The size and scope of sales as an employment and business path cannot be understated. As one of our consultants has said, “if you can see it, you can sell it”. There are too many sales roles and specific sales industries to mention, but that doesn’t mean we can’t talk about them. The very nature of sales, the process, why sales matters to a business and what makes for a good salesperson have commonalities that cross many industries and products.
Whether you are looking for your next sales role or your next sales hire, these insights from our sales recruitment team may open your eyes to what you need to be doing more or less of.
I quizzed our executive sales recruiters, who all work in separate niche industries, on what they have seen and look for when recruiting. Below are their combined insights:
Q: There are lots of different kinds of salespeople, but what do all REALLY good salespeople have in common?
A: “You don’t necessarily have to be an extrovert, in fact some of the most successful sales people I’ve met are natural introverts, but every single one of them develops good relationships. You need to be tenacious, resilient, and good at both asking questions and listening. If you are goal oriented, organised, and demonstrate genuineness, belief (in the utility of your product/service), and have contagious energy, you’ll be head and shoulders above the rest.”
Q: As a recruiter – what common candidate weaknesses do you need to address while recruiting salespeople?
A: “Selling ourselves does not come as naturally as selling an idea or a product. Most often I find there is an inability in candidates to articulate their achievements against targets, which often makes it difficult to understand their past performance.
Another problem is getting a straight answer to ‘why someone left their previous employment’, which is always an important question for the client I’m pitching them to.
I usually weigh any weaknesses up against ‘is this lack of talent or a lack of interview expertise?’ If the latter, I can still work with them to get a good result. Things like remuneration and over or under confidence can also be managed through consulting if the person has other attributes and potential.”
Q: What problems do salespeople solve for their employers?
A: “Good salespeople are gold dust for their employers. Bad salespeople are, a liability and an opportunity cost. Obviously salespeople are positioned to increase revenue for their employer, generate more contacts with target markets, which leads to increased intelligence, and positively position the brand and/or product within competitive markets. In short, they solve the problem of revenue generation, but through doing so they contribute much more by way of opening new doors and creating new sales opportunities.”
Q: If you could change one thing about how people interact with recruiters, what would it be?
A: “Recognise that a lack of contact does not suggest we are devaluing an applicant’s capabilities, it simply means that we don’t have anything that could be of interest for them. In addition, we can only give feedback to our candidates if the client gives it to us, and often they don’t. We are busy and we try our best for all of our candidates, but they’re not going to be right for every role they’re interested in. We won’t successfully place every candidate but where we can, we will”.
Q: What advice do you have for a salesperson changing industries?
A: “Don’t? Tenure in a particular industry can easily be a make or break in a hiring decision. But if you have to change industries, it’s best to make it as closely aligned to your current industry as possible. Continue where possible to build on your experience with a particular product and/or target market. If you do change industries, be ready to answer questions about why you changed. If this is an important move for you, see a career coach. You can contact our HR consulting team, they have great career coaches
Sales people come in all different styles. Through our recruitment team we place sales roles from sales representatives to account managers, BDM’s through to executive level roles such as State Managers, National sales managers, GM’s and Directors. Our recruitment consultants have specialisation within industries as diverse as building construction, engineering, manufacturing & industrial, medical, and professional services.