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How to Recruit for B2B Outside Sales Positions

How to recruit people for b2b outside sales rep jobsAlthough economic analysts tell us the hiring candidate pool is overflowing right now due to the recent recession, I still think it’s a challenge to hire the right person for a business-to-business outside sales representative position.

In our industry, copiers and printers are more than just office equipment, they are technology solutions that improve business workflow. An outside sales rep needs to not only be assertive, personable and motivated, he or she also needs to have a strong understanding of the technical products and software we offer. It requires just the right fit.

If you’re in the process of recruiting for an outside sales position in your industry, here are three sources of potential candidates I recommend trying:

People You Know

If you’ve been in an industry for a decade or more, then you probably know at least a few (or probably many) colleagues in your industry or related ones. You may even be good friends with some of them. This is the most logical place to start when you’re recruiting for a sales position. The chances of finding a good fit among this group are better than average.

Characteristics of those who may be interested in a new position include:

  • Those who are unhappy in their current position or locked into a smaller earning potential. A salary plus commission and bonuses can be very appealing to some.
  • Those who want to get more in-depth with the kind of technology you offer or are excited by working in a field where things change frequently.
  • Those who might enjoy the work environment you offer, whether the selling point is flexibility, family atmosphere or the latest tools of the trade.

People Your Employees Know

Another great source of job candidate referrals may come from your current employees. This is based on the same principle as my first recommendation. When you know someone, you not only have a good idea about personality, work habits, knowledge, etc., you also have a vested interest in his or her success.

At Copeco, we welcome employee referrals for our open job positions. If we hire, train and then retain someone an employee suggested, we’ll give the referring employee a bonus.

People You Connect with via Agencies, Ads and Websites

I list this option last because it requires the highest time investment and sometimes nets the lowest return. That’s because you have to wade through a pile of resumes from candidates who:

  • May be overqualified or underqualified
  • May not have the right personality for the job (which is pretty tough to tell just based on a résumé)
  • May not have the right experience for the job

Afterwards, there needs to be a screening interview and several in-person interviews to gather multiple opinions about the candidate. And, although you should always have candidates go through some type of interview process (whether you know them or not), the agency referral is usually the complete unknown.

Keep the Pool Filled

However, sometimes even the most promising candidate doesn’t work out. You usually know if a person is the right fit within the first week of training or on-the-job interaction. So, just in case your first choice doesn’t work out, be sure to retain your list of potential candidates so you can seamlessly continue your search.