Times Have Changed, How To Search For A Sales Role In 2017

Naturally, I receive a multitude of messages weekly asking me about the “how to’s” and “whys” of today’s sales recruiting landscape. It feels a bit harsh for me to start with this statement, but it’s true… If you’re looking for a new job and you can’t adapt — a challenging road awaits.

Today’s pace of change in the dynamic world of sales/sales recruiting is unprecedented. Every single day, I spend a chunk of my time simply making sure I’m up-to-date with new concepts, best practices, challenges, technology and so much more because that’s what it takes to stay relevant and successful.

Why do I bring this up? Well, I’m a sales practitioner and fanatic by trade and it’s my job to stay current on the happenings of sales recruiting, but what about the person looking for their next best role? If you’re busy spending your time looking for jobs in the “traditional” way and managing your daily life, how will you have time to also familiarize yourself with the ever-changing world of sales recruiting?

Luckily, this post can help you adapt — without wasting your time. Below, you’ll find four critical tenets of modern sales recruiting. These are tried and true practices that absolutely deliver results, you just have to put forth the “sweat equity” to reap the rewards. Read on to learn how…

Your Online Footprint Matters

The days of living in a bubble are gone I’m afraid. Hiring managers, recruiters, potential colleagues and new connections/connection requests have more access than ever before to learn about you thanks to the good ol’ internet.

Regardless of whether you’re looking for a job or not, please do yourself a favor and audit your online “footprint”. The best way to do this? Gut check your privacy settings. What kind of pictures do you have floating around in the atmosphere? Who are you actually connecting with and why? Does your body of work stand out to set you apart from all of the rest? These are important factors as you dust off the resume to start looking for the next amazing step in your career.

At a bare minimum, update your Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter to control how you’re perceived online. Food for thought, your blogs, online reviews, and comments matter too…

True story, recently one of the most talented enterprise salespeople I’ve come into contact with was kicked straight out of the hiring process due to a personal blog posting from more than a year ago that was wildly inappropriate, we’ll leave it at that…

The Resumes, They Are A-Changin’

The most important thing I can say on this topic is that your resume is merely an invitation for a conversation. How would you like to be invited to potentially the most important party of the year? Thinking about it that way can make a huge difference.

Did you know that the average recruiter views your resume for only six seconds before they decide if they’ll consider it further or not? In less time than it takes to fold a shirt, a recruiter decides if you’re a good fit for their role. This is a person that doesn’t know you and is tasked with looking at a multitude of people at any given time. With that said, it’s imperative to understand what the person on the other side of your profile could be thinking and more importantly looking for.

Format, content, and style are everything. We want to see a succinct, clean layout that’s visually appealing and easy to navigate helping us understand what makes you stand out, why and how (whatever you do, do not design a multi-page novella). Creating a “standard issue” resume that looks, acts and feels like everyone else isn’t doing you any favors and can quickly be discarded.

After a sales recruiter likes what they see, they’ll start to dig a bit further (if they’re good at what they do). If you’re a salesperson, try to stray away from the conventional statements about your “track record of success” and “strong communication skills.” Instead, tell YOUR story: big wins, accolades, client success, the path that got you to this point, what you bring to the table, client quotes — get creative here people and don’t say the same thing everyone else does with a lame summary, snooze fest…

For example, tell me about a unique problem you faced at your last company or how you solved a complex challenge for your customer. Vividly describe how you came up with a solution to the problem and then tell me about the specific impact your solution had.

Your problem-solving skills and personality matter, so ensure they come across to entice and engage with the person.

A Familiar Approach

If you want to land that A+ sales role in 2017, your body of work will be more important than ever before. Whether you’ve been in the industry for one year or 20, there’s likely something you’re all-to-familiar with: building, maintaining and growing a sales pipeline.

The same exact way you approach your pipeline is one of the most important tools you can leverage within your own recruiting process.

What am I talking about, here? Well, the main components of a sales pipeline (build a target list, create a compelling message, follow up) directly translate to finding the sales role of your dreams.

When approaching your search, seriously take the time to research companies first. Instead of a mass apply approach, evaluate (perhaps through your own personal scorecard) what’s important to you and why and then identify companies that share that same vision.

To make it manageable, create a top 10 list of companies weekly, identify who the right people are to get to know, create a compelling message to connect the dots (not just about you, but how you can help them and why) and start making connections (meaningful social networking is your friend). The golden rule here, thoughtful follow up and engagement without being a stalker.

Do Some Homework

This step is brief … Simply put, your potential employer spends countless time and effort on their social media marketing efforts. As such, one of the best ways to improve your likelihood of securing a job with them is to engage with their content.

Before you submit an application or reach out to a company, look at who is talking about them in the marketplace, check out CrunchBase and AngelList, engage with their blog posts, YouTube, and social postings for starters. Take time to read their content, and if you can, thoughtfully contribute in the comments section or repost it to your own social networks.

This will not only give you relevant information to discuss in an interview, it’ll also reflect your genuine interest in their business and excitement to contribute in a profound way.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for or thinking about a new job in 2017 but are unwilling to adapt, I’m afraid you may not see your desired results. The world of sales is ever changing and that absolutely impacts the recruiting process, and if you can’t keep up, the road ahead is bumpy at best.

Luckily, you have an excellent chance at being successful if you embrace the suggestions above.

Alright, alright, alright (as Matthew McConaughey would say) that’s my two cents’ worth, but what do you think? How have you adapted to land a new sales role in 2017? Do you agree that the need to adapt is critical in the search process? Are there any keys to being hired this year that I left out?

I’m ready to know what you think, so now it’s your turn to weigh in!

As always, thanks for reading and I hope these words of wisdom serve you well.

PS, this was originally featured on the Avenue Talent Partners blog

I help startups hire sales leaders without the cringe • Founder/CEO • 2X Entrepreneur • Personally closed $100MM+ in revenue (and counting) • LinkedIn Top Sales