Improve How You Recruit Now

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“We need to hire more salespeople!”
“We need to hire better salespeople!”

These are the cries we hear day every day from the sales managers and executives in radio.

While the strategy to simply hire more and better sellers might be a good one, you and I know it’s just not that easy. If you are the one responsible for the hiring process and the on-boarding of these new sellers, you are probably left wondering how you’re going to get that accomplished. You are not alone!

Here are four things you can do today to jump-start your hiring process and begin hiring more — and better — salespeople right now:

1. Create Your Recruitment Plan
One of the key steps is to build out a realistic recruitment plan that you can hold yourself accountable to, month in and month out. In this plan you should acknowledge that recruitment is different from selection. By doing that, you will free yourself from talking only to people who meet a current need. A solid recruitment plan will include the following five areas:
Goals: Number of monthly interviews and number of people you plan to hire over the next 12 months.
Selection criteria: Think about the talents you will be looking for, as well as the experience that will be needed and the fit required for success.
Locations: Where will you find candidates?
Screening system: You will need to create a repeatable, consistent system so that you screen each person the same way. This will help you place the person correctly in your talent bank.
Grading: How will you evaluate and select candidates?

2. Determine Exactly What You Need
Eliminate the sentence “We need to hire a new salesperson” immediately. Use very specific and descriptive words to outline exactly what someone needs to succeed in this job. For example, you might decide you’re looking for someone who is excellent at asking questions, very detail-oriented, and loves to get people to do what he wants them to do. It’s the difference between going to the grocery store with the thought, “I need to buy stuff for dinner,” and heading there with a specific list of items to buy. Nailing down the specifics of what you need in this job will help you advertise these needs to your colleagues, spot the behaviors you are looking for in candidates, and make better selections.

3. Beef Up Your Talent Bank
Chances are that you don’t have a strong talent bank to tap into right now — or you would have hired someone off your bench for your open position. Take time right now to begin filling up your talent bank. Here is an idea that will help start up your recruitment efforts: Commit to doing 20 interviews this month.

While this is a challenging goal, and you will probably have to call upon all your resources to make it happen, there is no better time to do it than this month. Remember this: The only thing worse than not having that open position filled is filling it with the wrong person. The cost of a bad hire is way too high, which is exactly why getting it right is so very important.

4. Tap Into Your Network
I recommend that you divide your current network into four categories:
1. Your current employees and co-workers.
2. The people who sell to you.
3. The people you sell to (your customers).
4. Your personal/friend network.

Then reach out to each of these groups and ask a minimum of 10 people you trust for three names of individuals who meet the description of what you are looking for. Be clear about the fact that you are not necessarily looking for the names of people who are looking for a job. You want the names of people who match up with the list you made earlier. Start sending out e-mails to the people you know today! This exercise will point you to at least 30 people you can begin to reach out to. And when you reach out to them, you might start the conversation by saying something like, “Your name came up when I was asking some colleagues who they knew who always seemed to….”

As the saying goes, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” Now is the time to start building and implementing your recruitment plan.

Matt Sunshine is EVP of the Center for Sales Strategy. E-mail: mattsunshine@csscenter.com

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