Sales Halftime Report: 5 Quick Hits to Get Sales Hiring on Track

During the planning process last year, you probably forecasted the headcount you needed to hit this year’s sales targets. And at first, perhaps you were on target based on your findings. But with half of the fiscal year now in the rearview mirror, you may be struggling due to your inability to build enough momentum for sales hiring because of a lack of quality candidates.

According to our State of Sales Hiring Research, filling three open sales positions requires an average of 100 applicants and takes 60-90 days. And that’s just to have an offer accepted. 

Then, they need to start, and you need ramp-up time. This takes 6-9 months, possibly longer.

According to Gartner, most CEOs overestimate sales team performance and the factors that go into building a successful scalable selling engine. They also underestimate the time it takes to hire salespeople and ramp them to productivity as well as the impact of attrition of existing sales people. Here are 5 helpful tips to get sales hiring on track for the second half of the year and help new hires make an impact this year.

1. Know Your Sales Hiring Funnel Metrics – This shouldn’t be a foreign a concept, as it is a parallel to your sales and marketing funnel metrics. The four stages of the hiring funnel are:

  1. Applicants
  2. Interviews
  3. Offers
  4. Acceptances.

If you don’t know your metrics, now is the time to start. It doesn’t need to be precise down to the 100th decimal point, but you need to get some reasonable benchmarks so you can start measuring hiring performance and diagnosing hiring problems. 

Remember, the current benchmark for B2B companies is: 3 Acceptances takes 5 offers, which takes 25 interviews and 100 applicants.

2. Review and Update Your Job Postings – The demand for sellers far exceeds the supply. It is a buyer’s market, and you need to be selling the opportunity with your company. Start by reviewing job postings. Too often, companies use recycled job postings from 10 years ago. The workforce has changed dramatically in that time. Also, make sure your requirements are not overly restrictive, such as requiring a 4-year degree or a certain number of years of experience. Ensure that your language is inclusive and positions your company as an employer of choice. 

Remember, you’re selling here. List all benefits and showcase your authentic culture. 

More than ever, your employer brand matters.

3. Refresh Your Understanding of Sales Compensation Benchmarks – There’s a misconception that money is everything in sales. Yes, money matters. But so do other factors with today’s workforce, like work-life balance and opportunities for learning and advancement. Research your competitors to see what they are offering. You can learn a lot about your competitors from websites like Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, and LinkedIn. 

You don’t need to pay the most, but you need to be competitive or you will lose good candidates after investing a lot of time and effort into trying to hire them. Go in with your eyes wide open. Sales compensation consultants like Reese Bacon at Buck Consulting are excellent resources.

4. Automate screening with AI – In the past, more candidates wasn’t necessarily a good thing because it required more time and effort to screen them. ATS systems could do some of this by parsing resumes and looking for keywords, but they were not reliable, and the fear of missing out (FOMO) was too high. These days, you can automate screening with predictive AI-simulations systems like the Sciolytix Sales Performance Predictor. 

These give you a precise, consistent, and objective evaluation of every candidate early in the hiring process. This way, you can identify the best and pass on the rest.

5. Move fast on the best candidates – A slow hiring process kills your ability to land the best candidates. AI helps you identify who to interview first, but don’t squander your first mover advantage. Be sure that your hiring process is tight and efficient. Know who will interview the candidate, and prepare interviewers with quality information on the candidate and consistent evaluation criteria to make comparisons across interviewers meaningful and quick. 

Then, be sure you’ve coordinated the hiring process with your HR team to ensure all employment-related activities such as offer letters and background checks go smoothly.

Following these 5 tips in the second half of the year will help you fill open positions and reduce your risk of a bad hire. Start now, and your new hires can still make an impact in 2022.

What are you doing to improve your sales hiring process?

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and hoping for a different result. If you are satisfied with the average over 1 in 3 success rate for new sales hires, then continue doing what you are doing. But if you want to improve your odds, then consider using a predictive simulation to improve quality, consistency, and efficiency throughout the process.

For B2B sales organizations needing to minimize the risk of bad hires and move fast to land the best applicants, the Sciolytix Sales Performance Predictor (S2P2) is a next-generation talent assessment that quickly and accurately predicts quota attainment while delivering an engaging, differentiated experience for candidates.

Traditional hiring assessments are usually better than gut instinct, but like any tests, candidates hate taking them. Furthermore, traditional assessments only predict potential and not performance. S2P2 puts candidates into realistic selling situations with 3D avatar simulations, scores their interactions with virtual prospects, and through AI, predicts their expected quota attainment. 

S2P2 gives your managers insight to avoid bad hiring decisions, improves hiring objectivity and consistency, and shows candidates you are a forward-thinking company that takes their development seriously. 

Bottom line, we are revolutionizing the way organizations hire, onboard, develop talent, and create a fair hiring process for all. Predictive simulations are the latest enhancement we’re adding to that arsenal of products.


Author: Dario Priolo

Dario brings over 20 years of experience in the sales enablement and talent development industry. He has led marketing and strategy as CMO for leading companies like the Hay Group, Miller Heiman and Profiles International and has been part of 4 successful exits, including his own start-up.