In competitive B2B markets a company’s ability to identify, attract and recruit high performing sales professionals can have a material impact on its’ success. It’s therefore surprising that having done the hard work of finding the ideal candidate businesses can sabotage their efforts by making fatal mistakes at the closing stage.
Here are some common mistakes that we have seen along with suggestions for best practice.
- Lowballing the Salary
Having a high-performing sales team that consistently grows revenues above market average, means offering a compensation plan that is above market average.
Top performers are highly unlikely to be attracted by at or below market-level salaries. They know their value to an employer and will expect a competitive offer that recognises the ROI they will deliver.
Over the course of the recruitment process the hiring manager should have gathered information on the current salary (and overall earnings) of the candidate, as well as their expectations for a new role. It can be good practice to preview what an offer is likely to look like before extending one to verify that expectations are aligned. Offering a low salary sends the wrong signals and is one of the most likely ways to end a negotiation before it starts.
- Taking Too Long
Sales ‘A’ players are a scarce and highly sought after resource. They therefore have options and taking several weeks to make an offer is likely to either put them off or allow them to be snapped up by someone else.
In contrast making an offer quickly -within two days of the final interview – demonstrates to the candidate that the company is committed to bringing them on board.
- Unclear or Overly Complex Commission Plan
Some commission plans have so many elements to them and are so complex that they confuse rather than inform.
Great candidates will want to know exactly what their on target earnings (OTE) is going to be and exactly what they will need to deliver to achieve it. Absolute transparency in the commission plan is key!
The best employers will construct a straightforward commission plan that is mutually agreed. It should be realistic and work for both parties – acting as an incentive for the salesperson and driving the sales that bring in the most profitable work for the company
- Not Selling Them On The Opportunity
Unless your company is a major brand name with an excellent reputation as an employer the chances are that prospective sales hires will want to get comfortable with the specifics of your company.
You should be prepared to give ideal candidates compelling (and real!) reasons to join you:
- How the company has been performing and what its’ plans are for the future.
- Sales culture and alignment between the company’s and candidate’s expectations of each other
- The working environment and the company culture.
- What level of autonomy they will have.
- Earning potential and potential for advancement.
- What the onboarding process is.
They are also likely to want to move to a company that has been exhibiting clear growth – or has financial backing and a clear vision to achieve it. Don’t breeze over these details – hiring managers need to provide solid evidence that by joining the team a candidate is making the right decision.