When we launched Peak Sales Recruiting many years ago, we looked at the market and recognized the under served need for companies to recruit high achieving sales people. While it was overly common at the time for recruiting companies to specialize their services outside of a geographical region, we saw an even more acute need for B2B companies to recruit and hire top performing sales people.
Over the years, Peak Sales has been engaged in thousands of successful B2B sales recruiting searches. Those outside the sales profession might wonder why the business to business (B2B) matters. Aren’t all sales the same? Aren’t B2B sales the same as B2C? Hardly.
There is a stark contrast between B2C and B2B sales and consequently, the sales recruiting techniques are very different.
First, lets take a look at the differences between the two types of sales and how this impacts the selling activity.
Now, lets contrast the differences we typically see in the most successful B2C and B2B sales people:
Summarizing to this point – in many cases, B2B sales requires a more sophisticated person with a higher level of training who can have a larger impact on company profits and success, and consequently who commands a higher level of compensation. This distinction has an enormous impact on how companies approach sales recruiting.
Need for a Strong Sales Hiring Track Record – since each sales person involves a high investment in recruiting and training, combined with the fact that they are responsible for generating significant sales as well as managing important customer relationships, the cost of a failed hire is relatively large. Failed sales hires can have a devastating effect on sales numbers, sales force costs, company reputation and customer relationships and in turn, employers need to ensure that their sales recruiting and hiring processes select the right candidates.
Advanced Candidate Assessment Techniques – The complex set of tangible skills and intangible traits required to make B2B sales people successful are not always obvious or easy to measure and assess. An objective assessment process combined with advanced assessment techniques and background checks are necessary to properly determine whether a salesperson has the necessary traits in sufficient levels to be successful in each unique selling environment.
Extensive Searches – The unique demands of different selling environments mean that there is often a smaller pool of potential candidates from which to hire for each open sales position. Furthermore, the best sales people are employed, not actively seeking new employment positions, and not easily accessible. Employers must have a strong recruiting engine and be creative in order to get exposure to the consistently high achieving sales professionals that also possess the right domain knowledge skills and experience.
Careers Matter – becoming a consistent and high achieving B2B sales person requires time, patience and commitment. Those sales people that have put in the time to achieve success are less likely to change employers unless the career opportunity is legitimate and compelling. In order to attract the best B2B sales talent, employers need to ensure that they are not only an employer of choice, but also offer at or above market compensation and robust careers.
To your B2B sales hiring success!
Eliot received his B. Comm. from Carleton University and has been honored as a Top 40 Under 40 Award winner.
He co-authored Sales Recruiting 2.0, How to Find Top Performing Sales People, Fast and provides regular insights on sales team management and hiring on the Peak Sales Recruiting Blog.
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