Where to Find Good Salespeople


How has your hiring process been working for you? If you’re like most managers, you’re struggling to find good candidates. And you may be wondering where to find good salespeople.

Where to Find Good Salespeople

Before we answer that question, it’s worth looking at how we ended up in today’s difficult hiring market. An article by Peter Cappelli, Wharton, still has legs nearly two years after publication date. Cappelli succinctly reviews how large corporations have outsourced many business processes, believing that specialists can do the work more efficiently, leaving them to the core mission. We now use recruiters and outside agencies to find candidates to fill open positions. In some cases, recruiters get a bonus for landing top candidates quickly.

Cappelli points out that companies spend roughly $4,100 on recruiting costs to fill each position. But most employers don’t track how well the new hires work out. His advice for changing up the recruiting process is especially applicable if you’re struggling to get candidates to apply for your position. Here’s the scoop.

Promote From Within

Back in the day, most organizations set out a career path for their employees. Entry-​level workers joined a business and anticipated moving up the ladder. IBM, International Business Machines, also stood for I’ve Been Moved – an insider reference to how the company developed its employees. In return for the investment IBM made in them, employees stayed with the company.

You should be watching for employees who have the potential to become great sales professionals. These people usually don’t come into your organization with the skills to sell. But they may shine as individuals who go the extra mile to help other employees solve problems they’re having. Your next sales rep may be the person who always volunteers to connect with new vendors and is able to put people at ease with little effort.

Nontraditional Candidates

We’ve all become too focused on resume research. Hiring algorithms kick out candidates who don’t have the right number of years of experience. As C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of SalesFuel, points out, “That could be a big mistake. What if an otherwise great candidate has a resume gap because they took time off to care for a family member who was sick with COVID-​19? If you’re hiring in a small organization, you’re at an advantage. You can review resumes personally instead of using technology to initially screen them. And you’ll find candidates who can become your next A‑level sales rep.”

Look for Fewer Candidates

As a culture we’ve become obsessed with big numbers. Technology makes it possible for students to apply to dozens of colleges at once and for candidates to apply for dozens of jobs. They figure the more opportunities they apply for, the better the chances of finding the perfect match.

Employers can easily get swept up in the number fixation. But it’s worth asking, as Cappelli does, whether this approach yields better results. As a sales professional you know you’ll have a better outcome if you pursue the leads that make the most sense instead of chasing the most leads. If you've qualified a lead carefully, you know they intend to buy, they have the budget, and they have the authority to make the decision.

If you want a higher yield as you look for where to find better salespeople, seek fewer applicants who are better matched to the position. You’ll have a great sense of that match when you ask them to take psychometric assessments which show how they prefer to work and what motivates them, along with their natural behaviors.

To learn more about hiring, check out our free white paper, the Four Fits of Hiring Salespeople.

Photo by Tima Miroshnichenko from Pexels

Kathy Crosett
Kathy is the Vice President of Research for SalesFuel. She holds a Masters in Business Administration from the University of Vermont and oversees a staff of researchers, writers and content providers for SalesFuel. Previously, she was co-​owner of several small businesses in the health care services sector.