The Coaching Effect Blog

Sales Coaches: Finding great sales talent is not that hard

Posted by Bill Eckstrom

July 31, 2013

describe the image35% of managers said they couldn’t find qualified candidates for open sales spots last month, up from 24% a year ago. 

Toro Corp. stated it takes their distributors about eight weeks to fill a sales slot versus 18 months ago, when it only took four weeks.  

The above comes from a recent article in the USA Today “Bosses lament:  Sales jobs hard to fill”

I have no reason to doubt the statistics in this article, and am not surprised at the regression.  For years HR publications, corporate consultants, other expert guru’s and gurette’s have been attempting to alarm readers/audiences with the prophecy that there will be a “war for talent”.  EcSell’s approach to this challenge is simple—there is no “war” when you always win. 

Below are some simple steps anyone can adopt to drastically improve their talent pool and recruiting/retention success:

  • Develop a recruiting culture—great coaches always have a recruiting hat on their heads.  Recruiting should not just occur when a slot opens, but all sales leaders should have multiple candidates with whom they are visiting.  It is when you have all sales territories full that recruiting can be most effective.  Coaches should ask for names at every team meeting and continually reward those on your team for referring candidates.  Remember the acronym “ABR”—Always Be Recruiting.

  • Take control—nobody has a vested interest in the success of your sales people like you.  Partner with whatever resources you have available within your company, but don’t count on HR or any other division to find what you need.  Recruit as if you are on your own.

  • Define what talent you need—are looking for experience or sales talent?  While you are likely responding with “I want both”, you are limiting the available pool of talent if you require “experience” in your industry.  The simple solution is to find people who can sell and then teach them your products and market.  You have my word—you will win almost every time with talent over experience.

  • Follow a process—resume` screening, structured interviews, shadowing and use science based predictive assessments.  Don’t skip a step in the process and you will put the odds in your favor—skip a step and your chances of hiring a dud increase exponentially.  According to Dave Kurlan, CEO of Objective Management Group, 32% of sales people in our country should not be in a sales role and only 6% are equipped to produce at the highest levels.  With the proper process and tools you can find the 6% and avoid the bottom 32%--Dave's company does this for many of our members.

  • Be a leader top sales talent wants to work with—sales VP’s, ask yourself if you would want to work for your front line managers.  EcSell research there are many tools and activities front line sales managers can use that lead to more sales, but two correlate the strongest to “motivating sales people to sell more”; coaching your reps through the sales process and helping them progress towards their career goals.  If your managers are not adept in doing both of the above—they are leaving revenue on the table.

All sales coaches are busy.  I get it.  Been there, done that.  But, nothing you do is likely as critical as bringing on the best talent.  Remember, be it athletics or business, great coaches make recruiting a top priority.  

Topics: sales leadership, sales talent, sales recruiting, sales coaching, Sales Management

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