywords by using them in the job title and peppering them throughout (without making it feel spammy)
  • Use bulleted lists (these make for easy skimming for job candidates, and Google loves them)
  • Include your location and salary as I mentioned earlier
  • Write simple, clear job listings, and avoid verbose industry jargon

I personally learn the best by looking at examples. That’s why I also recommend typing in a keyword phrase your target candidate would likely search for and check out the results. This will let you see what top-ranking companies are doing so you can mimic their approach. For example, after entering “saas sales representative jobs washington dc,” here’s what popped up.

And here’s what the first job ad looked like.

Optimize Job Posts for Search to Connect with Quality Candidates

With 7 out of 10 sales candidates turning to Google to look for jobs, it’s never been more important to maximize your exposure on this search engine powerhouse. While there’s no magic bullet, following the formula outlined above should give you the absolute best chance of ranking well. And that, in turn, should help you connect with quality candidates that can be assets to your organization.

Looking to fill your pipeline with A+ candidates quickly? Learn how HireDNA uses leading technology and science-based assessments to attract top sales candidates, with 92% reaching the top of their sales force within their first year.