5 things you need to know about recruiting sales talent

Hiring Sales people in 2022The #1 or #2 issue we hear in all of our 2022 planning sessions this fall is the issue of the difficulty to find and retain talent. 

It is what it is, and we can debate for hours why it's occurring and the surrounding theories of the inflation impact on the economy. but the reality is that...


  • it's here, it's been here for 12 months, and we all see and read about it everywhere.
  • it's real, not a bubble, and it's not going away in 2022; maybe in '23 when the world flattens a bit.
  • this is a fundamental shift in the future of work, what represents "the office" and lifestyle
  • we need people now, onboarded and in place in Q1 if we're going to make out '22 numbers

From all of our 2022 planning sessions, what follows below are five non-prioritized tactics that you might want to think about.  Connect with me at any time, and I can walk you through any of the details, or just be a sounding board for best practices.

1.  Define your culture in human terms

I know of two software companies in the same city in the same general space with roughly the same price points.  Both companies are established, solid brand names, and have good management.  In one, salespeople stay forever, are promoted up and are emotional and protective about the culture of their company.  In the other, their salespeople turn over every 2.5 years.  Considering the fact that it takes six to 18 months to get a B2B salesperson up to full ramp speed where they are consistently meeting quota, this second company has mediocre growth.  

Culture is not about those age-old definitions of dusty mission and vision statements.  Culture today is about the realities of fully embracing what has occurred in 2020 and in 2021 with the virus, with the economy and with our requirements to take care of our employees in human and transparent terms.  Culture is about enabling honest two-way trust  Culture is about enacting clear policies and procedures that are reflective of this new environment and which live at the very core of how we expect our companies to take care of our employees and work with our customers.  Culture is about fundamental trust.  Easy to talk about; difficult to enact.  

2.  Clearly state your WFH policies

Very simply, salespeople are never going to return to a home or regional office!  Ever!  As a result of our December 2020 survey of 1100 B2B salespeople, 100% firmly said "never!" with 18% voicing that they would take lower comp positions with other companies if their own company mandated a return to the office.  Given the overwhelming search for talent, I would expect that that percentage would be much higher now.  

Maybe Tufts alum, Jamie Dimon, CEO of JPMorgan Chase, can get away with mandating strict back to the office policies...since it reflects his own culture, and he has been very clear with what and why that is.  In the vast majority of other B2B companies ranging from giants like Oracle and Microsoft to hundreds of thousands of mid-market companies, 2020 and 2021 have proven the reality that salespeople are more productive and in the reality of internal efficiency and external effectiveness with customers and prospects, they...

  • save two plus hours a day in stressful, non-productive commuting time
  • have 20% more flexibility in meeting their prospect's and customer's schedules
  • have tighter and more frequent interactions with their teams using enhanced technologies 

Whatever you choose to do will obviously reflect your own culture.  Just be crystal clear about your policies and expectations for everyone.  Impossible to do one thing for salespeople and not for marketing or for back-office accounting while other jobs require different decisions about locations and hours.  Just over communicate and be disciplined in your clarity and consistency.

3. Pay Up

We see hundreds of sales comp examples every month.  As a specific example, for BDRs with limited to no experience, my own students who graduated last May started at $65K plus some small bonus.  Today that number is $70K-$75K plus a signing bonus or a stay-put bonus in six months.  Referral bonuses are commonplace, and they always work.  

  • Understand the current base, commission and bonus levels for your geographies.  
  • Be ready to offer more, close the deal and move on
  • Use individual and team-based bonus at the end of 6 and 12 months.
  • Add in small human perks-small moving allowances, pet insurance, gym membership.    

4.  Educate & train

If you want to be competitive, you need to point to existing or future training and certification programs.  For salespeople, consider online group training in Hubspot's sales certification run by a Hubspot partner.  Extraordinary content, facilitated in one-hour a week team sessions, online individually paced learning with formal certifications to hang on the wall of their home offices.  The actual training is very important given the rapid revolution in the world of sales, and the bonding and team interactions are culturally highly impactful!

5.  Manager owns the hire

Every HR team that we are in contact with is already overworked, overstressed and overextended. They have already hired additional full-time recruiters, and they have had a long string of part-time recruiters on speed dial for the last year.  In addition to the standard job fairs, signs on the street, billboards, working with the local town and state authorities, let's not forget the fundamental basic requirement that the individual manager owns the responsibility for the hire and the onboarding.  Absolutely not acceptable to ever here... "HR is working on it..."

A Bonus Add

For a bonus add, make sure that your Linked In and your email signatures are consistent stating the same content about the values and culture of your company and letting everyone know "We're Hiring!"  Simple tactic, and the simplicity of this is that it works all the time!!!

On our website 

at https://www.derbymanagement.com/solution-center/sales-tools,  page down to Section #4, and you will find a series of hiring tool videos


Have a great day selling today!  Enjoy the big leaf peeping weekend.  Color is "pretty good", lots of yellow.

I'm here this AM in Vermont and about ready to go down the dirt road a piece for a breakfast sandwich at the Winhall General Store which btw now doesn't open until 9:00 due to a lack of help.   

Jack Derby, Professor & Sales Coach AN ANYTIME SOUNDING BOARD 

If at any time, you have a need for a confidential sounding board for your 2022 planning process, just connect with me at any time.  Text or email me, and I'll quickly set up a call.  I'm a very good listener, and we can get deep into tactics if you want. Obviously, no cost for a call or two; just an opportunity to listen intently and make a few recommendations based on decades of experience.


Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts. 





Tags: sales enablement, sales tools, how to close sales, improving sales productivity, how to write a sales plan, sales effectivness, writing sales plans, hiring sales people