Attracting the best young sales talent: Biggest recruitment challenges in 2023 (and strategies to overcome them)
Many companies are experiencing difficulties when it comes to attracting top entry-level sales talent. The competition for the best candidates between companies is fierce, and this has forced companies to rethink how they approach talent acquisition. From lengthy hiring processes to small talent pools and vaguely formulated job descriptions, there are various areas in which companies often fall short and negatively impact their ability to acquire quality candidates.
As an experienced sales company that has hired, trained, and outsourced many different Business Development Representatives (BDRs) over the years, we know exactly what challenges companies are dealing with and to work around them.
Here are the biggest challenges in sales recruitment in 2023 and strategies to overcome them:
Table of contents
- Increased competition for top entry-level talent
- Attracting the best of Gen Z and Millennial sales talent
- Ineffective and time-consuming recruitment processes decrease hiring success
- Dealing with a limit talent pool
- How The Linq Group can find your next top sales talent with our BDR Outsourcing Services
- Final thoughts
Increased competition for top entry-level talent
In a competitive recruitment landscape, setting your company apart can be quite challenging. Companies are upping the ante, offering competitive salaries, comprehensive benefits, and attractive perks to attract and retain top sales talent.
Last year, Forbes surveyed over 5.000 tech professionals, and 87% of their respondents said they’re actively considering switching jobs this year. Many are thinking about leaving their current positions “in search of roles that offer better work-life balance and that are more aligned with their values.” Forbes
So, not only is the competition high in acquiring talented professionals, but employers also have to step up their game to keep their most valuable employees in their company.
On top of that, “the war for talent” also extends to the younger generation that is just about to enter the job market. During an interview, Scott Dobroski, Vice President of Indeed.com, said, “Employers across industries are fighting for the same pool of talented entry-level professionals.” Topping the list of the highest in-demand entry-level positions are sales representatives, transportation coordinators, and accounting coordinators.
“Primary reasons for considering switching include a lack of work-life balance and a lack of career advancement opportunities with existing employers.”Forbes
Young professionals are looking for an employer that offers them career opportunities and advancements, strong leadership, an environment that allows them to learn and grow, pay transparency, and fair pay, says Dobroski.
To meet their demands and differentiate your company, you need to understand what your ideal candidates value and tailor your offerings accordingly. This can include flexible work arrangements, mental health support, or unique opportunities to travel. But just like with most things, you should focus on quality over quantity. Instead of presenting a list of perks that isn’t attractive to candidates, start with doing research to find out what your ideal hires truly value.
Here are some strategies to consider when attracting top sales candidates:
- Build a detailed profile of your ideal sales hire – If you know exactly who you are looking for and specify this in the job description, you will attract the best-fitting people AND safe time in the screening and hiring process.
- Offer work-life integration – Again, work-life balance is a big motivator for the younger generations. Rather than following a rigid 9-5 schedule, employees want to go for a walk, pick up their kids from school or take and appointment. While getting their work done. They want flexible hours that fit their needs.
- Use excitement in your job postings – When you read through your job posting, how does it sound from a candidate’s perspective? Does it tell a good story about why your company is such a great place to work at? Empty promises like “we do purpose-driven work” or copy-pasting your mission/vision statements won’t get you far. Describe your company’s unique company culture. In meaningful language. Talk about the things that will make someone WANT to be part of your team (beyond the salary.)
- Integrate employees in your candidate marketing – “Don’t just take my word for it” Telling a good story that comes from a company is one thing, but hearing it from the employees themselves carries even more weight. You can start including first-hand testimonials of your team in your recruitment marketing strategy or use incentives to motivate employees to rate and review your company on websites like Indeed or Glassdoor.
Attracting the best of GenZ and Millennial sales talent
41% of companies say that entry-level positions are the hardest to fill. Especially with quality talent.
The three main reasons why it can be so challenging to find fitting candidates for these positions are:
- Entry-level salaries start low
- Candidates lack the ideal skill set and sales experience recruiters are searching for and
- Young talent often craves authentic, purpose-driven work and is attracted to companies that offer a supportive culture
GenZ and Millennials aren’t looking for “just a job”; they want to be part of something bigger. They want to believe in what they’re selling and need a work culture that aligns with their values. Traditional methods of recruitment often fall short of portraying these elements, leading to a disconnect with younger demographics.
A great way to showcase your company culture is, of course, social media. Candidates want to get to know the team behind the company and the things they do together. Inside and outside of the office.
When it comes to salaries, the best strategy is to do an in-depth analysis of what your competitors are offering for a similar position and then match it. Or, if possible, exceed it.
Now, this isn’t possible for every company, but there are some workarounds that you can consider if your budget doesn’t allow you to raise the pay:
- Offer plenty of room for growth – One of the most important aspects young professionals are looking for in an employer are growth opportunities. In fact, 89% of GenZ and Millennials say that they are extremely motivated to improve their skills.
- Flexible work schedules and remote working opportunities – especially now, after the pandemic, many want to work remotely instead of coming to the office every single day. 60% of Millennials also say that they feel more productive when working from home.
- Again, company culture isn’t just a “nice to have” – 77% of the younger workforce indicated that an open, welcoming, and inclusive company culture that gives them a sense of belonging is one of the most important things they look for in a company.
Regarding finding candidates with the ideal skill set and sales experience – it really comes down to finding diamonds in the rough. Now, this is easier said than done. Applicants for entry-level positions usually have very limited to no sales experience. And singling out the ones that have true potential can be challenging.
In this case, outsourcing companies like The Linq Group can take the sourcing, hiring, and training of your next sales talent off your hands. With a big network of sourcing partners and access to a large talent pool, we make sure to find the right candidates that fit your specific sales environment and needs.
Ineffective and time-consuming recruitment processes decrease hiring success
“The empty desk is more than just a visual reminder of an unfilled role; it’s a constant drain on your sales targets.”
Companies often underestimate the ripple effects of a slow hiring process. On the surface, it’s an operational issue—prolonging the time-to-hire, causing bottlenecks, and hampering productivity.
But if you dig a bit deeper, you will see that a slow recruitment process can be damaging in several ways.
Firstly, extended hiring timelines risk losing top sales talent. In a market where the best candidates are often off the market within three to four weeks, a slow recruitment process can be your downfall. A study by Robert Half discovered that 57% of job seekers lose interest in a job if the hiring process is lengthy. They’re likely juggling multiple offers and won’t wait around for slow-moving companies.
Secondly, the longer a sales position remains vacant, the more revenue you’re potentially missing out on. The empty desk is more than just a visual reminder of an unfilled role; it’s a constant drain on your sales targets.
Lastly, a protracted hiring process can potentially harm your reputation. Glassdoor found that 60% of job seekers have had a bad candidate experience, and 72% of them shared that experience online or with someone directly. This can damage your employer’s brand and deter other potential candidates.
Searching in the wrong places can limit your talent pool
Another challenge that HR departments are facing is identifying the talent they need. Companies are on the hunt for young sales professionals who are adept to digital tools, comfortable with data, and have the soft skills to build meaningful customer relationships. However, finding people who have the right competencies is getting tougher.
And the supply of young sales talent ready to hit the ground running is limited.
Companies started pouring resources into their sales recruitment cycle. With limited results. Part of the problem is that recruiters limit their effort to sourcing candidates from popular talent pools or focusing on traditional hiring criteria like prior sales- or industry experience. This limits a company’s access to the quantity and quality of fitting candidates, increasing overall costs, productivity and time spent.
Here are 4 ways to tackle this challenge:
- Use social media to reach younger demographics: Evaluate the effectiveness of the places you search for candidates, and consider increasing your sourcing areas. Especially when it comes to attracting GenZ and Millennials -social media is your best friend: Advertise where your ideal candidates are active. Also, look through your existing followers and people who actively engage with you content. Is there any talent that is already familiar and excited about your company? Use this as an opportunity to get in touch with them.
- Hire interns or introduce a graduate program: Offering internships to students or recent graduates is an effective way to attract young talent and give them a taste of a sales career. They get hands-on experience, and you get a pipeline of potential hires who are already familiar with your company and culture.
“ Sales leaders should stop disqualifying candidates who lack sales experience”Gartner
- Revisit your job description: Many entry-level job descriptions are putting too much focus on candidates who have prior sales experience instead of focusing on critical key competencies. Gartner found that, reducing the emphasis on previous industry experience increased the hiring success rate from 50% to 75-80%. Especially candidates who have strong soft skills like good communication, problem solving, teamwork, and empathy can excel in sales positions, even without having had any exposure to the sales world.
- Consider staffing agencies or outsourcing services: Companies, like The Linq Group, have the right expertise and access to resources that allow them to find the right candidates for you. This way, you can save time and money when looking for your next entry-level sales talent.
How The Linq Group can help you find your next top sales talent
With our BDR Outsourcing Services, we find and train the right sales talent for your team – quickly and cost-effectively.
With our knowledge and extensive network of experienced sourcing partners, we can make sure to find the best candidate that fits your specific needs. We filter through a large talent pool to identify the talent with the highest potential and have an initial conversation with them. Only if they check all the boxes, they will be introduced to you.
But we don’t just stop after an offer has been made. We are dedicated to deliver the best talent, trained on all the most important sales techniques and industry-specific knowledge so they will contribute to hitting your sales targets from day one. Through our intensive, expert-led training program, your new BDR receives a well-rounded sales foundation to help them go into their new role with confidence and ease.
Finding and hiring top-tier talent can be time-consuming and frustrating. But with The Linq Group BDR Outsourcing Services, we can help you overcome each one of these hurdles:
- We find the right talent that fits your specific sales environment – Some job openings might be relevant to a lot of candidates who have the right skillset. But not every candidate is the right match for your company or specific sales environment. That’s why it’s important to us to learn everything we can about your sales department, your team, and your company culture to make sure we can create the right BDR profile and find the best fitting candidate for you.
- We have access to an extensive talent pool through our sourcing partners – Once we craft the profile of your ideal hire, we share it with our large network of experienced sourcing partners. Our access to a large talent pool, combined with candidate-facing marketing materials, allow us to find the right talent for your specific needs and get them excited about the possibility of working for you.
- Add a fully-trained BDR to your sales team – During the first 6 weeks, your new BDR will spend about 3-4 days per week at The Linq Group office, where we will train them on the most important sales techniques. In addition to that, your new hire will be trained on industry-specific modules and knowledge that you provided us. So after the training, they can hit the ground running.
- Our program gives candidates a realistic job preview – We help young talent understand (and give them a taste) of real-world sales scenarios to help enhance their resilience, strategic thinking skills, sales knowledge, and self-confidence. By experiencing common sales challenges like difficult prospects or objections, we can prevent job shock. This way, we reduce the risk of early resignation and help BDRs go into their new position with confidence and focus.
We take the lead in finding and training your new BDR. You ask, we deliver.
Recruiters are sitting at the intersection of potential candidates and employers. In this position, it can become difficult to find the right balance and walk the fine line of appeasing both sides.
On top of that, talent shortage, limited talent pools, and intense competition between companies is adding to these obstacles.
Partnering with an outsourcing company like The Linq Group will help you cut the hiring process short and find your new, fully-trained BDR for your sales team. Quickly and cost-effectively.
Want to learn more about our BDR Outsourcing Services? Find an overview of our process here, or directly get in contact with our experts to talk about how we can help you in finding the next rainmaker for your sales department.