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About This Episode
In the tech circles I run in, it seems like every leader I’ve spoken with has shared the same problem:
Finding great talent to fill their sales teams.
And from what I can tell, this isn’t just a problem in tech sales. It’s everywhere. Everyone wants to keep their hiring funnel overflowing, but only a few manage it.
The good news is the talent pool hasn’t dried up. They’re out there and you can find them.
He went over:
- Why a “network-first” attitude is so important
- Why your company should be focused on more than your cool product
- How thinking outside the box can land you better talent
- How to find potential in people (and why you should)
Let’s take a closer look at Tim’s advice.
Have a “network-first” attitude
Seeking out the best salespeople means you never stop hunting. It also means you need to turn to your network and ask people who you should be speaking to.
Everyone reading this probably already knows the power of leveraging their network. Maybe it’s how you got your job, met your spouse or just scored a reservation at that cool, exclusive restaurant you always wanted to try.
But if you want to call upon your network to maintain a steady stream of talent, you need to make sure you are also maintaining your network for the long-term.
Instead of asking what your network can do for you, ask what you can do for your network. Kennedy said that… sort of.
So, while you should definitely be asking people who you should sit down with, you should find people to sit with them, too.
Maybe you find a great candidate who isn’t a fit for your organization but would excel elsewhere. Maybe you aren’t hiring right now. You will still need help someday and reciprocity is a powerful thing.
Even if it doesn’t get you that perfect new hire the next time you need one, you’ll still be doing a good thing.
And it doesn’t hurt to show the world your values.
Focus on more than the product (and ditch the buzzwords)
If you aren’t attracting the right kind of talent, maybe you’re sending the wrong message about who you are or what your business stands for. Worse yet, you may not be communicating any values at all.
A mission-driven organization will attract more, higher-quality candidates.
But all too often, a company’s website is more focused on how cool their product is instead of their brand.
Even worse, websites stuffed with buzzwords about machine learning and riddled with annoying pop-ups offering demos aren’t just failing to convey values, they’re failing to present value to the buyer.
If even the buyer doesn’t see value in the company, why would a potential employee?
If you focus on who you are as a company and include the product or service along the way, you kill two birds with one stone. The world sees both your values and the value you offer.
In the end, if your company lives and breathes a great set of values, it doesn’t just attract the best talent, it keeps the awesome talent it already has.
So, make that 3 birds…
Keep it simple
The other problem with too many buzzwords or convoluted value propositions is they might just confuse the customer — and potential employees — as to what you even do.
A good rule of thumb: If you can’t explain what your company does to your grandparents and have them understand, then you’ve already lost.
The value you offer should be so clear anyone hearing it gets it — whether they’re in the industry or not.
Hire outside the box (and outside office referrals)
Maybe you have a different problem. You are bringing in great candidates, but they become not-so-great employees.
In that case, your hiring process needs to improve.
A common hiring trap people fall into is thinking every new hire needs a strong background in a particular market.
In reality, candidates with diverse sales backgrounds often end up working harder and with more passion than candidates seasoned in your market, who usually have less to prove.
And new hires aren’t showing up with a full Rolodex these days, right?
Including diverse viewpoints is important. It’s how you fill any gaps your team might have in skill, knowledge or ability.
While we’re on the topic of diversity: Stop relying solely on in-office referrals for candidates!
The quickest path to a homogenized frat-culture on a team is to only use internal references. They’ll bring in clones of themselves, who in turn will bring in more clones and perpetuate the cycle.
While an army of clones could be good for a sci-fi supervillain, it makes a sales team pretty off-putting for anyone who doesn’t see themselves in the type of clique you’ve created.
See the potential in people
A rigid focus on a particular type of background can backfire in other ways, too.
If you only try to hire people who have decades of experience doing the exact same thing you’re doing, they might be stuck in their ways and less able to adapt.
Someone who isn’t perfect, but demonstrates potential is always preferable to someone who seems to already know everything.
Chances are, they don’t. And when it comes time to teach them, they might not be able to learn new tricks.
Want something actionable you can use to discover a candidate’s potential?
Instead of asking them to do some tedious mock presentation, try running them through a scenario where you present them with a scene, an obstacle and then role play the solution with them.
Give them feedback on their performance, then repeat the process with a different, similar, scenario.
How did they adjust to your feedback?
Sometimes, the best candidate isn’t the one who has already learned everything, it’s the one who can learn anything.