Finding and Hiring Producing Producers


For many sales organizations, the ultimate recruiting goal is finding and hiring producing producers. This assumes you’re looking for new “plug and play” team members. People who already have it all, including proven top-dog sales success. All they have to do is take a seat at your table, and your sales are on the rise. Everybody’s a winner.

Above view of a consultant shaking hands with her client in an executive office

That’s very seductive, isn’t it? By finding and hiring producing producers, you can skip the ramp-up time, training, and other costs and delays typically associated with building your sales force.

But wait. Why would someone like that – firing on all cylinders in their current position and making good money as a result – consider leaving to join your company? Is your grass greener? It could be, if they’re motivated primarily by money. You could offer them higher commissions. Better benefits. A chance to become a partner. But you could be short-changing your organization.

Savvy Sales Recruiters Suggest You Focus on Talent Instead

Of course you want great people. But today’s employers realize the best new hires bring more than specific knowledge and skills. To be really successful, they must comfortably blend into the company’s culture. Diversity is a big plus, but a poor fit is a mistake. This year, 70% of people seeking new employment said they want to work somewhere that, "demonstrates a commitment to diversity and inclusion." That can prove difficult when, according to the same survey source, 47% of people reported that hiring managers in 2021 haven't been held accountable for diversifying their interview processes. Poor hiring processes lead to turnover. Ouch. Churn is expensive, and it’s demoralizing for everyone else on your sales team.

And here’s another problem: the more stringently you limit the parameters for new hires, the more people you cut out of the mix before you ever even get to meet them. Sure, Ms. Perfect might have excellent experience and know-how, a nice book of business, and the ability to bring that book with her. But what about Mr. Talented, who may be missing some of these “perfect” attributes but still embodies the traits and skills that spell sales success? Hire him, and you’ll have the right person for the job – someone you can develop into a top-producing producer.

You might well find those traits and skills in someone who doesn’t even come from a sales background. Just for the record, you’re looking for personal traits such as:

  • Self-motivation
  • Resilience
  • Empathy
  • Desire to serve others
  • Tenacity
  • Detail-oriented

Sales skills that augment those traits include:

  • Technical knowledge
  • Organization
  • Prospecting
  • Ability to ask probing questions
  • Active listening
  • Negotiation and persuasion

Casting a wider recruiting net helps you sidestep another potential problem, too. Ms. Perfect may bring a stunning sales profile with her. But she will also bring attitude and baggage you may not love so much. If your way is not her way, can she gracefully transform, or will she resist? Is she a cowgirl, not much of a team player? Successful sales teams support and applaud one another, even if they are competitive.

So How Do You Find Mr. Talented?

He’s probably not looking to make a move, so posting “want ads” won’t reach him. You need to mount a deliberate, well-targeted search:

  • Identify individuals you’d like to recruit, and approach them directly
  • Network within your industry
  • Ask your customers for referrals
  • Work with a sales-savvy headhunter

And How Will You Convince Him to Choose Your Company?

What makes the grass greener for top producers these days is not necessarily money. The best and most talented want a total experience, and the details that appeal most differ somewhat from one person to the next. You have to sell your company as a great place to work and grow professionally.

Top sales pros, whether budding or already-producing producers, want to know your company offers meaningful opportunities for the future. They are especially interested in knowing they will be in good company – that everyone on your existing sales team is as motivated as they will be to sell well, and sell more.

If you can provide an environment and a professional development and rewards program that clearly support success, you’ll have no trouble finding and hiring producing producers.

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