With hiring markets continuing to pick up, ambitious salespeople across a number of industries are likely to be alerted to the increasing number of job opportunities available to them. This means that employers now need to do much more to differentiate themselves in order to attract the very best talent. Obviously, salary and attractive commission rates go a long way, but what other factors should you be looking for in an employer?
Firstly, firms will struggle to hire any effective salesperson without offering an attractive salary and commission package – that’s a necessity in this profession – and you and I both know there’s no way you’d join a company if you weren’t going to be paid well. Firms that offer lucrative rates and the potential to earn considerably more further down the line aren’t going to be short of applications. However, money alone rarely cuts it in the modern working world and you should be looking for additional factors from your employer.
One of these is a detailed onboarding programme. Only the most ineffective and irresponsible employer would hire a salesperson, give them their territory and then let them go off on their own without a thorough rundown of the organisation, its brand and how it engages with its clients and customers. Even experienced professionals will require some sort of briefing before going out into the open market and if you don’t receive one or don’t have a proper understanding of the company brand, you’re not going to be able to perform effectively in your job.
The next factor is a tricky one – not everyone likes being measured but it’s hard to deny that the most effective sales employers are those that quantify their employees’ performance. While you may not have considered actively seeking a firm that ‘polices’ its employees, any organisation with realistic growth plans is going to be using some form of metrics to judge output. It’s crucial for businesses to have an effective system in place and you’re likely to find that you’ll thrive in such a competitive environment.
Another telling attribute to seek-out in a potential employer is passionate leadership. After all, no one wants to work for someone who doesn’t seem to care for their employees and can’t get the most out of them. The best leaders will be able to motivate you and the rest of your team to perform to the best of your ability even if you’re finding it challenging. We all know the going can get tough in sales every now and again and sometimes even the most hard-nosed professionals will need to seek advice from their boss. Remember - the old adage rings true - people don’t leave companies, they leave leaders, so make sure you consider whether you’d like to work for that person before committing.
On a similar note, you should also seek an employer that has a dynamic and entrepreneurial culture in place. Culture helps to drive performance and giving staff the chance to take ownership of their own work and lead their own desk can encourage them to improve their output. It’s all well and good for the employer to say they have an entrepreneurial environment in place, but try to source firms that actually have evidence of doing so. Take a look at the current employees’ LinkedIn profiles. Have any of them moved quickly through the organisation or opened their own office? If they have, you’re probably looking at an employer that does encourage its staff to adopt the entrepreneurial spirit.
Obviously working environments will vary from company to company but the best employers will be those that can show they do care about their employees’ well-being and ongoing development. Look to source these factors in your next employer and you’re likely to find you’ll be working for an organisation that cares about your progress and allows you to thrive.
By Jonathan Graham, Managing Director of Inward Revenue Consulting.