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How to Hire Business Development Professionals - A Sales Recruiter's Advice (Part 3)

Time for the final 3 points of our series on how to improve your hiring process and create your Rockstar Sales team:

3. Re-Evaluate. Do you Really Need a Sales Professional with Direct Industry Experience? Expand Your Candidate Pool.

Many business owners and managers make industry experience the top qualifier while reviewing a sales resume. While industry experience is a plus, it is not a cure all approach.

Here’s why:

You're looking for a candidate tasked with generating new business opportunities for your company. Whether through cold calling or other methods you are looking for someone who can open doors.

This embodies a much different skill set than simply understanding your industry. An organized sales professional who systematically attacks leads and brings opportunities to the table is valuable, period. Regardless of prior industry experience.

Think about it this way. Maybe you find a candidate who has worked for 3 of your competitors. This could be great if they have decent tenure and/or good reasons for transitioning to a new company. But, it would be more important to determine their success in your industry. If they had 3 opportunities to be successful but fell short, it may be unlikely that they can be successful in your industry. At the end of the day, you are looking for general sales performance as a primary indicator of future success.

Ask yourself, do you really need your sales staff to have a deep understanding of the technical aspects of your business? When defining your sales message to prospects, think about who and how you are selling your products and services.

Most prospects, whether business owners or managers, want to know the benefits of your product or service: how it is better than a current solution they have, how they can cut costs, or expand their business.

Only once they understand the value and benefits of your business offerings are they generally interested in hearing the more technical components. Technical staff members should likely handle the deeply technical components of your services, not the business development team.

Sales candidates generally don’t need to be deeply technical to have a high-level business discussion.

This will allow you to focus on a candidate’s sales performance, which is much more indicative of sales abilities and useful for determining future success.

SecureVision how to hire business development candidates

4. Have a Solid Recruiting Process that Moves Fast. Don’t Lose a Top Producing Sales Candidate to a Competitor.

If you are waiting on a background check or drug test to present a candidate with an offer, consider presenting the chosen candidate an offer that is contingent upon completion of a successful background check and drug test.

Top performing sales staff are hard to find. Often, when a good sales candidate begins interviewing for a new position he/she will get scooped up by a competitor within a week’s time. So when you do find a good sales candidate, remember that they have multiple opportunities on the table.

Don’t cut corners. Develop a method that works for you but that moves fast. Otherwise you may be stuck with candidates that aren’t receiving traction in your industry.

5. Ask for the Sales Candidate’s W2, 1099, or Pay Stub to Provide Assurance of Last Year’s Earnings.

As a business owner or hiring manager you need to ask for proof of income for the same reason that you proceed with a background check and, potentially, a drug test.

If there is a discrepancy between the compensation the candidate initially presented to you and their W2, a delay game will likely ensue with the candidate’s submission of proof of income.

Requesting proof of income will help ensure that only honest candidates move forward in your interview process. If your first-round interview is brief, you may want to wait until the candidate has a solid understanding of your company and it’s opening so that they can feel comfortable providing you their proof of income.

If they play the delay game for too long, and don’t provide any W2, 1099, or pay stub, you may want to consider moving on to another candidate.

Next Steps

Thanks for reading! We look forward to your thoughts on this series so feel free to comment and let us know what you think.

For additional insight on how you can refine your recruiting process, drop us a line here: and we'll be in touch really soon!

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