Top 4 Ways to Supercharge Your Sales Recruiting

By David J. Cocks, CEO

Recruiting the right people is an essential component of your firm's success. Here are some strategies that can improve your ability to recruit and retain the sales force you need.

In the same way that you sell the advantages of your product or service when you talk to prospects, you have to sell your company to potential recruits.

1. You Need to Define a Value Proposition that articulates why sales representatives should work for you rather than the company down the street. What is different or unique about your firm? What do you do for your sales representatives that other companies don't do? Do you offer more support? Better training? A higher commission? Unique benefits? A more experienced management team?

Research what your competitors offer. Ask sales people what they want. Then get creative. What can you offer that no one else is currently providing?

Come up with a strong value proposition that sets you apart from the other companies in your market.

2. Provide a Career Path

Show recruits that they can grow with your firm. Don't just sell what you have to offer them now; explain what you provide when they reach the next level.

This is easy to do when you offer packages of support, training and other services that are appropriate for sales associates at different levels of experience.

For someone who is right out of college or new to the industry, you might offer a fullcomplement of training, marketing assistance, and administrative support – everything needed to ensure success. A senior associate might prefer more independence; she may want to do things her way, without relying on the company for everything.

You want to structure compensation differently at each level, creating commission plans that meet the needs of each group. If you do this properly, you can recover costs at each level, so no one group ends up subsidizing the others.

3. Offer Different Styles of Compensation Plans

Your industry has a standard way of compensating sales representatives. Real estate has traditionally used splits, manufacturer's reps are usually paid a straight commission, many industries use base plus commission.

But just because everyone else does things that way doesn't mean you have to.

When you limit yourself to one style of compensation, you are limiting the number of people who will work for you. Everyone has a different tolerance for risk. There are many people who would make excellent manufacturer's reps, for example, who simply aren't comfortable being paid 100% in commission.

If you can figure out a way to offer other styles of compensation, you expand the labor pool from which you can recruit.

4. Ready Your Presentation!

The more you know about your competition, the more effectively you can sell against them. Know what services they provide, and be prepared to compare commission plans.

Compensation these days is so complicated that it's easy for sales representatives to get confused. Many times you'll be able to show that a plan that sounds better really isn't. Use Excel or CompensationMaster's Recruiter to create a graph that shows the differences between the plans at different levels of revenue, as well as a chart that les them look up their production level from last year to see how much they would have made working for you.

Don't be intimidated if you pay less. Three-quarters of the time, sales associates leave a company for reasons other than money. Explain your value proposition; stress the services that you offer and the strengths of your firm.

When you take advantage of these four strategies and differentiate your business with a powerful value proposition, meet the needs of employees as they grow, expand the pool of potential recruits by offering different styles of compensation, and design an effective presentation for recruiting, you supercharge your recruiting and are able to acquire the kind of sales force your company needs to grow. 

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