Hiring Sales Reps: How to Find & Recruit High-Performance Sales Reps 

You have a great offer. And you’re ready to expand your sales team and scale your business to 7 or 8 figures. There’s only one problem: you have trouble hiring sales reps

For one, superstar commission-based sales talents are hard to find. Also, you never know which hire will be successful and stick with you for decades versus which one you’ll have to fire in 3 months. These uncertainties make the hiring process so stressful.

So, it isn’t surprising you want a reliable and well-thought-out hiring process. One that enables you to identify the best candidates and sidestep the huge costs and inconveniences of hiring the wrong person.

No, you’re not asking for too much. And this article contains the answers you need.

Ready? First, let’s consider why hiring sales reps is so tricky.

Why is Recruiting Sales Reps So Hard?

Top sales talents can be challenging to find because they’re probably already working great jobs. What’s more, the demand for sales reps is as high as ever. According to a report from LinkedIn, salesperson roles are the third most in-demand jobs in Q1 of 2022. 

What does this mean for recruiters like you? Competition! 

You’re competing with several businesses to hire the best sales reps. Therefore, if you want to hire sales reps that’ll smash goals and increase your bottom line, you, too, must master how to hire sales reps

You must learn to identify and attract skilled, driven, and coachable sales reps. Otherwise, you’ll have to make do with mediocre leftovers.

Here at closers.io, we’ve trained 689+ high-ticket sales teams. In short, we know what works and what doesn’t, and in this guide, we share our proven process for recruiting sales reps.

Avoid This Common Hiring Mistake At All Cost

Hiring the wrong person is, by far, the most costly hiring mistake you can make. 

Hypothetically speaking, say you trial a sales rep for 30 calls, and your offer is only $5k. You’re, in essence, staking $150k of business on someone you might eventually fire. Add in the opportunity cost of training this candidate, and you’ll realize that you bleed serious money for every wrong hire.

You must therefore do all you can to minimize the chances of a wrong hire and increase your chances of onboarding the A-players— reps who will blow their quotas through the roof, stick with you for a long time, and make you a killing in profits.

Below, you’ll find tips that’ll help you quickly identify what’s not working so that you can cut your losses early enough.

9 Best Practices for Hiring Sales Reps in 2022 (Dos and Don’ts)

Hiring Sales Reps: How to Find & Recruit High-performance Sales Reps

Since you’re aiming for the top sales talents, you must remember that these folks are spoiled for choice. Everybody wants them. So if all you do is chase after recruits, you’re no different from most recruiters.

Here’s a smarter approach: make your business attractive to the top-performing sales reps.

Hiring sales reps is like searching for a needle in a haystack. 

If you rummage through the hay, you’ll likely wind up tired and frustrated. But if you got a powerful magnet and swept it across the haystack, the magnet would attract or magnetize the needle easy-peasy.

In light of this truth, the first three tips in the list below focus on how to make your business more attractive to potential hires. And the remaining tips focus on finding and qualifying your candidates like a pro.

1. Fix Your Sales Vehicle 

Sales team success is like car racing. 

To win the trophy, you need (a) a great race car driver (i.e., your superstar salesperson) and (b) a built-to-win race car (i.e., your dialed-in sales systems and processes).

Unfortunately, most recruiters obsess about getting the right salesperson and pay little attention to their systems. They assume that once they hire the right salesperson, they’d automatically do a booming business. 

But you can’t put Dale Earnhardt in a beater, (say a Toyota Camry sedan) and expect him to win the Daytona 500.

The problem with bad sales vehicles is two-fold: (a) you’re not putting your reps in the best position to win, and (b) you’re less attractive from a recruitment/career perspective. 

Remember, the best sales reps know their value. And they want to be in a team that, among other things, has their sales systems dialed in, has a great culture, and has a promising career path. If your business doesn’t have these qualities, your job offer becomes less attractive, and the best candidates won’t give you a second look.

Here are some of the elements of an effective sales motion:

  • A catalog of the right questions to get prospects closing themselves
  • An easy and compelling pitch: Improving your pitch can easily 2x your closing ratio
  • An effective follow-up system: Otherwise, you leave lots of money on the table
  • Attractive On Track Earnings (OTE): OTEs answer the question, “how much can your salesperson make if they perform within KPI (Key Performance Indicator)?” The rule here is simple:  if you don’t want monkeys, don’t pay peanuts.
  • Sales enablement assets: e.g., content that helps them sell.
  • Position scorecards: Agreements that clarify their KPIs 
  • Tracking systems
  • Day-to-day sales ops

Caution now: you might be tempted to think your process is excellent just because you already do huge figures in revenue. But in our experience, that’s never been the case. 

We’ve never looked at a client’s system and thought, “this is perfect!” There’s always something we can tweak to impact their sales radically. 

Our experience with Frank Kern’s team is a good case in point. Cole helped improve their sales pitch. And that change alone enabled the entire team to convert to a new offer right out the gate. 

2. Craft a Compelling Brand Story 

Here’s one thing successful brands like Apple, Nike, Zappos, and TOMs have in common? They have compelling brand stories that consumers and employees love to be a part of. 

Think about Apple’s famous “Think Different” ad, for instance.

“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes … the ones who see things differently — they’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo… 

You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things… 

They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world are the ones who do.”

Doesn’t that ad make you want to drop off what you’re doing and change the world with Apple Inc? 

The human brain is hard-wired to love stories. So you connect better with customers and hires when you use the power of story to develop and communicate your brand mission and vision.

Apple inspires us to “Think Different.” Nike tells their audience to dream and “just do it.” Zappos “delivers happiness.” TOMS gives out a shoe to a child in need.

These organizations have built a cult-like following of loyal customers and staff by telling compelling brand stories. 

And so, when you craft a story that tells the world why you exist and the cause your business serves, you’ll attract loyal customers and sales reps who share your vision for the world and will give blood, sweat, and tears.

3. Develop Strong Leadership.

When a sports team is floundering, it fires its coach. Have you ever wondered why? Its board understands what John Maxwell termed the “Law of the Lid.”

The law of the lid states that leadership ability is always the lid on personal and organizational effectiveness. In other words, no organization can ever outgrow the effectiveness of its leadership.

We’ve found this to be true in our experience. The businesses that make the most sales are usually the ones with the most effective leaders. 

Again, your leadership ability will determine the effectiveness of your sales team and the size of your business. So if you want to get the best results from your sales team, you’ve got to increase your leadership effectiveness.

4. Cast A Wide Net (or Generate A Massive Pipeline of Recruits.)

According to the law of probabilities, the more potential recruits you examine, the likelier you will find the perfect hire. 

So, generate a massive pipeline of recruits. Then filter them through a proper vetting process so that only the best reps come through on the other end.

There’s nothing fun about sifting through countless resumes and conducting dozens of interviews. But, the pain of finding the perfect candidate pales compared to the annoyance of winding up with a wrong fit.

That said, here’s our pipeline filtration process. Use it to guide yours.

  • Traffic generation: Pull in leads from as many platforms as you can. 
  • Application process: Develop a sophisticated application process that examines the sales skills that are most important to you.
  • Personality profile
  • 15 minutes initial screening interview
  • Skills interview: Role play with the candidate to test how they sell in real life. This helps remove the guesswork.
  • Scorecard interview: We set the agreements on the position
  • Offer: and sell the candidate the benefits of working without us, and we aim to give the candidate an offer they cannot refuse. 

5. Accelerate Ramp-Up Time

Ramp-up time refers to the time it takes for a new hire to go from zero to hitting their sales quotas. The longer a rep stays below their sales quotas, the more cash you lose. Conversely, the faster the new hires generate ROI, the better your company’s financial health. 

Therefore, you need to design a ramp-up system that accelerates the time it takes for new hires to start producing revenue.

An adequate internal sales training program is at the heart of your speedy ramp system. Your new hires may not necessarily generate record-breaking sales after this training. But their results should assure you that your investment in them will ultimately pay off.

6. Be Slow to Hire and Quick to Fire

We understand your impatience. 

You know you’ve got an excellent offer for your target market. There’s a crowd of potential customers who need the solution that you provide. And your bank balance is itching to add a few extra zeros too. Still, you must not let yourself make hasty hiring decisions.

Remember, a bad hire won’t leave you where it met you. It’ll drain you of money, time, and energy. 

Whenever you’re bothered by the slow speed of your methodical and well-thought hiring process, repeat this NAVY seal quote to yourself: “slow is smooth, and smooth is fast.”’

7. Hire for Attitude Too

You’ll likely come across candidates with great sales talent but a terrible personality. And you might be tempted to hire them. Don’t do that.

A staff member with a bad attitude will prove to be cancerous to your organization in the long run. Therefore, you should avoid such reps like the plague. 

You’re better with a person who has integrity and is eager to learn than with a talented rep that’s dishonest and unreliable. 

8. Give them a Sense of Control

Here’s a piece of timeless management advice from Steve Jobs, the billionaire co-founder of Apple Inc.:

“It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do.”

The lesson here is that you have to keep your ego in check. Don’t play the superior “you’re lucky to be working here” card. The top-performing reps know their worth and will gravitate toward offers that make them feel valued. 

If you want to attract and retain the best reps, you must acknowledge their unique value and give them the respect they deserve.

9. Hire More Than You Think You Need, What Do You Have to Lose?

It doesn’t cost you much to hire commission-based sales reps as they are paid based on their performance. 

If you think you need one salesperson, hire two and batch train them. If one candidate doesn’t work out, all is good and fine. And if both candidates work out? Congratulations, you doubled your business! 

If you’re spending money on inbound lead generation, you’ll need to spend twice as much to fill the calendars for both hires. And so your account may get further in the red if these candidates take some time to ramp. 

So, yes, there are some additional costs there.

Still, it’s safer to spread your eggs across different baskets. So if you can afford to trial a few more reps than you need, you should do so.

Find Your Next Super-Star Sales Rep and Grow your Business

And that’s it.

Before reading this article, the bothering question on your mind was, “how do I hire a good sales rep?” 

Now, we’ve shown you how. You know how to hire 100% commission-only sales reps. So waste no time. Dive into the practices, and hire a sales rep to help scale your business to new heights.

Yes, it won’t be easy, and you will have to do some trial and error. But if you follow these steps, you’ll eventually find the top-quality hires you seek. And when the profits come pouring, you’ll be happy you did this.

If you have any questions or hiccups, schedule a call with us now, and we’ll be more than willing to help you.

Are you ready? Then let’s get this show on the road.

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