Sales Recruiters - Worth Hiring?

There are a lot of things that go into a successful sales program, and one of the most overlooked is recruiting. Because after all, once you've set up your sales team, you don't need a sales recruiter anymore, right?


Sales is a high-turnover job. No matter how well you do at setting up your sales team initially, you've got to expect some significant attrition. Sales reps get burned out and quit, or worse, don't quit and have to be terminated. Your top performer gets scalped by your biggest competitor. Or on the other hand, maybe things are going great, and you want to expand quickly or add a new product line.

Successful Sales Programs Require Constant Recruiting

It's a surprising fact, but our sales recruiters tell me that just to maintain a sales force of forty reps, they have to hire twenty new reps per month.

And those twenty new reps don't grow on trees. A third of the potential candidates sales recruiters talk to are not good enough candidates to even schedule for an interview. And only one out of four of those interviewed "pass" the interview with the sales manager.

Do the math, and you'll find that if you have a 40 person sales force, whoever is in charge of recruiting sales people for your organization will have to talk to about 130 potential sales reps every month.

Where will all those potential reps come from? Some will likely respond to ads (as long as you're posting clever and alluring ads on various job boards each week), but the majority will require you to hunt through job board databases for suitable resumes and prospect your job candidates like sales leads. That means reading through hundreds of resumes, contacting potential candidates, screening them over the phone, and setting up dozens of interviews each week. And then doing it all over again.

To add to the load, best practice dictates that sales recruiters stay ahead by keeping a consistent "bench" of pre-screened candidates who can be quickly hired on should the need arise.

Sales Managers Already Have Enough to Do

Many companies expect their sales managers to function as dual sales managers/sales recruiters. Unfortunately, one of the worst mistakes a sales department can make is to overload its sales managers with recruiting responsibilities.

All that time spent searching for, screening, and setting up interviews with job candidates takes valuable time away from a sales manager's other responsibilities: core functions like conducting regular sales meetings and training sessions, doing ride-alongs and other evaluations, and mentoring reps who need extra help.

This neglect of the current sales force leads to an even higher rate of sales force attrition, resulting in a need for ever more recruits, and perpetuating a vicious cycle of terminations, sinking morale, and bad sales performance.

Good Sales Recruiters Can Save a Sales Department

The truth is, sales recruiters are worth their weight in gold. They take pressure off of sales managers, providing them with a steady stream of potential sales reps to interview. They function as a friendly and positive first encounter that attracts potential reps and gives them an inside resource they can go to with questions or concerns during the hiring process. And they help ensure that the whole sales department runs smoothly and at full capacity.

Some organizations can support a sales recruiting department, while others don't have a large enough sales team to justify a recruiting department, or simply don't have the resources to hire and train a team of effective sales recruiters. In cases where internal sales recruiters are not an option, outsourced sales recruiting can be a lifesaver.

At Netpique, for example, we've developed a recruiting engine that consistently and efficiently provides our sales teams with all the reps they need. If you need some help with sales recruiting, we'd love to put our well-oiled recruiting machine to work for you.

Chris GinnaneComment