Why your B2B sales recruitment tactics needs to stand out from the pack [Part 1]

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Tech companies are snapping up B2B sales professionals, which has created a demand that’s just not being met. In turn, these companies aren’t meeting their potential for growth.

According to a recent report in The Business Journals, technical sales and sales management positions have always been hard to fill. With the enterprise tech market heating up, demand for sales talent will only increase in the years to come.

But a sales expert argued that there are lots of accomplished sales professionals out there. It’s just that to find them – and to maximize the company’s potential – human resources department heads need to change their recruitment tactics.

An international sales trainer at Forrest Performance Group, Chad Sanschagrin travels the world to speak to large organizations about how to achieve more sales. He estimates that he works with 7,000 sales professionals from around the world annually. Despite the growing demand for sales talent, he’s always astounded by the number of excellent sales professionals with proven track records in B2C who say that they can’t break into B2B due to the lack of B2B sales experience.

“Companies are not seeing the gold mine of sales professionals,” Sanschagrin told B2B News Network. “There’s not a shortage of talent out there. Companies are just not looking in the right places.”

There’s a false belief that B2B sales is harder than B2C, he said. “We make B2B sound so difficult, but there’s not much difference – in both cases, you’re selling to a person.”

‘There is a surplus of talent out there’

The problem, he said, is that B2B companies are looking for perfect resumes.

“If they stopped looking for these perfect resumes with past B2B experience, they would find so many great candidates. There is a surplus of talent out there. Often, the biggest chokehold is the CEO who refuses to operate out of the way they always do. In order to get the best employees for the job, a company might have to make complete paradigm shift,” said Sanschagrin.

What should be the next steps? First, companies need to stop looking for the person with the most education or product knowledge. They should start looking for the characteristics that they want in their salespeople.

Chad Sanschagrin
Chad Sanschagrin

“You can teach anyone product knowledge,” he said. “The sales professionals who succeed are not necessarily the ones that have the most product knowledge, but the ones that believe that they are responsible for their own success,” Sanschagrin added. “They know sales is about passing certainty from one person to another, a little bit of rapport and a little bit of education.”

Instead of looking exclusively at resumes, Sanschagrin suggested that B2B companies put potential hires through simulation exercises to see how they would handle a situation.

Although moving from B2C sales to B2B sales can be challenging, it’s a worthwhile leap for many.

“When you do B2C sales, you get a direct view of the end user and see how it improves their lives. You get immediate emotional satisfaction,” Sanschagrin noted. “In B2B, you get to affect the masses. It’s an opportunity to further your reach and improve more lives on a greater scale.”

For part 2 of our report into B2B careers, look out for Derek Handova’s column next week on the need to hire top talent

Flickr photo via Creative Commons

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Tracey Tong

Tracey Tong

Tracey Tong is an award-winning journalist with over 15 years in newspapers and communications. She is a former managing editor at Metro News and has contributed stories on business, politics, technology, science, healthcare and the arts to dozens of publications all over North America. The Burlington native currently makes her home in Ottawa. Find her on Twitter @TraceyTong
Tracey Tong

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