The key to building a strong sales team in any startup is creating the right sales hiring strategy. The sales rep turnover rate is at an all-time high—finding and retaining the best salespeople is crucial to the success of your new business.
We’ll explore how and where to find the sales reps that will crush it for your startup.
How to Find the Perfect Sales Reps
First, let’s discuss three techniques to help you find the perfect sales reps:
1. Create the Right Candidate Profile
You know who you want to sell to and probably have an ideal customer profile for that purpose, and you should take that same approach when looking for sales reps. Before you make a job listing or start conducting interviews, you should have a solid understanding of the qualities your company needs on its sales team. Determine the relevant skills and experience level needed to succeed in the role.
A great place to start is assessing the competencies and strengths of your existing team—what’s missing?
Qualities to keep an eye out for include:
- Feedback-driven: Your candidate should be able to give and receive clear feedback.
- Problem-solving: Game-changing sales reps have creative problem-solving skills.
- Active listening: Actively listening to managers, colleagues, and prospects is a critical skill for sales reps.
- Personable: Sales is people-centric; the best reps can build positive relationships with your customers.
- Goal-oriented: Setting goals and making progress towards them is an invaluable skill in the sales field.
2. Ask the Right Questions
Before you open up the role for candidate interviews, start preparing for the process early. Keep your ideal sales rep’s traits and skills in mind, and approach the interview process with an intent to gauge how each candidate’s past experience relates to what you need them to do in the role at your startup.
Create interactive questions that will prompt your candidates to explain the experiences they’ve had throughout their careers and how they would handle different situations pertaining to the job at your organization.
For example, if your startup relies mostly on social selling, you can ask questions about how a candidate has used social media in the past to facilitate the sales process.
Taking your time and developing thoughtful questions unique to your business can help you find and hire the perfect sales rep to take your startup to the next level.
Related: Startup Sales & Marketing Expenses
3. Write the Right Job Description
Once you know who you’re looking for and are ready for the interview process, it’s time to start attracting the right candidates and bring them in—this starts with writing a concise, thorough job description.
The job description shouldn’t just sell potential candidates on the role; it should sell them on your company, too. If you want to attract high-quality candidates, the job description you write should be easy to understand, appealing, and paint a genuine picture of what the role entails.
You’ll want to include these key elements:
- Job title, seniority level, and statement of work
- The key objective of the role
- A list of tasks candidates would be responsible for
- Salary, bonuses, commissions, benefits, etc.
- Desired skills and experience level
- General schedule and work location
Where to Find the Perfect Sales Reps
Now, let’s look at where you can find the perfect sales reps:
Reaching out to your professional and social network is one of the best places to start. Have you worked with a sales rep at a different company that might be a good fit for your startup? Have you had an exceptional experience with a sales rep in the past? Or do you know a professional who might not have sales experience but you know has the competencies you need and is coachable? If so, consider reaching out to them to gauge their interest in joining your startup as a sales rep.
You can also talk to other organizations you have connections with, like an alumni association, community groups, or social clubs.
In addition, even if you don’t have anyone in your direct network, you can ask those you know for professional referrals or recommendations.
LinkedIn is a great place to find and connect with qualified sales reps quickly and easily. You can share job listings or search directly for talented sales professionals on the same platform.
On your startup’s LinkedIn page, you can also update the headline to show that you’re ready to hire a sales rep, prompting engagement from qualified job seekers. And you can share information about the position in relevant groups on the site to draw in even more candidates.
Because of LinkedIn’s size and how easy it is for candidates to apply, if you don’t set some requirements for applying (like including a cover letter), be ready for a serious influx of applications from individuals who aren’t qualified or genuinely interested in the position.
Traditional & Niche Job Boards
Traditional job boards—you know the ones: Indeed, Glassdoor, Monster, etc.—are great for getting your listing in front of many applicants. And while these sites are full of companies listing similar positions, you can get some insights into the statement of work and salaries your competitors offer.
On the other hand, niche job boards can help ensure that you only get applications from genuinely-qualified sales professionals. You should consider:
- Sales Heads: This job board is sales-focused and powered by Nexxt. It’s a platform that’s perfect for startups looking for entry-level sales reps.
- SalesJobs: This popular job board is available for both employers and recruiters to find salespeople with specific experiences and skills.
- Rainmakers: This platform matched employers with high-performing salespeople, highlighting their sales effectiveness and relevant skills.
Find Sales Reps That Will Crush It for Your Startup
Startup sales are tough; nothing about it is easy. But if you focus on the right skills and use these tips to hire the right candidates at the right time, you’ll see your startup go from exploration to execution, ultimately scaling your sales exponentially.