The State of Sales Hiring Survey Reveals 3 Acceptances for Every 100 Applicants and How to Balance Hiring Speed with Quality

As a sales leader, you’ve probably felt the pain of open sales positions and the emptiness of uncovered accounts and neglected opportunities. Open positions and bad hires are your worst nightmare, and the great resignation mean war for sales talent is becoming even more intense. 

Our recent State of Sales Hiring Survey reveals that filling 3 positions will require about 100 applicants, and it can take weeks or even months to get these applicants. On average it takes 5 months to fill and onboard a new rep and then another 6 months to ramp them to full productivity. Factor in some PTO ad holidays and we’re talking nearly a full year!  

As we’ve said time and again, sales leaders face mounting pressure to hire fast and hire well. While these are opposing objectives, trust us that achieving both is possible, albeit with some well-timed juggling. Naturally, this begs the question of how to balance hiring speed with quality.

As part of our joint survey conducted with SellingPower® to identify challenges and best practices in sales hiring, we asked survey participants for suggestions to reduce time to hire while also improving quality of hire. To gain the most comprehensive insight possible, we surveyed sales leaders, recruiters, and sales reps to better understand their unique — and at times opposing — perceptions, expectations, and preferences.

Below is a summary of what they told us:

  1. Always be building your applicant pool. Tap non-traditional candidate sources and assess as many as possible upfront to determine who has sales aptitude and the effort required to onboard to full production.
  2. “Lean-out” your hiring process, removing unnecessary steps and duplicate information entry. When possible, dedicate recruiters to focus only on sales hiring or develop this area as a specialization. 
  3. Ensure the job posting is not overly restrictive, causing potentially qualified candidates not to apply. If a 4-year degree is not necessary, then do not include it. Be very careful to use inclusive language. Show that you are willing to be flexible and that you offer training to encourage non-traditional candidates to apply.
  4. Use a valid, EEOC-compliant assessment early in the process to screen-out candidates with the lowest potential for sales success. Rank-order candidates and provide insight into candidate strengths and weaknesses.
  5. Ensure hiring managers are properly trained to interview candidates and to use assessment reports to use interview time most effectively.
  6. Know in advance who you need in the interview process and be sure they can participate. When possible, consider a panel interview.
  7. Don’t delay your offer. A great candidate will probably not wait longer than two weeks before giving up on you.
  8. Move quickly on post-offer due diligence such as background checks, drug screens, and other items. Eliminate non-relevant steps when necessary.

Download the full survey report here!

What are you doing to improve your sales hiring 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.

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