As we have written about before, top performing B2B sales people want to work for industry leading and highly reputed companies which their chances of success are greatest. Since there is excess demand for the services of top sales people, why wouldn’t they be selective in who they work for? In an Internet dominated world, a key question for employers is how much value the best sales professionals assign to the online reputation of an employer when deciding whether or not to be engaged in their recruiting process? And, what can I, as an employer, do to ensure that our online presence and reputation doesn’t interfere with recruiting efforts?
How much does online reputation matter for employers?
Top sales professionals, whether they are a rep or a sales VP, are passive. They are leaders in their space because they not only hit, but exceed their sales goals year after year. They win deals because they do their due diligence on prospects and don’t waste time; they are efficient. Furthermore, they have excellent compensation packages and are not usually interested in making a move because they are set-up to succeed in their current role. So when trying to attract the best-of-the-best, it is important that you, regardless of your position in the company, ensure your company puts its best foot forwarded when headhunting ‘A’ level sales candidates.
Often, the first exposure a candidate will have with your company is online. Perhaps the candidate will enter the url of your company and check out the website directly. Most likely, candidates will Google the company name to see what top search results are returned. Usually sites like the organization’s LinkedIn company page and Google+ page will be high on the list. But remember how top sales performers do their due diligence, instead of stopping at a basic Google query, they will enter “company X + reviews” or “working at company X”. These searches can return information that will make or break your sales recruiting efforts.
In this day and age, companies that don’t have an exceptional online presence are simply not going to attract A level talent”
-Cameron Herold, Founder of BackPocket COO.
Perhaps the most important detail that candidates look at is, of course, customer reviews. These reviews are arguably the lifeblood for an organization since they are tell-tail factors of whether or not the product or service provided has actually been embraced by the market. Things like business awards, a testimonial page, case studies, and a sizeable social media following (depending on B2B vs B2C organizations) do most of the ‘talking’ about where your organization ranks at the end of the day. Bottom line, if your organization has no ‘proof’ that its deliverable has a fan base, you can forget about attracting the best-of-the-best.
In a close second to customer reviews are employee reviews. Often posted by past employees, but sometimes posted by current ones, online sites like Glassdoor.com, Indeed.com, LinkedIn, and Vault.com provide an avenue for candidates to be armed with a dump truck full of knowledge about their potential employer. While the reviews posted on sites like those listed above are often, and rightfully so, taken with a grain of salt by candidates, their ability to influence should not be underestimated.
Monitor and Develop
Luckily there is a way to fight back, especially against those employees who left with a sour taste in their mouth. It’s simple, world class employers not only showcase their customer’s rave reviews but actually quote some of the things current employees are saying about why they love to work at their company..
Take one of our favorite clients, Thomson’s Online Benefits, for example. Not only do they talk about their “bright, clean, modern and just a little bit different” working space, but they also talk about how keeping their employees healthy and “alleviating those mid-afternoon energy slumps” by providing a “seasonal selection of free fruit in the office.” Furthermore, as you can see in the picture below, they actually showcase their Pay and Benefits awards and have a short Q & A with one of their team members on what it’s like working there.
Show casing awards and the working environment are just a few of the ways your organization can amplify its online attractiveness to ‘A’ level sales talent. Try doing a case study of on one of your reps that has rising up the ranks. In it, be sure to identify what originally attracted the candidate to the organization, how management provided the tools for the candidate to succeed from day one, and how they are now impacting the current working environment. Put it this way, just as sales prospect respond best to the success of others, so do sales candidates.
Another option which Human Resources and your organization’s Marketing department could undertake is to conduct a short, 2-3 minute video interview with the President or CEO where he or she discusses why your organization is a great place to work and make a fantastic living. If you are hiring a sales rep, do a video with the individual who would be managing them too.
Bottom line, in the war for talent, it is worth investing to ensure that your company looks and sounds it’s best online since an active, positive online reputation is one of a firm’s most strategic and valuable assets.
TIP: work with your marketing and PR departments to fine-tune your online presence.
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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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