How to Find the Best People for Sales Jobs

BY Kathy Crosett
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The unemployment rate for sales professionals rose from 3.8% to 4.1% between August 2022 and August 2023. That slight increase doesn’t mean it will be any easier for managers to hire great candidates for their open sales jobs. Hiring managers may receive applicants for many people who seem to be interested in open positions. But hiring the best person for the position requires removing emotion from the decision-​making process and applying the right tools.

Finding the Best People for Sales Jobs

Candidates know that large employers use algorithms to screen the huge number of applicants for open positions. To improve their chances of being considered, applicants constantly tweak their online resumes to include the right keywords.

Job applicants will also put the best spin on their ability to do the work. In general, sales professionals are accustomed to speaking positively about what they are selling. That mindset applies to their own skills as well, meaning that a little exaggeration isn’t out of the question, especially if a company has listed the highest paying sales jobs available.

Managers need a tool to help them dig beneath the surface of what a candidate is presenting. They must learn whether an applicant possesses the kind of skill needed to conduct effective discovery, for example. Asking candidates to take a psychometric assessment that includes a set of questions on sales skills will allow managers to identify top contenders objectively. 

The Sales Mindset

Psychometric assessments also help managers identify individuals who don’t meet the desired qualifications for open sales jobs but who have the potential to become great new business hunters. In fact, it’s rare to find an applicant who matches the stated qualifications exactly. Too many managers focus on details that won’t result in making the right hire.

An old-​school fixation on whether a candidate went to the right college or has a connection with an existing employee can influence the manager to make a hiring decision based on the wrong criteria. A psychometric assessment tool that measures factors like critical thinking traits and behavioral traits can reveal which applicants have the best mindset and are suited for the job. In some cases, managers must be willing to give a nontraditional candidate a chance.

Internal Candidates

Today’s employees want the opportunity to grow professionally. However, not many of these people see themselves in a sales career. Their perspective may be outdated if they envision having to make cold calls and suffer frequent rejection.

Savvy managers can educate potential internal candidates by showing them how the profession has changed. Creating new titles for traditional sales roles can also make a difference. Employees may be more interested in exploring a solutions consultant job than a call center position. The sales profession shift has occurred as more buyers qualify the sellers and selling organizations online before initiating contact.

Retaining Top Salespeople

While managers focus on hiring the best people for their open sales position, they should also strive to retain existing employees. The average sales manager experiences a 36% turnover rate every year. The time needed to to hire another sales professional usually extends to three months, and then managers need an additional six months to properly train the new employee. These data points should encourage every sales manager to actively work toward the goal of keeping salespeople engaged.

Some of the steps sales managers can take to reduce turnover have little to do with the job. The important retention factors are all about benefits. Over 25% of surveyed sales professionals say the following factors play a role regarding whether they stay with or leave an organization:

  • More flexibility
  • Opportunity to earn paid time off
  • Better compensation plan that rewards sales results more fairly

It’s challenging enough to find the best people for sales jobs. Managers should take the next logical step to ensure they strengthen loyalty to keep these employees engaged.

Photo by LinkedIn Sales Navigator on Pexels.