Sales turnover—it’s a constant regardless of the time of year or circumstances. It’s a struggle every organization faces, and an expensive one at that. Both voluntary and involuntary attrition can cost upwards of $100,000 when you factor in recruiters, management time spent interviewing, lost opportunities, etc.
Today’s challenging circumstances aren’t making this any easier. With entire companies working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s been a huge adjustment, to say the least. But, the truth is, sales turnover and hiring doesn’t stop just because we’re adapting to a new normal.
The Impact of COVID-19
The average turnover rate for the sales industry typically fluctuates around 35%, according to HubSpot. We’re still a little too early into today’s situation to truly know where attrition stands right now, but a recent Businesswire survey indicates that the majority of enterprises are retaining their current headcounts. Those anticipating the largest financial impacts have slowed or halted hiring altogether.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that sales turnover has stopped entirely. What if a rep gave notice shortly before this crisis struck or their role opened up right after the start? Now you’re left with an open headcount when performance is even more critical because of economic uncertainty.
Tips to Hire Sales Talent Remotely
First and foremost, it’s important to remember that recruiting in and of itself is sales. As a recruiter, your goal is to find the best candidates, sell the position, and consistently monitor competition. This mindset can help you recruit salespeople anytime, but it is especially helpful now.
Fortunately, we’re all in this together. As we’ve adjusted to this new normal, I’ve worked with my team to help them transition to remote recruiting and working from home. Here are five key tips for hiring sales talent while working from home.
1. Building Relationships is Even More Important
Recruiters are the first impression of the organization. They act as the guide and key resource to understand company culture, the interview process, and what life will look like in the role. Since you can’t give them a tour of the office remotely, it’s crucial to establish a strong relationship and be more available to guide the candidate through the process more effectively.
2. Take Advantage of More Availability
Perhaps the biggest silver lining recruiters have in this situation is the advantage of more time. With all companies working remotely, we have a larger opportunity to contact candidates throughout the day. Recruiters can call outside normal recruiting hours (lunchtime and after 5 pm) because reps don’t have to leave the office to take the call.
3. Practice Empathy
We all have to remember that we’re in the same boat—it’s a mix of unknown, anxiety, and adjusting to new lifestyles. This gives us a chance to make a more personal connection with potential candidates. But we also have to practice empathy. These aren’t ideal recruiting or interviewing conditions—so we all must be flexible with children, pets, and other distractions that come from working at home.
4. Culture is Still Key
One of the most important parts of recruiting is company culture. This is still true—maybe even more so—in today’s situation. Your organization’s culture and values still exist in a remote environment. That’s why it’s crucial to continue placing a high priority on hiring candidates that will bring diverse thinking and positively add to your culture.
5. Encourage Flexibility
Again, we are all adapting to our situation and adjusting their lives in their own ways. Encourage everyone that is a part of the selection, interview, and hiring processes to practice flexibility. Of course sales managers can’t gauge a handshake over a video, but they can find other useful ways to evaluate candidate’s skillsets and emotional IQ.
Making the Best of the New Normal
No one can say how long we’ll be in this situation, so we have to make the best of the circumstances. A good start is sharing what’s working for us. One of our sales recruiters, Ted Clauss, recently sat down with Xactly VP Solutions Evangelist, Erik W. Charles, to discuss how he’s adapting to recruiting remotely. You can hear their full conversation here.