Hiring Guide

How and Where to Recruit Good Salespeople: 10 Proven Strategies

Published , Updated 6 mn
Profile picture for Axel Lavergne

Axel Lavergne

Co founder and chief editor

Axel is one of Salesdorado's co-founders. He's also the founder of reviewflowz.com, a review management tool for B2B SaaS companies

As customer centricity, account based selling and artificial intelligence reshape the business, sales talent will become increasingly crucial to keeping sales pipelines full, fluid and successful. If your company doesn’t have the will to attract, recruit and retain excellent salespeople, your efforts will be wasted. But how and where do you recruit good salespeople? In this article, we will detail 10 tactics to do so: personal networking, professional events, social networks or headhunters will all be assets to exploit for the recruitment of your salespeople.

#1 Start with your personal network

If you want to know how to recruit salespeople, start by putting your network to work. Your social and professional network covers all your family, friends and acquaintances from school, your fitness club or your workplace. Your network will probably include a number of competent sales people, professionals who like to work with a lot of people, or people who are good at expressing the value of a product and convincing people. You can contact these people and see if any are willing to work with you in a sales organisation.

  • Advantages: reconnecting with people you already know could be fun and will not require much effort.
  • Disadvantages: The process of identifying competent sales people or high potential individuals would be informal and largely dependent on your intuition. Too many promises about the benefits of collaboration can also cause tension in the relationship.

Our advice: don’t forget your high school or college alumni associations, as well as professional associations and clubs you have joined in the past. Also think about the salespeople who have already contacted you. If they have managed to get you to sign up for a subscription, they may also be able to sell your product. And there is no need to train them, they will probably already know the best sales practices.

#2 Ask for references and recommendations

If you cannot find and recruit great salespeople from your personal network, you can always ask for recommendations. Just like you, a friend or acquaintance may know someone who, for example, works as an estate agent or simply as a salesperson with a high persuasive ability. Unless you have other options with a higher chance of success, referred candidates are worth considering.

  • Advantages: building new relationships is easier when you have common points of reference: in this case, your mutual contact and common interest in selling.
  • Disadvantages: The competence or potential of the recommended individual depends on how the referee defines what a “good salesperson” is.

Our advice: don’t forget to ask for up-to-date contact information and as many details about the person as possible. Also, getting references from acquaintances who work as recruiters or sales managers would be doubly helpful, as you can assume that these recommendations have been reviewed in a more professional manner.

#3 Take advantage of events and meetups

Events such as seminars, trade fairs, workshops and conferences are great opportunities to build relationships. They are also ideal for identifying and evaluating potential hires.

  • Benefits: Social events related to your industry help to narrow down the talent pool to only those most relevant to your business.
  • Disadvantages: Most participants are already connected to other companies and brands. However, the vast majority are also likely to be looking for better career opportunities.

Our advice: be subtle. If your new prospect is not sending positive signals that they are looking for a new employer, don’t force the issue. It’s no good upsetting other industry players and being labelled a “talent poacher”.

#4 Harness the power of Linkedin

The largest professional network on the planet is perhaps the best place to build a list of potential candidates for your sales force. The site’s powerful search functions can help you find qualified (but often already employed) salespeople in your particular niche. You can also post jobs and reach thousands of professionals who meet your standards and qualifications.

  • Benefits: LinkedIn is specifically designed for businesses and professionals of all kinds. It is a vast marketplace of ideas, products and talent.
  • Cons: Applying for jobs on LinkedIn is so easy that your recruitment campaign could be quickly saturated. If you get countless applications, you may be missing out on the real thing.

Our advice: Ask for additional information, a portfolio if applicable and a cover letter. These will help you to get more relevant information in addition to what is already available in the candidates’ Linkedin profiles. In addition, it will help you identify the most motivated candidates.

#5 Explore other social networks

If you need an entire brigade to fill your sales team, you can go beyond LinkedIn. Other social networks such as Facebook, Instagram, or Quora could be useful for recruiting your salespeople. Hundreds of millions of people regularly visit these networks to communicate their message and participate in conversations that matter to them.

  • Advantages: it’s free! There are also communities – particularly on Instagram and Facebook – that can be very relevant to your business. In addition, any candidate gleaned from these networks can be considered ‘social media savvy’, a desired trait for new generations of salespeople.
  • Cons: There are many distractions on social networks that can make your search ineffective. You can easily become dissipated and waste valuable time browsing through low quality profiles and/or discussions.

Our advice: you can use market research to target the specific demographics you want for your sales force. Millennials and young professionals, for example, tend to use Instagram and SnapChat more, while highly skilled and savvy professionals follow conversations on Quora.

#6 Recruit directly from schools/universities

Take advantage of the good connections you have made during your studies. You can also look beyond the places you attended, such as other universities in the area, if you need to create a larger talent pool.

  • Advantages: students and recent graduates are generally eager to enter the labour market. They are more flexible and easier to train than candidates who have been on the market for some time.

Our advice: look for the right attitude, motivation and behaviour.

#7 Turn to recruiters, headhunters and traditional job boards

Job boards such as Monster or Indeed provide online interfaces that connect recruiters to candidates. As LinkedIn can do, recruitment sites offer the best success rates for your staffing needs.

  • Benefits: You get simple recruitment services. You also get relevant labour market data, such as median salaries for specific jobs, sectors and geographical areas.
  • Disadvantages: Getting the best results can be expensive. You will also be competing with recruiters like yourself who often target the same candidates on the site.

Our advice: streamline and clarify your job offer. Make it stand out clearly from rival recruiters. Use site features such as employer reviews to gather employee sentiment about your company.

#8 Refine your search via job marketplaces

Online job marketplaces attract the best employers and the best candidates in a specific field. When these parties meet, excellence happens. It is therefore a very effective tactic for recruiting good sales people.

  • Advantages: sales-oriented marketplaces already screen candidates for different sales roles. In addition, they only allow highly skilled candidates to join their marketplace. Talent profiles are generally more in-depth than their LinkedIn accounts, saving recruiters valuable time when hiring salespeople.
  • Disadvantages: these high-end services come at a price.

Our advice: use special features such as sales performance history to better evaluate a candidate.

#9 Be present online and offline

Building your sales team can be done offline or online, or both. Depending on your situation, you can select the best practices of online and offline recruitment to build your final sales team. So make the most of face-to-face meetings at events and conferences. But don’t forget to harness the power of online tools when searching for talent.

#10 Some final tips and tactics

Recruiting (good) salespeople is not a job to be taken lightly. It can have a very important impact on your business. If you have hired the right people, then expect quick and positive results.

But if the successful candidates don’t make the cut, the damage in terms of time, money and morale can be devastating. So take commercial recruitment seriously. Hire specifically for the task at hand, but never overlook the character and motivation of the person.

Technical skills should always go hand in hand with attitude. For positions requiring experience, consider the candidate’s sales history, education, and degrees/certifications.

Discover our sales recruitment kit to help you in your recruitment

About the author

Profile picture for Axel Lavergne

Axel is one of Salesdorado's co-founders. He's also the founder of reviewflowz.com, a review management tool for B2B SaaS companies