Every Sales Leader is worried about his team’s talent.  Why?  Most sales organizations are carried by the top 20% of the field.  Losing a few key performers can mean you miss the number. The solution is to field a strong team of contributors.  However, finding the right talent is difficult.  One VP recently explained, “If I could get 10 Reps with ‘A’ Player qualities, I would hire them all.  But I’ll probably only be able to find 4 worth hiring”.


Most VPs struggle to hire good candidates.  This is because they seek an almost impossible combination of attributes. VPs want candidates who are:


  • Experienced
  • Skilled
  • Inexpensive


Good luck.  Our advice: pick two. Download our “Ideal Candidate Worksheet” to identify which criteria are most important to you.  It will help you formulate a strategy to attract the talent you need.


Here’s how we would define each of these three components.


  • Skilled: These are the job competencies required for the job.  Most job postings usually get this wrong. Sometimes it’s a laundry list so long that nobody could possibly qualify. At worst, it’s a regurgitation of C-Suite corporate initiatives unrelated to the sales role. One sales posting we saw had the skill of “Teamwork” listed.  We did a quick assessment of their current “A” Players.  Most were lone-wolf hunters.  Make sure that if you highlight skills, you’ve identified those most indicative of success.  If you don’t know, conduct a talent assessment of your current staff. Identify the unique qualities that differentiate your thoroughbreds from the field.
  • Experienced: Finding a candidate with experience is usually the top priority for Sales VPs.  We disagree.  Why the discrepancy? Companies hire experience because they want as little ramp up time as possible.  This is because their sales enablement programs fail to sufficiently educate their reps. They can’t afford the lag time of a rep learning by trial and error.   However, by only selecting candidates with significant industry experience, you’re diminishing your talent pool.  Sales VPs with a longer horizon focus on developing their team’s knowledge, not acquiring it.  Otherwise, your just getting someone else’s thinking.  B players spend entire careers moving between companies within an industry.
  • Inexpensive:   Even Fortune 500 and high growth companies struggle to pay top quartile compensation.  Most Sales VPs default to filling the position with a median salary.  There are two problems with this approach: 1) Top reps expect to be paid like to top reps.  2) With smaller, less established companies, reps demand a risk premium. Offer average compensation, you’ll get average talent.  How do you mitigate this? Download our “Ideal Candidate worksheet” to attract top players without the high price tag.



Finding high talent sales reps is difficult.  Sales VPs that focus on skilled, experienced, cheap reps will perpetually struggle.  Instead, formulate a strategy to grow your long term talent.  An acquisition strategy solely focused on next quarter’s goal sacrifices consistent growth for expensive free-agents. Build the skill and knowledge programs your new hires need to be successful.  Your results may not come in quarter.  But they will be sustainable.  Download our “Ideal Candidate Worksheet” to get started.