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What HR teams need to know to build and scale their sales organization

By Jamie Hoobanoff


Building and scaling an organization’s sales team can be a daunting task for sales leaders and HR professionals. Whether you are working to keep up with new hiring trends, focusing on maintaining balance within your existing teams or looking at innovative approaches to bring on the best talent, managing and planning for growth and the addition of new sales hires can be a challenge. 

As we look ahead to 2019, there’s no better time than the present to revamp hiring strategies. Included below are some key recommendations to consider as you plan to build out and scale the best sales teams: i.e., those who will create strategies, implement solutions and deliver lasting results for your company. These thought starters will hopefully inspire different strategies that give your recruiting effort the little push it needs to ensure a great start to a
successful year. 


Sales recruitment is sales itself

The way in which an HR (and recruiting) team approaches the market is crucial to attracting the right talent. The approach sets the tone for the search, a recruiter’s ability to sell and will ultimately make or break the success of talent acquisition efforts. 

To win the kind of talent that is going to help a company disrupt, grow and provide customers a best-in-class experience, recruiters need to be really good sales people. They must know a company’s culture, mission and what makes it a great place to work. They need to believe in a company’s vision and be able to communicate it to the types of talent being targeted. They must also be able to clearly articulate the full range of a company’s benefits as an employer of choice. They have to sell a company as the best place for a sales person to build their career. 


Don’t just hire for experience 

Finding applicants is the easy part. In fact, most jobs that are advertised receive too many applications. The trouble is, based on experience, roughly 95 per cent of them are irrelevant or unqualified candidates.

Although sales people are generally evaluated and analyzed on sales metrics, it’s important to recognize that this should not define your hiring decision. While metrics are a crucial indicator of how a candidate will perform on a sales team, finding a passionate salesperson who has excellent communications skills and also fits the company culture is a great way to foresee how a candidate will shine on a team. 


Showcase the employment brand

For brands that The Leadership Agency works with, approximately 30 per cent of employees are part of the sales team. Of every three candidates interviewed, one will be hired. Using this insight as an industry average, it can be stated that a vast number of sales talent will connect with a business during the hiring process, creating a huge opportunity for candidates to directly experience a company’s brand. To capitalize on this opportunity, everyone that connects with a candidate – whether it be an HR team, an outsourced recruiter or the senior executives conducting interviews – must effectively represent the company’s brand. This includes conveying key aspects of the organization’s identity, such as a culture of collaboration, a flexible work environment that thrives on creativity or recognition programs that reinforce an appreciation for employees. 


Ensure consistency in evaluating candidates

As all sales candidates should have the exact same interview experience, keep the process consistent. This begins with creating a baseline measurement against which to fully analyze candidates. This will ensure that expectations and standards being measured are consistent across the prospective talent pool. 

Take, for example, a focus on diversity. This is a topic that takes on many meanings in the hiring process. How diverse is the candidate in their approach to sales? Do they think outside the box? Can they creatively solve problems and build strategies? Do they bring a different perspective to the table? These are not only questions a talent acquisition team or recruiter should ask, but against which each candidate should be evaluated. 


A solid plan today can deliver long-term rewards

Hiring for a rapidly growing sales team isn’t always easy. However, putting a plan in place and strategically selecting the right professionals can help build out a strong team. It could also lead to increases in revenue and improvements in company culture that impact an organization for years to come.

Jamie Hoobanoff is founder and CEO of The Leadership Agency.




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