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Attracting Top Inside Talent [moving past the 90’s]

Posted by Trish Bertuzzi on Thu, Feb 09, 2012

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the AA-ISP Senior Exec Retreat and spending time with 50+ Execs, VPs and Directors sharing & discussing issues relevant to inside sales.

One of the workshops focused on Employee Lifecycle. Well, let me tell you that I learned a ton from the other attendees – Inside Sales leaders from companies like IBM, Mentor Graphics, Staples, & Henkle to name a few.

I thought I’d share a few takeaways from that session – specifically focused on the front end of the employee lifecycle: Sourcing.

For the better part of the last 15 years we’ve all used a combination of the following to source candidates:

  • Internal and external referrals
  • External or in-house recruiters
  • Online postings: corporate sites, Monster, LinkedIn, etc.

But we know that finding top talent is tougher than ever before. Our hiring infographic notes that:

  • The demand for inside sales talent increased 124% from 2009 to 2011
  • The demand for lead generation talent increased 59% in the same time period
  • 59% of all reqs are filled in under 45 days

Yikes… Since filling open reqs dramatically impact our ability to achieve revenue goals, what can we do about it?

My hypothesis is that the static, newspaper-come-Monster-come-LinkedIn job posting isn’t doing the job. We need to get creative (read 21st century) to stand out & showcase our opportunities.

I wanted to call out 2 examples of companies that are using creative methods to recruit top talent.

First up, HubSpot.

(For those unfamiliar – HubSpot's Inbound Marketing Software gives you all the tools you need to make marketing that people will actually love - earning quality leads and loyal customers in return.)

Now, let’s take a look at their recruiting page. What are they doing that is different and creative?

  • The page is visually attractive and calls out their awards as a great place to work
  • There are a variety of videos that showcase Hubspotters and the many reasons to work there
  • They share their unique culture: no offices, focused on education including buying books for employees etc.
  • They provide resources for job hunters that extend beyond just them like “Building Your Online Brand” or “3 Things We Love About Your Resume & 3 Things We Can Do Without”

What a great recruiting page! They have invested in being attractive to candidates and also invested in a culture that will retain those candidates.

Next up, M5 Networks.

(For those unfamiliar – M5 Networks is a recognized leader in cloud based business phone systems.  While other companies have added voice service as an afterthought, voice is the core of M5’s business.)

M5 recently made a corporate commitment to hiring great talent and have re-organized to back it up. Here’s an excerpt from a recent release:

M5 Networks today announced the creation of the M5 People Team, a group dedicated to creating a winning workplace for M5’s valued staff of over 200. Focused on employee engagement, the M5 People Team, led by Chief Learning Officer, Heather Bennett, will use fun and creative ways to foster a work culture that supports its staff to help them meet their personal and professional goals.

So, what are they doing that is creative? They are offering things like:

  • The M5 Rock program, where employees form rock bands, take music lessons and compete in a yearly Battle of the Bands.
  • A digital suggestion box, called M5 Ideas to systematically collect, process and reward innovative staff ideas.
  • A Jiujitsu program run in partnership with MMA Champion Marcelo Garcia and international Chess Champion Josh Waitzkin who recently wrote, “The Art of Learning”.  Waitzkin, who was the subject of the popular film, “Searching for Bobby Fisher” works with M5ers on practicing learning techniques while they perfect their jiujitsu moves.

Heather Bennett (Chief Learning Officer) shared: "We want people to love working at M5. That means creating a workplace where people are free to be themselves and feel well cared for. If we can create that environment, we will attract the best talent who will then bring the next wave of innovation to our customers. It’s a win-win situation for everyone."

Wow, right? In this new world where attracting top talent is so competitive, you really need to stand out from the crowd. Why not try:

  • arming internal & external recruiters with landing pages for candidates not just prospects
  • content marketing for open positions (video that captures your people's passion, slideshares that present your vision)
  • equipping your current Reps with all of the above to share with their network

What are you doing that is creative? I'd love to hear from you!

(Photo credit: bjmccray)

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Great post on a very important topic. 
1. Front line inside sales managers should always be interviewing people, allocating time each week, even if you don't need anyone. This will give you a deep bench to replace non-performers and achievers who leave unexpectedly. 
2. Always recruit. Network with people. Take calls from sales reps to see if they're any good. Target your competition's best rep. 
3. Treat this like a lead gen campaign. Optimize landing pages. Personalize recruitment so that, for example, sales recruits and hearing top sales people extol the virtues of working in sales. Use calls to action. Nurture recruits.

posted @ Thursday, February 09, 2012 6:25 PM by Dave Green

We provide all new development resources $4,000 to buy whatever computing equipment they need- that gets some attention.  
We have a great intern program that leads to a great entry level sales program 
We provide free beer to our employees 7X24 365  
Thenks for he call out Trish

posted @ Friday, February 10, 2012 7:18 AM by Dan Tyre

Great ideas, thanks. 
I want to reinforce the importance of answering the question all top producing sales professionals have when reading recruitment advertisements, "Why is this a great job opportunity?" Top talent will tend to have multiple options, so "sell" them on your position and include the benefits of your work environment. Examples include: we have unique and compelling competitive advantages, top flight sales engineers support your sales efforts, our existing customers are raving fan references, our sales training program is unparalleled, or we leverage the latest sales 2.0 technologies to help you sell. 

posted @ Friday, February 10, 2012 7:50 AM by Brian Geery

Thanks for the article and for the stats about the growth of inside sales. The numbers you talk about reflect what I've heard from other sources as well: 
In spite of the downturn and jobs being hard to come by is it still common to have trouble finding salespeople / filling out inside sales teams? I thought the "common knowledge" was that we were in a "hirer's market" 

posted @ Friday, April 20, 2012 3:25 AM by kevin bebak

@kevin. Thanks so much for commenting. I happen to love Kevin Gaither's This Week in Sales series as well! 
Inside Sales is growing at a much higher rate than other areas. See our hiring infographic here. Demand is far outstripping supply in this particular area. That problem was the impetus of the post. Not sure how to address the issue but we will keep blogging about potential solutions as we identify them. 

posted @ Friday, April 20, 2012 7:03 AM by trish bertuzzi

@Trish - thanks for the reply. I'll stay tuned for future posts about the supply-demand gap for inside sales reps. Looking forward to reading more. 
I will stay in touch and continue commenting as I learn more about the problem / field / solutions as well!

posted @ Monday, April 23, 2012 1:04 PM by kevin bebak

Thanks a lot for sharing this amazing knowledge with us. This site is fantastic. I always find great knowledge from it.

posted @ Wednesday, September 04, 2013 12:29 PM by Full Service Movers

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