The Keys to Identifying Your Ideal Sales Candidate

For those of you in the sales industry, you’ve probably read, discussed and debated the characteristics and traits of your ideal employee.  However, few firms have actually taken the time to establish an ideal candidate profile (ICP) or position their brand strategically as they look to build out their sales team.  Fortunately, the recruitment specialists here at Russell Tobin have interviewed and placed hundreds of technology sales executives and our experience has enabled us to identify three essential points that should allow you to be more effective in targeting and securing elite sales professionals.


The Who, What, Where, and How they Sold

Identify your target buyer and draw parallels to the potential sales candidates.  In addition to industry and region, also look at deal sizes and sales cycles and reach out to those candidates who fit the criteria.  Unless you are recruiting from a direct competitor, it’s highly unlikely that you’ll find somebody who aligns perfectly.  So the question begs, would you rather have somebody who knows the industry or someone who has sold to similar audiences?  Would you prefer somebody who knows how to utilize a team of SDRs or somebody who can successfully navigate a multi-buyer, six-month long sales cycle?  Write down your must-haves and nice-to-haves and prioritize them. We created a worksheet to help you get started. Click here to download the ICP Worksheet.


Know your position in the market

This is always a challenging self-reflection exercise, but an absolute necessary one.  If you aren’t the shiny new tech unicorn that everybody is talking about, it is inherently challenging to attract the very best of the best.  In most scenarios, a salesperson will be taking a risk in joining your firm and you are taking a risk on a new salesperson. However, a good recruitment firm (shameless plug here), can help position your firm and tell your story in a way that will heighten your brand and elevate the caliber of candidates you’re attracting.  As the recruitment cycle unfolds, it’s critical to keep those candidates informed and engaged. While it’s imperative you find the right person, a little courtship goes a long way in securing top talent.  After all, the best sales candidates out there have options.


The Budget

The propensity to allocate the appropriate budget when hiring the best talent is often the biggest issue that a hiring company faces.  Companies want to pay market rate for sales professionals.  However, according to a recent LinkedIn report, ‘sales’ is currently the scarcest skill in New York.  As a result of the limited pool, it is safe to assume wages for sales professionals are on the rise. Salespeople are in high demand and they know it.  If you’re offering a lower base with “more earning potential” or “greater career trajectory” you should be prepared to walk through the compensation plan with supreme precision, a strong equity stake, and a plethora of success stories.


While these components will help guide you towards your ideal candidate, the reality is no two candidates are alike.  Before jumping into a hiring scenario, we strongly encourage you to map out the candidate landscape, your brand positioning and your budget. Ultimately, it is about finding the right long-term fit.



Key Contact

Ben Jaksich
Director, Sales Recruitment Practice
Connect on LinkedIn +