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How to attract great sales talent during this imminent talent shortage

At a time when 69% of companies are reporting talent shortages and difficulty hiring, and as industries search for more and more help as they bounce back from the worst of the pandemic, the gap between talent supply and talent demand is getting worryingly large.

As a profession in demand across almost every industry, but in which the best can significantly outperform the rest, the sales talent shortage is one of the most acute.

While this might seem like a dire situation for any business embarking on the sales hiring process, it may in fact present an opportunity. If you’re able to attract the limited amount of top sales talent, you’ll have an even greater chance than usual to get ahead, as you’ll also be depriving your competitors of the best.

In this blog we’ll take a look at five smart strategies to attract great salespeople (and get an edge over competitors), even when the talent cupboard is looking bare.

Do you need to attract talent at all?

What if your next great salesperson is sitting right under your nose? It could be that a current employee was born to sell but is wasting their talent driving a forklift or chasing overdue accounts.

Consider promoting or transitioning a worker you feel has a sales streak. The salesperson with the personable, charismatic and extroverted personality is a cliché for a reason, and is quite easy to spot, but other temperaments can be equally effective – in sales it’s less about your character than how you use it. Introverts can be excellent salespeople if they play to their strengths.

The most effective way to identify your next great salesperson is to simply ask. If someone is eager to sell, more than half the battle is won. The rest is teachable.

A spot of one-upmanship

The sales talent shortage means we’re in a candidate-driven talent market where top salespeople can choose from a wealth of job opportunities. You need to ensure you’re the best possible option. Happily, there’s a simple way to do just that: check what your competitors are doing.

Before you put up your own job ad, step into the shoes of your ideal candidate and browse the job boards. What are your competitors offering potential employees? How do they present their open role? Where are they advertising it? Make a note of all the best bits, then do them better.

Get in front of the right eyes

Top talent is more likely to choose your role if they know who you are. While building your employer brand is a long-term play, it’s an increasingly important one. If a salesperson recognises your name, if they’ve heard good things about your brand, or better, if they’ve had a great firsthand experience with it, you’ll be far more likely to win their services.

How do you get in front of the right audience? Get active on LinkedIn, joining and contributing to groups built for sales professionals. Sponsor an industry event or consider hosting your own. Take content marketing seriously, blogging or podcasting on topics that resonate with the sort of candidate you want to attract.

Expand your talent pool with remote work

Offering new employees the opportunity to work remotely has become far more common since the beginning of the pandemic. It is often viewed as something done in the interests of the worker, allowing them to skip the commute and to redress imbalance in their personal and professional lives. But the truth is that remote work can be in the best interests of the company too.

Not only can you save on expensive office space, you can also seriously expand your talent horizons. Your sales hiring search is no longer limited to your city or surrounding suburbs – you can hire talent wherever it might be, from interstate to overseas. In effect, the decision to offer truly remote work sees the available talent pool grow instantly and (almost) infinitely.

Implement incentives for referrals

Often there’s no more effective recruiter than those found sitting at the other desks in your office. The personal and professional networks of your team members can prove a happy hunting ground for new sales talent.

People trust people. If a top salesperson has a friend who says ‘my company is hiring and I think you’d be a great fit’, such a personal recommendation is far more likely to reel in that talented fish. Encourage referrals with incentives, offering a reward to anyone whose tipoff ends in a hire. This doesn’t necessarily have to be cash – feel free to get creative.

Sales hiring has rarely been as difficult as it is right now. But while the sales talent shortage is very real, these five strategies can go a long way to minimising its effects.

And by adding in a dash of expert help from a team like bta Sales, your hunt for sales talent could be far easier than market conditions suggest. Call our friendly team today!