What Are Sales Candidates Looking For In Today's Market?

The top members of your sales team are probably getting approached at least once or twice a week about other career opportunities. What can your company do to make it a more appealing place to work in the eyes of a sales professional?

With the creation of more sales jobs due to companies expanding and hiring, the demand for good sales reps and leadership is increasing. There is only a certain amount of qualified sales talent in the market, which means there are more sales openings than there are qualified people to fill them. This shortage of talent translates into companies who want to hire, essentially want to hire from the same pool of qualified candidates.

You may not realize it, but the top members of your sales team are probably getting approached at least once or twice a week about other sales career opportunities. The people you want to hire have more options than before as to where they can take their selling and management skills, and retaining them is more difficult as well because they are in such high demand.

The war for talent is real. But enough about the problem, let’s move on to the solution. What can your company do to make it a more appealing place to work in the eyes of a sales professional? Well, I’m in the marketplace every day talking to sales talent and when I ask them what they look for when evaluating a potential opportunity, here is what they have to say:

  • A strong infrastructure. There is nothing more frustrating for a salesperson who can sell and get a deal on the front-end and then the company can’t deliver on the back-end. Infrastructure includes everything from customer service, operations, product support, great suppliers, a robust CRM, lead generation, sourcing support, up to date technology that allows for seamless and accurate online order processing, training, and whatever other tools or resources you can think of that will allow it easier for a sales person to focus on what they do best, selling.
  • A vision. Top notch sales people want to be part of something bigger. They don’t just want a job where they collect a paycheck. Companies that attract great talent have a story to tell and make their employees feel that they are a vital part of it.
  • No red tape. For example, if a sales person is spending too much time doing administrative duties such as filling out reports, they look at it as time they could have spent on revenue generating activities pushing the sales needle forward instead.
  • Company growth. The more growth there is, the better potential for upward mobility down the road.
  • Quick decision-making. Sales people want to work in an environment where decisions can be made quickly.
  • Transparency. Sales employees want to work for a company that is honest, upfront, and communicates directly with its employees.
  • Top leadership is accessible. Unfortunately, executives in a company can start to get removed from the customer. Salespeople are on the front line and know how corporate changes impact their business. They want to have a voice and be able to communicate to their leadership team what they’re hearing and seeing from their customers.
  • Customer-centric. Salespeople want to work for a company who understands and truly cares about all of their customers. When upper management starts to  get too far removed from the customer or manages from an “ivory tower,” salespeople tend to negatively feel the impact in a number of different ways.
  • Great coworkers. Successful sales people want to work with other successful people. They want to surround themselves with others who will push and motivate them. They don’t mind having friendly competition.
  • High standards. Excellent sales professionals want to work for a company who sets the bar high without being unrealistic as long as the company does everything it can to ensure their success.
  • Autonomy. This could come in the form of letting employees work from home or deciding how their work gets done. As employees feel empowered, so does their level of job satisfaction.
  • Clear expectations. What are their goals? How will they be evaluated? How will they know whether or not they are considered successful in their position?
  • Recognition. Recognizing employees, especially members of your sales team, is positive reinforcement that their contributions are valued. Doing this as often and as many different ways as possible keeps a positive work environment as well.
  • Compensation and benefits. Basically, they want to get paid enough to where they feel they are being taken care of. If they think that they can be better compensated elsewhere, the word will get out into the market making it more difficult to bring onboard the kind of candidates you want.
  • Good culture. Simply put, a company whose employees are currently engaged in their work, satisfied, and motivated has good culture.
  • Career growth. Salespeople want to continue to learn and develop their skills to become better versions of themselves. They do not like to feel that their careers have become static.

Not only does this help you recruit and hire better candidates, it will also help you retain your highest performers as well. By focusing on making your company the best that it can be, you’ll naturally start to attract the qualified sales candidates you need and have them inquire about working for you instead of having to convince them to come work for you.

Jerry Land works with CEOs, VPs of sales, sales directors and sales managers who are concerned with finding and recruiting the sales talent they need to grow and prosper. He is the executive search consultant who gives them access to the critical talent they need to make sure that they get hiring right the first time. Reach out to him directly at JPLand@ JPLand.net or learn more by visiting www.JPLand.net.

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