Imagine you are starting a new business, and you need to find salespeople – fast.
How long do you think it would take you to build a high-performing sales team?
If you think it would take a long time, you are not alone.
According to Manpower Group’s 10th Annual Talent Shortage Survey, sales jobs were ranked #4 among the hardest jobs to fill in 2015.
In fact, the sales industry has been among the top 10 hardest jobs to fill for the past 9 years! This explains why it can be so difficult to find and hires a high-performing salesperson – let alone a whole team of them.
Whether your sales team is just developing or you find yourself constantly faced with high turnover in your sales department, having a well-staffed sales team is critical to building a scalable business that consistently generates enough revenue to keep your business profitable.
Fortunately, there are several steps sales managers can take to fill sales jobs faster with better candidates.
But before you take those steps, you need to understand why sales jobs are currently so hard to fill.
Top 4 Reasons Sales Jobs Are So Hard to Fill in Today’s World
1. The sales industry has lost its appeal to millennials.
One big reason sales jobs are so hard to fill is that millennials often favor other career paths that allow for more flexibility and stability. For example, they may opt for a position that allows them to work from home or one that will provide them with a consistent income rather than having to rely on a commission structure.
This misconception often leads natural-born sellers to pursue careers in other industries where there innate ability to sell remains untapped.
The good news is that natural-born sellers are still out there; you just may need to change your traditional recruiting approach to get in front of them.
Here are a few tips to help you attract millennials who possess an innate ability to sell:
- Know your audience and do your best to cater to their needs. For example, if you want to attract high-performing, tech-savvy millennials, you might consider offering a remote work program to entice them to work for you. Just make sure the adjustments you make to attract your ideal salespeople do not negatively affect your business in the longrun.
- Offer an attractive salary and commission structure. Many salespeople are motivated by money. So to convince them to work for you over another business, you need to make sure they are able to reach their income goals. While this may cost your company more money upfront, it will pay for itself in the form of better salespeople and increased revenue for your business. Millennials with a high Need for Achievement will be attracted to a tiered commission structure and see it as an enticing challenge to reach each new commission level.
- Utilize in-person networking. People are often much more likely to consider a job if it has been personally recommended by someone they know. So, reach out to your network (friends, family, and colleagues) to see if they know any talented salespeople who could be a good fit for your business.
- Position your sales job the right way. Inform candidates that you realize sales is about problem-solving and relationship-building rather than swindling people or using outdated, sleazy sales techniques. This will help them overcome any negative preconceived notions about working in sales for your company.
Keep in mind that you should not have to convince someone to want to sell at a high level – you should only need to convince him/her that working at your company as a salesperson is a smart career move.
Driven salespeople are Competitive by nature and will want to work for the best company [and will want to become the best in their department]. Be sure to highlight why your company will help them achieve their own goals.
2. Sales job ads are often ineffective.
It is surprising how often sales job ads fail to properly sell the position they advertise. If you have noticed that many people are viewing your job ads without filling out your application, an ineffective job ad could be to blame.
Here are a few tips for improving your sales job ads in a way that attracts Driven candidates:
- Speak directly to the candidate’s pain points. For example, you might open the job ad by saying “Are you tired of sales jobs that do not give you the freedom to work from home and the potential to reach your income goals?” Then, you could position your company as the solution to those problems. This is a great way to hook a candidate from the start of your job ad.
- Tell the truth. Avoid exaggerating about your company and the position. That way, you set the right expectations and avoid attracting candidates who are not going to be a good fit.
- Talk about your company culture. Do not be afraid to show some personality in your job ad – doing so will make your company stand out from the rest.
- Be specific about responsibilities and requirements. Let all candidates know exactly what the job role entails so they are well prepared for it.
- Do not set the bar unnecessarily high. While it is a good idea to come up with a set of requirements, make sure you are not weeding out talented candidates just because they do not possess knowledge of your product or industry. Those things can be taught, but natural sales skills cannot.
- Format the job ad. No one is going to read your ad if it looks like a giant wall of text, so use white space and bullet lists to break up the text and draw the candidate’s eyes to the most important points.
- Include a call to action. Simply tell the candidate to how to apply for the position – you may be surprised at how many sales job ads are missing this step.
Also, make sure that your application process is easy and straightforward – the last thing you want is for a qualified sales candidate to give up on your application because it is too tedious or confusing.
3. Good salespeople possess non-teachable personality traits.
When you hire a new salesperson, you have to be choosy. You do not want just anyone who possesses sales experience – you want the best salespeople who are capable of producing amazing results that boost your company’s revenue and profitability.
Unfortunately, natural salespeople are rare, and sales managers are often fooled during job interviews by salespeople who are good at masquerading as someone capable of producing top sales results.
Do not let a candidate’s charm affect your ability be the sole reason you offer her a position. If you are an experienced sales manager, you probably have learned the hard way that sometimes the interview is the best sales you will ever get out of the candidate.
You want to hire a candidate that is Driven by success and will continuously push her own limits to achieve new heights of success; not someone who is simply there to make enough money pay her bills.
Incorporate an objective sales assessment into your hiring process to help you determine whether your candidate has the innate ability to sell long-term or if sales is simply just a job to her.
4. Sales jobs are stigmatized.
All too often, the general public perceives salespeople as pushy, sleazy “used car salesman” types who will say anything to land a sale.
It is easy to understand how that stigma could cause many people to avoid sales jobs – they do not want to be thought of in that light.
If you feel like this problem is hindering you from attracting top sales talent, you might consider re-naming your sales positions. Something like “account manager” or “consultant” may put people at ease more than “salesperson.”
You can also ease a concerned salesperson by emphasizing in the job ad that you are looking for a candidate that can genuinely connect with customers to solve his or her problem, rather than someone that can simply meet sales quotas.
A Driven salesperson will be naturally motivated to close as many sales as she can to satisfy her Need for Achievement, so you do not need to ask her to use pushy sales tactics that make both her and the potential customer uncomfortable.
Whatever you do, avoid settling for an ineffective interview and hiring process simply because that is what your company has always used. If you are reading this article, chances are your sales hiring process is falling short and you are ready to start hiring long-term salespeople that are true producers.
By implementing these 4 simple sales hiring tips today, you can transform both the quantity and quality of your sales candidates and find those Driven salespeople who will jump-start your company’s growth, find new customers, and ultimately, increase revenue.