When trying to attract top sales talent to your company, offering competitive compensation is critical. This usually means offering an achievable total compensation which is at or above what other competing employers are prepared to offer the sales professional(s) you are seeking to hire.
The definition of competitive compensation gets a little blurry when hiring someone from outside your sector. Different sectors often have completely different pay scales and compensation structures. For instance reps selling enterprise software often receive relatively large base salaries with a multiple 6 figure total income at target, and on the other hand, selling office document management solutions often involves a full commission position with only a small percentage of reps in the market making above 6 figures. What might seem like an average compensation to a senior enterprise rep would be a very high compensation to a senior office solutions rep and while it would be unusual for an enterprise software company to hire from outside its sector, it certainly happens.
In this case, the issue of paying market is set aside as the enterprise software company could pay under market to attract a sales person from another sector that typically pays less. That is…as long as the candidate has no other suitors and it is important to keep in mind that once a person enters a new sector, they are going to ultimately learn what is “market” compensation. The employer has the advantage of insight in the short term and may elect to elects to pay the new rep less than what other top reps in the industry are paid, but once the rep realizes what they are worth, and especially if they are successful, they may decide that they are being under paid and seek opportunities elsewhere.
At Peak we want our customer’s reps to be motivated and to be consistent and reliable producers so we help our customers create win-win relationships with sales staff. When it comes to hiring candidates from outside the employer’s sector, we always advise taking a good look at how valuable the rep will be to the company, be transparent in the negotiations and pay them fairly which means paying them the same rate as other reps with the same experience and output. There is nothing worse than working hard to find rare and great sales talent and then losing it.
To your success!
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles | freedigitalphotos.net
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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