How to attract top sales talent in the post-pandemic marketplace
Dynamic, talented sales reps are always in high demand. But now, in the midst of the Great Resignation, companies have a unique opportunity to attract new sales associates in search of greener employment pastures.
However, with this influx of talent on the job market also comes competition to secure the right candidate before another business does.
According to Jobvite’s 2021 Recruiter Nation Report, 70 percent of available positions are filled in less than 30 days. On the other hand, nearly 55 percent of recruiters have seen candidates reject an offer due to a lack of flexibility or the ability to work remotely.
Since many job seekers can be more selective right now, it’s crucial to make sure what you have to offer aligns with the priorities of top candidates. Here are five actionable ways to attract the kind of sales talent you want to hire in the post-pandemic marketplace.
Make remote or hybrid work an option
The global WFH transition in 2020 has had two major outcomes. First, it’s demonstrated that not only is remote work possible, but it can also increase productivity. Second, after getting to experience work-from-home life for an extended period of time, employees have come to prefer remote work options.
Consider the numbers. According to a recent Gallup survey, 91 percent of U.S. workers who transitioned to remote in the pandemic want to continue doing so in some capacity, and 54 percent want to split their time between home and the office. Not only that, the survey also shows that three in 10 employees will seek a job elsewhere if remote or hybrid work is not an option.
So in order to recruit new sales talent—and retain existing team members—it’s important to offer the flexibility that workers demand with hybrid or remote sales positions. But there are benefits as well for sales teams: You’re not just limited to hiring local talent anymore. In fact, you can create a diverse team of skilled sales reps from around the country, or even the world.
Of course, in a hybrid or fully remote model, you’ll have to work harder to foster connection and collaboration. But the payoffs are worth it—your retention rates will increase, and your talent pool will grow. If you’re looking for some tips on how to achieve this, be sure to read about Close’s transition to a fully remote team back in 2014.
Retool your culture for hybrid work
While rates of loneliness and isolation have increased as a result of the pandemic, workplace loneliness has actually been growing for a long time, points out organizational psychologist Candace Noonan Hadley in the Harvard Business Review.
“Without a new approach to facilitating relationships at work, employee isolation and disconnection will continue to grow—regardless of whether people are back in the office,” she writes. “The post-pandemic transition provides the perfect opportunity to put the structures and rewards in place to facilitate a more connected workforce.”
While offering remote or hybrid work options is essential, make sure to balance this with a culture that promotes team camaraderie and the well-being of your sales associates.
Close attributes the success of their remote team culture to two core principles—care and communication: They care about and invest in the well-being of their employees and they maintain transparency by promoting over-communication.
Take a look at your sales team and the company as a whole and see what changes you can implement in order to foster a culture that will stand out from others. Here are a few ideas for improving your culture from the communication experts at 4PSA:
- Reimagine your meetings. Be respectful of everyone’s time by limiting the size of each meeting to 5–9 participants—invite just the key stakeholders. Poll team members for their ideas on how to improve meetings. Schedule meeting-free time blocks, so that your team can focus on work and take a rest from Zoom.
- Empower your sales managers. Give your middle-management leaders the agency to act on new ideas or solutions from their direct reports. When managers are actually able to implement the feedback they receive, they’ll be more open to listening to their employees. This in turn will make your sales associates feel more engaged.
- Encourage regular breaks. Make sure your sales staff are taking their lunch breaks and normalize periodic breathers during the workday. This will prevent burnout and increase job satisfaction.
- Celebrate the contributions of your sales reps. Your organization would not function as successfully without their hard work, so make it a point to express your appreciation on a regular basis. Even a simple “thank you” for their completion of a task or their commitment to a goal will show that you value them.
Vocalize your mission or higher purpose
According to research from Naina Dhingra on behalf of McKinsey, 70 percent of the modern workforce defines their purpose in terms of their job. Millennial and Gen Z employees are even more prone to view their work as a life calling. “So what that means is that people are looking for opportunities in the work they do day-to-day to be actually contributing to what they believe their purpose is,” Dhingra says.
The takeaway for sales leaders is to ensure the higher purpose of your organization is communicated to associates so they can understand the positive impact of their work.
For example, on their About page, Close expresses its organizational mission:
“Our vision was to build the sales infrastructure necessary to empower companies around the world to scale their sales efforts. Existing solutions seemed to be focused on turning sales professionals into data entry specialists. None of them showed any understanding of the needs of a sales person when it came to their job and daily workflow. Today, we're 40+ team members from around the world—supporting and coaching thousands of customers to grow every single day.”
Craft your own mission statement to post on your website and share it with all job candidates. Not only will this help you recruit passionate sales talent, but it will also help weed out candidates who aren’t aligned with your mission.
Offer competitive salaries and benefits
As we move into the pandemic, compensation continues to be as hot a topic as ever. According to Payscale's Fair Pay Impact Report, “Employees who are paid below market are overall 49.7% more likely than those who think they're paid at or above market to seek a new job in the next six months.” Additionally, the report states that “those who think they’re paid below market represent around two-third of job seekers.”
In response to these trends, 71% of companies surveyed by Payscale reported that they increased base pay as a strategy to retain their employees in 2021. Additionally, 28% provided tangible benefits or perks and 23% used a retention bonus. In order to stay competitive with other companies, sales leaders should determine if it’s time to increase base pay or provide other compensation perks.
Keep in mind that salary is only one part of a compensation package. Benefits and perks play an important role in both attracting and retaining great sales associates.
As co-founder and CEO of Close writes, “Whether it’s a death in the family or a new addition to it, how you treat your team members during pivotal life moments will dictate how they feel about you, the quality of their work, and whether they stick with you long term.”
Making sure your employees have their needs met with benefits and perks that address the pivotal moments in their lives and their general well-being is vital. This goes well beyond medical, dental, and vision insurance. Consider the following perks to help create work-life balance for your sales associates:
- Maternity and paternity leave
- Childcare services or stipends
- Retirement plans
- Wellness and fitness programs
- Paid vacation and personal time
- Student loan assistance
- Identity theft protection
- Career development education
- Bereavement time off
- Team building retreats
Utilize attractive tools and technology
A robust technology infrastructure is essential for any sales team. However, studies show that an overly complicated tech stack with too many tools and platforms can be a turnoff for the average employee. In fact, 75 percent of HR leaders agree that an increased number of digital touchpoints can cause virtual overload or even burnout, according to recent Gartner data.
Even more concerning, the 2021 State of Work Report from Workfront found that almost 50 percent of employees will consider leaving a job if they’re frustrated with the tech stack. So you’ll need to present candidates with the right digital tools that will enable them to perform their roles with streamlined efficiency. Below are some important tools and platforms you’ll need for your remote sales tech stack:
- Customer relationship management (CRM) software
- Sales and marketing automation software
- Project management software
- Video conferencing software
- Appointment scheduling applications
- Social media selling applications
- Virtual private network (VPN) service
- Sales prospecting, calling and tracking tools
- Data and metrics reporting software
Looking for more must-have tools? Check out this list of 52 top remote sales tools for your team to absolutely crush it. And if you’re looking for a CRM, you’ll definitely want to look into Close’s remote sales CRM platform, which was built specifically for the needs of remote sales teams, offering calling, video, and email capabilities across time zones in one seamless, unified location.
Attract the kind of sales talent you want to hire
In order to attract the candidates you’re looking for, you’ll likely need to make some changes to stay competitive in the eyes of job seekers in the post-pandemic marketplace. The good news is there’s more great talent to choose from than ever, especially if you’re one of the many sales teams that are going remote. And what’s more, the effort you put into making your team more attractive now is likely to pay off in terms of not only great new talent but also high performers who want to stick around well into the future.
Jesse Relkin is the founder and CEO of C-POP Content Marketing based in Tampa Bay, Florida. She has been a freelance writer and marketing professional for more than a decade. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.
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