The Clock Is Ticking: To Meet Sales Goals in 2017, Sales Hiring Must Be A Priority NOW

Photo by www.bigstock.com

Photo by bigstock.com

January 2017 may sound like the distant future, but in reality it is officially less than 12 weeks away. Considering that the holidays take up the last two weeks in December, hiring managers have even less time to ensure a strong sales team is in place in order to hit 2017 sales goals.

To put it another way, hiring managers simply don’t have any time to waste when it comes to preparing for sales success in 2017. The clock is literally ticking.

Here are three reasons hiring managers need to focus on recruiting top sales professionals now in order to make 2017 the best sales year yet.

 

  1. Recruiting, interviewing, background checks, presenting offers to top sales managers or sales reps, along with allowing time for them to provide a 2-week notice can take up to 10-12 weeks.
  2. The closer to the holidays we get (taking into account Thanksgiving as well), the busier potential sales candidates (and hiring managers) will become. That equates to fewer opportunities for interviews, shadow-days, or sales rep ride-alongs.
  3. Many businesses prefer not to offer start dates after the first or second week of December, simply because of office closures/time off for the holidays. This year Christmas and New Year’s do happen to fall on the weekend. However, Hanukkah spans the entire week from December 24, 2016 through January 1, 2017. Therefore, it makes sense that in order to have new sales professionals hit the ground running come January, they will need to start early in November or early December.

In order to meet your sales goals in 2017, hiring managers can’t afford to be underprepared come January. It’s much easier to stay on target with your goals by starting out strong from the get-go, than it is to try to catch up later.

At Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting, we understand how crucial it is to have the best sales managers and sales reps on your team in order to reach your monthly, quarterly and annual sales goals. We are here for you today, to help you find and attract top sales professionals now, so that your sales soar in the future.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent. Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based recruiting firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or email info@grapevinerecruiting.com.

Should You Be Looking for Sales Pros from Other Industries?  5 Reasons it May Be in Your Best Interest

businesss and office concept - two businessmen shaking hands inBy: Andy Wright

When searching for top sales talent, it can make a critical difference to think outside the box. That’s why hiring managers should not only mine their own business and industry for talent that’s worth promoting, but to also make sure that they (or their sales recruiting company partner) seek out sales pros from different industries who can meaningfully add to the value and performance of the company.

Let’s take a look at a few key reasons why outside sales hires from alternate industries sometimes makes the most sense when searching for the best sales talent.

  • Pure Talent vs. Technical Knowhow

Hiring a salesperson within your industry may seem like a good bet: existing knowledge, less training required (maybe), and what seems like a sensible choice. But a track record of sales success is a much better indicator of achievement than rote technical proficiency. Look for salespeople who lead their industry and chances are they’ll be able to translate that success at your company, too.

  • A Diversified Book of Business

Hiring a sales rep who sells a different product or service than your company—but to the same or similar customers—is an excellent way of hiring outside your industry. Not only do you land a sales pro who has a solid sales track record, but one who also has a strong book of business/database of contacts that can boost your business.

  • Positive Perception

A company that hires outside their industry shows a creativity and foresight that some of the most exciting companies swear by, including tech giants like Google and Facebook. Attracting top sales talent from other industries is all about signaling a forward-thinking, modern perspective that fosters talent wherever it’s derived.

  • A Fresh Set of Eyes

Sometimes it takes an outsider to recognize inefficiency or spearhead positive change. When hiring managers seek sales talent in outside industries, they are bringing in far more than a top-performer—they’re also getting a fresh set of eyes that can offer an innovative perspective.

  • Far Fewer Limits

Though the frequent hope is that new hires from the same field might bring clients and customers with them, the legal minefield of non-compete agreements and customer block out times could hinder these types of hires. By looking outside your industry for capable sales talent, you are saving valuable time and effort in cultivating candidates who won’t bring legal woes with them.

Although there are clear benefits to hiring sales professionals from other industries, it’s imperative that only companies with a strong onboarding/training program opt to go this route.  Before hiring sales reps from outside industries, take the time to evaluate the effectiveness and efficiency of your in-house training program in order to understand if an outside hire is right for your company. When in doubt, rely on your trusted sales recruiting company partner to help you determine your best pool of candidates.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. 

Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or emailinfo@grapevinerecruiting.com.

11 Things Leaders Need to Talk About When They Meet With Their Staff

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A few years back I wrote an article called Stop Having Status Meetings! 5 Better Things to do Instead.

Status updates squander time that could be spent using your team as a team. At the bottom of that article I mentioned 11 things to do instead of reporting status.

Now, I want to use this article to elaborate on these 11 things.

Discussion to drive the business forward

Getting your team together offers a precious opportunity to focus the team energy on great discussions that will drive the business forward.

Learn what people really think. Have debates. As a leader you need these conversations to make you smarter and to inform which direction you should be taking the team and the business.

Here are 11 ideas of great things you can do with staff meeting time.

This list is by no means exhaustive. There are just some ideas to get you thinking about higher value conversations you can have with your team.

1. What are the key outcomes we are on the hook for?

How will we know if we are achieving them?

It’s really worth putting this question of key outcomes out there, and aligning on both the list and what the measures are. You will be surprised how many different opinions will exist if you haven’t had this discussion already.

Read More Here

6 Red Flags that Hiring Managers Can’t Afford to Ignore While Interviewing Sales Reps and Sales Managers

red flagThe interview process provides a one-of-a-kind window into a potential sales rep’s capabilities and personality. To a hiring manager, the interview process can also serve as an opportunity to detect any inconsistencies or mismatches in a potential sales candidate. After all, even when working with a top sales recruiting company, at the end of the day, the decision to hire a sales manager or top sales professional will be up to the hiring manager.

When it comes time to sit down for an interview with a potential employee, hiring managers can’t afford to ignore any of the following six red flags.

  1. A Lack of Timeliness

Life is unpredictable, and sometimes matters of promptness are out of an individual’s control. But, when it comes to tardiness before an interview, it can make all the difference in the world if the candidate who is running late calls ahead to warn of his or her time delay. A candidate that truly thinks ahead would factor in a cushion of time for getting lost, unexpected traffic, and the like, but at the very least a call ahead shows consideration, and respect for your time. Furthermore, if they are late to meet with you, who is to say they won’t be late to meet with potential customers?

  1. Arriving Unprepared

A talented sales candidate should know as much as possible about your company, both from working with a reputable sales recruiting company, and through additional research they have conducted about your company. Since a frequent interview question posed to candidates is, “How much do you know about our company?” A candidate may not know everything there is to know—that’s partly what interviews are for, after all—but showing initiative, and a genuine interest in what you and your company stand for, by conducting their own thorough research is a sign of a candidate’s ability to be proactive. When it comes to sales positions, candidates who are not proactive are not likely to be successful.

  1. The Candidate Has No Questions About the Sales Position

A good hiring manager tries to offer a comprehensive take on what his or her company does, but that doesn’t mean a sales representative or sales manager candidate shouldn’t have their own questions to ask. Top sales reps and managers will almost assuredly have questions they expect you, as the hiring manager to answer. When a candidate poses thoughtful questions during the interview process, it not only indicates their serious interest in the position, and the work your company does, it is also indicative that they have an inquisitive and industrious mind.

  1. Poor Self Presentation and Communication

For many job candidates, interviews can seem like a daunting process, so it’s normal to be nervous. However, this shouldn’t be the case for a potential sales rep or sales manager. After all, if they can’t sell themselves, how can they sell your products or services? A talented sales professional will be dressed sharply, prepared, and enthused about the work your company does. Thus they should have confidence shining through. Sales reps and sales managers should also be able to communicate clearly, calmly, and with confidence in their capabilities, and their ability to succeed in the sales position they are pursuing.

  1. The Candidate Provides No Concrete Details

Take heed to look for concrete examples that clearly and concisely serve as proof of a sales candidate’s experience and successes. If a sales rep led a campaign at his/her previous employment, what were the specific figures? How many people did the sales manager oversee? How much revenue was generated? How many accounts has he/she brought in? A track record of success should be rooted in specific details, not nebulous figures.

  1. The Candidate Failed to Close

Everyone knows that first impressions are important, but the final impression that a sales candidate leaves can be just as telling. This is especially true when it comes to sales reps, as being a successful closer is vital to generating sales for your company. Does the candidate ask for the business cards of all those present for the interview? Does he/she address any concerns or remaining questions that a hiring manager might have? Does the candidate finish with a strong handshake and assurance to follow-up? If a potential sales rep or sales manager can’t close you, they’re not going to close sales for your company either.

Even if a candidate has come highly recommended and vetted by an experienced, reputable sales recruiting company, the hiring manager will ultimately be responsible for deciding on whether or not a potential sales rep or sales manager will help to meet the goals of the company. Keeping an eye out for the above red flags can make a hiring manager’s job far easier, as the strongest sales candidate for the position will stand apart from the pack.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or emailinfo@grapevinerecruiting.com.

Winning Sales Hiring Game Plan: Reasons to Conduct a “Ride Along” or “Shadow Day” With Potential Sales Rep Candidates

ShadowOnce you (or your trusted sales professional recruiting firm) has waded through resumes, and completed preliminary interviews to identify only the best pool of candidates for your sales position, the proverbial finish line is well within sight. Congratulations!

However, before you completely cross that finish line, it’s worth considering going the “extra mile” to ensure that the candidate you’re prepared to hire is indeed going to be a strong addition to your team. Fortunately, this last leg of the journey isn’t anything close to having to run an extra mile. In fact, it’s more akin to an extra 50-yard dash. But since you’re filling an instrumental role, it’s worth the few extra steps.

In this case, we’re talking about hosting your potential sales representative on a “ride-along” or “shadow day.” In other words, you’ll be giving your potential candidate a hands-on trial run at the position for which he or she is being vetted. Conducting a ride-along or shadow day will give you metaphorical courtside seats, as to how the potential sale rep or sales manager handles day-to-day tasks and interactions, the types of ideas he or she contributes, and how the candidate might fit into the overall environment and workflow of your business.

Of course, a shadow/ride-along day is best conducted after a final interview is complete and you are convinced that the remaining candidate(s) will be the right fit for your sales position. This is particularly true, if you’re recruiting a passive candidate, as they may need to take a few hours off, from their current position.

All the same, in addition to allowing existing team members, sales managers and the potential candidate to have the chance to experience a future day-in-the life of their new sales position, shadow days and ride-along days are useful for several other practical reasons including:

  • Providing an opportunity for an in-the-field sales trial

Providing a ride-along experience for your potential sale rep provides them with the opportunity to spend time in the field with a top producing and/or senior sales rep—allowing the candidate to get a true sense of the day-to-day responsibilities that are required in the position, as well as the types of customers your business serves.

  • Learning how the day-to-day office duties are performed

Inviting a potential sales rep or manager to spend a few hours shadowing the office allows him or her to:

  • See how inside sales are performed
  • Become familiar with other positions within your company and how hierarchy and collaboration is structured
  • Understand daily workflow and processes
  • Become generally familiar, or reacquainted with regularly utilized software
  • Get a feel for incoming and outgoing calls
  • Interact with various potential-coworkers, seeing how he or she fits in among them

 

  • Assessing a candidate’s contributions and potential

While the candidate gets the opportunity to understand the office’s inner workings; the employer also has the chance to assess the candidate’s interactions, contributions, and overall fit with other employees and within the company. Does the candidate ask thoughtful questions? Does the candidate contribute to a positive and productive professional atmosphere? Does the candidate share insight and ideas? Does the candidate take instruction well?

A shadow-day or ride-along day can be useful not only for employers but also for potential top sales candidates as well. A few hours of shadowing can confirm the potential you see within a candidate or alert you to qualities and characteristics you might not have assessed in the traditional interview setting. Either way, both the employer and the candidate will win, in their own way.

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting. Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or emailinfo@grapevinerecruiting.com.

 

5 Tips To Attract Talented (but Passive) Sales Reps in 2016

UseforAndyIt’s no surprise that many employers find themselves “underwhelmed” by the potential pool of candidates they attract after posting an ad to fill a sales position. The reason is simple. Top-performing sales professionals are typically employed, busy selling, networking and creating new contacts, leaving relatively no time to search job boards. So how are companies supposed to attract the crème de la crème of candidates to fill an open sales rep or sales manager position?

Answer: Target Passive Candidates

Passive candidates are those who are not actively seeking a new position. They may on occasion browse job openings online to see what is available, but finding a new position is not a priority. Why should it be? They are already performing well because they are good at what they do.

So can your company access this pool of passive talent? Here are five tips for attracting top-producing passive sales reps in 2016.

1.Network Proactively

To recruit top sales reps, you’ll need to not only be visible at networking events, you’ll need to make it known that you are looking for top performers. A good rule of thumb is that if you share with 100 people that you’re actively looking for a strong sales rep, you will wind up with a small pool of qualified and interested candidates. But people need to know you’re on the hunt, so get out there, and let others know what you’re looking for.

2.Targeted Emails

Much like networking, targeted emails to your database, sphere of influence, and even family members announcing that you’re looking for top performing sales managers or sales professionals, can yield another viable albeit small pool of qualified, yet passive candidates. Use the people you know for referrals!

3.Make Sure Your Position Provides Perks Others Don’t

If you’re going to attract “A” candidates, you’re going to have to offer an attractive overall package. This may include above industry compensation, benefits that blow away the competition, a fun office space/environment/culture, and of course plenty of room for growth. By poking around to find out what others are offering, you can find ways to make your offer stand out among the rest.

4. Engage in Strategic Social Media Opportunities

LinkedIn is a great place to find passive “A” candidates. You have a virtually unlimited pool of potential passive candidates right at your fingertips. Take time to join networking groups, sales groups, and other groups affiliated with your industry. Through connecting personally with others in your region, industry, or with fellow members in business organizations such as the chamber of commerce, you increase your opportunity to spread the word about your sales opening.

5. Hire a Professional Sales Recruiting Firm

In a perfect world HR managers or business owners would have dozens and dozens of spare hours to recruit top performing passive candidates. But the truth is, social media outreach, targeted emails, research into valuable networking opportunities, to say nothing of the hours spent weeding out unqualified candidates, requires a great deal time. Unfortunately, time is probably not something you have a lot of, if you’re running a business which is in need of a top sales professional.

This is where a reputable targeted sales recruiting company can prove invaluable to your business in the coming year. Professional recruiters spend their days tracking down the specific type of candidate that you’re looking for. We conduct exhaustive research into all viable candidates, so that we can identify those most suited to your unique needs. From there, we utilize countless tools to reach these talented, passive candidates including emailing, phone calls, targeted employment marketing, social media marketing, and more. We also help you to make sure that your position does indeed stand out, by offering suggestions of ways to improve your offer so it stands as a beacon of opportunity.

From there, we conduct interview after interview on your behalf, to weed out candidates who don’t meet your criteria. Finally, we present you with a small pool of only the most qualified sales reps and managers for your needs.

If you’re looking to recruit outstanding sales performers to join your team in 2016, give us a call. Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting has helped countless companies take their business to the next level by providing a painstakingly selective recruitment process to ensure that an outstanding candidate, whether passive or active is available to you for hiring.

We wish you great Sales Success in the New Year!

Andy Wright is the owner and an active recruiter at Grapevine – Targeted Sales Recruiting.  Andy began his recruiting career in 2003, and has a proven track record of helping companies both large and small increase sales team retention and productivity through recruiting top talent.  Prior to launching Grapevine in December of 2011, Andy held key leadership positions for two Twin Cities-based search firms, training and managing teams of recruiters while developing new business and managing national account relationships. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or emailinfo@grapevinerecruiting.com.

 

5 Tried and True Tips to Help HR Managers or Business Owners Succeed in Negotiations with a Sales Superstar

By: Courtney Keene

15 Website ServicesDale Carnegie, famous author of How to Win Friends and Influence People, once said:

By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.”

HR Managers and business owners who have their sights set on securing a talented sales rep or sales manager for their company will be smart to heed Carnegie’s caution, when it comes to negotiations. Here are five tips to help HR Managers or business owners successfully negotiate an offer presented to a sales representative of sales manager

1. Identify any aspects of the offer that you’re willing to adjust, and those that are deal-breakers.  Perhaps you’re willing to guarantee the first year’s bonus because the candidate will be stepping into an underperforming territory/turnaround situation, or you’re willing to offer extra vacation days, or additional personal/sick days. In other words, decide whether your offer will be the final say, or if you are willing to negotiate, should your potential candidate counter-offer.

2. Develop or pinpoint any specific incentives you’re willing to offer. For example, if your new employee needs to relocate, decide if you’re willing to help with relocation by paying for the move, or helping with the deposit on a new apartment.  This is also the time when you’ll decide how you will handle any non-competes your potential sales representative has signed.  Will you support them if a non-compete clause becomes a legal issue?  These are decisions you should make before drafting the offer, so that they can be addressed and/or included.

3. Put everything in writing, including a deadline for accepting or declining the offer. Even in cases where you have “pre-closed” with a verbal offer, you’ll need to reiterate in writing all that has been discussed, and highlight any variations that have arisen after your verbal offer.

4. Call after extending the offer in writing.  This way you’ll be able walk the sales rep or sales manager through the commission and bonus structure, and be able to answer any questions they may have.

 
5. Be prepared for a counter-offer.  In today’s sales climate there is a pervasive belief that a job candidate must always negotiate an offer, or risk looking unsophisticated. Fear that they may come across as a pushover if they don’t counter-offer drives many sales professionals to insist on making changes to even the most attractive offers.  So, if you’re recruiting an especially talented sales rep, or highly experienced sales manager, expect a counter-offer.

Negotiating a sales position offer should never be done haphazardly. All details should be thoroughly evaluated before agreeing to a candidate’s requests, or conversely rejecting a counter-offer. The process is made easier by working with an established and trusted sales recruiting company. By working with an experienced and reputable sales recruiting company you may find that the benefits of yielding just a little bit, result in a win-win situation for both parties.

Courtney Keene is a sales and management talent recruiter at Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting. She has a proven record of helping companies in a wide variety of industries to secure the top talent they need to see their businesses thrive. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or email info@grapevinerecruiting.com.

 

Negotiation Know-How: 5 Tips for Successfully Navigating Through the Job Offer

15 Website ServicesMerriam-Webster defines negotiation as “a formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement.”

When it comes to negotiating a sales position offer, the key word in this definition is discussion. Successful negotiations between HR managers or business owners and potential sales reps or sales managers will exemplify this definition. To put it another way, all negotiations should take the form of a constructive discussion, not a battle, or a stand-off. Here are 5 tips for sales reps or managers to follow, in order to ensure your negotiation efforts result in constructive discussions to reach an agreement.

  1. Make sure to acknowledge and respond to the offer promptly. Regardless of whether you are accepting or declining the offer, it is important to acknowledge receipt of the offer within 24-48 hours. If you need to counteroffer, don’t procrastinate. It’s also incredibly important to be mindful and adhere to any deadlines for acceptance required by the employer.
  1. Thoroughly review the offer to decide if it is fair. If the offer includes everything you were hoping for, there is nothing wrong with deciding not to negotiate or counteroffer.   Contrary to what some may believe, deciding not to negotiate is not a sign of weakness. Instead it shows that you recognize a fair offer when you see one, and that asking for additional money or concessions just because you think you should negotiate could ultimately backfire.
  1. Consider the big picture, not just the salary. This is particularly important if you have a set income in mind, and the offer is lower than you’re comfortable with. Are the benefits acceptable, or perhaps even excellent? What about vacation time? Or bonuses for exceeding goals? In addition, don’t forget to consider the reputation of the company. What kind of culture does the company have? Is it competitive or collaborative? Do the other employees seem happy, and supportive of one another? Studies show that a vibrant company culture leads to increased job satisfaction and lower turnover.
  1. Convey the specific shortcomings of the offer to your full service sales recruiter. As your liaison, your professional sales recruiter can deliver this information to the HR manager or business owner on your behalf, serving as an experienced, neutral “middleman.”   They can also handle the negotiations for you if necessary, in order to prevent a potentially emotionally charged exchange between you and the HR manager or business owner. By delegating the negotiating to your recruiter, you will prevent any direct conflict with your potential new employer, should you ultimately accept the position.
  1. Refrain from resigning with your current position, until you have passed all background or drug screenings. Even if you’re convinced you’ll pass all checks with flying colors, it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Postpone resigning from your current employer until you’ve been fully cleared for new employment as a sales representative or sales manager.

Negotiating a job offer should never be done impulsively. Specific decisions and options should be weighed carefully. The process is greatly simplified by working with established and trusted sales recruiting company, which can serve as a liaison between the parties, to help facilitate the “formal discussion between people who are trying to reach an agreement.”

Courtney Keene is a sales and management talent recruiter at Grapevine Targeted Sales Recruiting. She has a proven record of helping companies in a wide variety of industries to secure the top talent they need to see their businesses thrive. Visit www.grapevinerecruiting.com, call 952.856.2371 or email info@grapevinerecruiting.com.

 

 

 

Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions

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Like many of you, I spend a good bit of my time thinking about and/or interacting with organizational leaders and wondering what the hell makes them tick.

Or, to put it another way: Why do smart leaders make really dumb decisions? Because when it comes right down to it, leaders are only as effective as the decisions they make.

The truth of this slapped me upside the head the other day while speaking with an acquaintance about his company culture. This gentleman reported that morale is dreadfully low, and most of that has to do with the head honcho. (Let’s call him Frank.)

Read The Full Article Here

When You Have to Let People Go, Do It With “Professional Kindness”

I hate firing people. My heart always wonders if I could have done more to make it work, or if I should have given them another chance. But my head knows that I cannot run a profitable business AND employ people who don’t meet the standards of the company.

As harsh as that may sound, that leader is entirely correct.

At some point it becomes obvious that a team member or colleague isn’t making the cut, no matter how many opportunities they are given. And while we tend to look at firing someone in a negative light, it doesn’t necessarily have to be that way.

How to give them “professional kindness”

It’s true that delivering unwanted news to an employee will never be a fun job, but there are ways to frame it in a different, more positive light.

In other words, it is important to use professional kindness.

  • Give them a reason. You don’t need to go into minute details, but it can be helpful to offer constructive feedback as to why this decision was made. Remember, it’s not just about firing someone who isn’t a good fit for your company, it’s also about being a part of their growth going forward.

Read More Ways To Show Professional Kindness Here