difficult to find and hire good salespeopleThe economy is improving. Job creation is increasing but unemployment remains high.

So why is it so difficult to find and hire good salespeople?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor statistics (BLS), in May 2010 there were over 13 million wage and salary sales workers in the United States. The BLS also stated the number of sales jobs will grow at a rate of 7% to 13% over the next nine years, while the number of sales candidates ages 25 to 40 entering the work force will grow at less than 1%.  Finding, hiring and retaining good salespeople will become increasing difficult as time progresses.

As the economy grows and companies increase sales positions, recruiting will be one of the toughest challenges for business leaders.   No longer can you post a help wanted ad and have talented reps show up at your door.   In fact, no one may show up at your door. College-educated sales professionals with several years experience are in high demand, and most of those reps are already working.   Businesses of all sizes will be fighting for those that are available.  What has changed?  Why is it so difficult to find and hire good sales people?

Underlying Causes:

  1. Fresh graduates are less likely to join the sales profession.  Lackluster classes in sales and marketing, combined with negative stereotypes of salespeople are turning new graduates away from this profession.
  2. Unhealthy sales environment.  With the high expectations and stresses of many sales jobs, junior salespeople drop out and change careers.
  3. Not investing in sales teams.  Poor training, and a lack of career advancement, sales culture and salary, has created less than desirable sales professionals in the market.
  4. Good salespeople are employed and difficult to headhunt.  Managers take care of top performers and top performers are hesitant to leave their client portfolio (and income).

How to Find Talent:

  1. Review the recruiting budget and be prepared to pay more to find top sales performers.
  2. Consider utilizing recruiting sources to reach as many qualified candidates as possible.
  3. Protect what you already have!  When resources are tight competitors will offer your staff more money, better benefits and opportunity.  Don’t get poached!
  4. Design a recruiting and retention plan.  Protect yourself from the high cost of sales attrition.

The economy is improving and in order to maximize opportunities you need a top-notch team ready to sell.   Soon the marketplace will be flooded with available sales jobs and less than ideal candidates to fill the positions.   Build your pipeline now in order to maximize growth.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Eliot Burdett

CEO at Peak Sales Recruiting
Before Peak, Eliot spent more than 20 years building and leading companies, where he took the lead in recruiting and managing high performance sales teams. He co-founded Ventrada Systems (mobile applications) and GlobalX (e-commerce software). He was also Vice President of Sales for PointShot Wireless.

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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