Top 5 Keys to Hire Ideal Sales Candidates at Your Company

If you’re a gardener, and you’ve had as much rain as we have received in Central Massachusetts in the summer of 2023, then your plants that prefer dry soil are rotting – just like some of ours.  Farmers have it worse as rain can lead to disease and lower yields.  Rotting and lower yields can be used to describe the strange pool of sales candidates from which you are trying to recruit as well.

There’s no time like the present to hire salespeople as long your sales recruiting strategy includes considerations for the ever changing ebb and flow of the candidate pool.  There are three possible scenarios for the candidate pool:

  1. High Unemployment (coming soon to a city or town near you): Sales candidates are plentiful, and the applicant flow from job sites is strong. You don’t need recruiters in scenario #1 but you do need a great sales candidate assessment to filter out those who would not succeed in the role.
  2. Normal Unemployment (not seen since 2016): Sales candidate supply is adequate, flow of applicants is acceptable, recruiters are helpful and a great sales candidate assessment allows you to focus on the candidates who will succeed in the role.
  3. Low Unemployment (since 2017 except for much of 2020): Quality sales candidates are in short supply (low yield), and most of the candidates that are available are not very good salespeople (rotten), flow of candidates sucks, recruiters are a requirement and with so many imposters, a great sales candidate assessment is a must.

We are currently in scenario 3 with an expectation that we will enter scenario 1 by early 2024. There are five keys to improve your ability to consistently hire salespeople who will be great selling for your company and in your particular selling roles.

  1. Killer Job Posting – if your posting looks, sounds and smells like all the others, candidates won’t even stop to read it.  But if your posting describes your candidate and their successful past, your ideal candidates will not only read it, they will self-identify and apply.
  2. Remote Control – One of the big differentiators between clients who are getting plenty of applies versus those who aren’t is the opportunity to work remotely.  Whether that’s in a territory, over the phone or by Zoom or Teams is less important than not having to drive to an office.
  3. Compensation – Another big differentiator is comp.  If your OTE (On-Target Earnings) is attractive and at or beyond the top range for your industry and/or geography, you will be able to pry away some passive applicants and most active applicants.  But if you are at the low end or middle range for your industry/geography, you will struggle to attract and/or convince good salespeople to work for you.
  4. Sales-Specific Sales Candidate Assessment – the data is compelling for both attrition and quota achievement.Data for Attrition and Quota Achievement
  5. Patience – If you can be patient and wait until the ideal candidate(s) has been interviewed, you will succeed, but if you lack patience and feel you need to pull the trigger on someone soon, with few exceptions, you will be repeating this process sooner than you would like.

Assuming that you make some changes and execute on all five recommendations, what can you expect from using OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessment?  A lot!

First, consider the success rate.  After being used to assess nearly 2.4 million salespeople, and hire over 100,000 salespeople, there are two eye-opening statistics you should be aware of:

  1. When companies go against the recommendation and hire candidates that were NOT Recommended by the OMG Assessment, 75% of those salespeople fail inside of the first year.
  2. When companies follow the recommendation and hire candidates that were Recommended by the OMG Assessment, more than 90% rise to the top half of their sales teams within a year.

While those are very compelling statistics, that’s for later.  It’s important to have realistic expectations about recommendation rates.

I pulled some data from nine of the dozens of Kurlan clients that use OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments.  This sampling includes long-time users as well as newer clients who began using the assessments during 2023.

Sales Assessment Data

What can we learn from the data?

  • Most clients are assessing somewhere between 10 and 20 candidates per month. When used at the top of the funnel as recommended, companies are probably receiving even more applications than assessments completed as some candidates just can’t be bothered to take the assessment.
  • Most clients are seeing recommendation rates between 23% and 38% and when you add the candidates who are worthy of consideration, there are approximately 50% more.
  • Recommendation rates will vary due to several factors, including custom criteria for various selling roles, the written job posting which needs to attract the right candidates, and the use of recruiters, many of whom recommend resumes rather than candidates who have the proper selling capabilities.  As a general rule, the more difficult the role (set in customizations), the lower the recommendation rate.
  • Client #5 is doing something wrong!  They have plenty of candidates but they are not good fits for their role so that could be either a rotten (staying with the theme) recruiter and/or a poorly targeted job posting.
  • Client #8 is also doing something wrong!  They have not assessed many candidates so they’re probably interviewing prior to assessing the candidates they like.  That violates EEOC Guidelines which say that if you are going to use an assessment, all candidates must be assessed.  Of equal importance, they should be using the assessment to filter out unqualified candidates instead of using resumes and/or their unreliable gut instinct to do the filtering.
  • Clients #2, #3 and #9 are closest to doing everything correctly and experiencing expected recommendation rates of between 20-25% with about 50% more that are worthy of consideration.

You may need to hire any of the following salespeople:

  • Hunter
  • BDR
  • SDR
  • Account Manager
  • National Account Manager
  • Key Account Manager
  • Sales Executive
  • Channel Sales Manager
  • Sales Manager
  • Regional Sales Manager
  • National Sales Manager
  • VP Sales
  • Sr. VP Sales
  • CRO

You can hire ideal salespeople if you are patient, take the time to do things correctly, optimize your job postings, and use OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments to customize the requirements for any of the roles above and identify the salespeople who will have the greatest success.  We can help with any and all of that and we can also provide some free resources:

Free Sample (Place checkmark Next to Sales Candidate Assessment)

Free White Paper – The Science of Sales Selection

Free Trial 

Free Recruiting Process Grader 

Talk to Us About Getting Help Hiring Your Next Salesperson.  

Copyright 123RF