This post comes from the perspective of Dave Darsch & Sol Jeewa.

Your sales team can make or break your company - so it's no surprise that businesses put time and energy into hiring the best. From making sure there's a cultural fit to using social media and even virtual reality technology, there are many tips and tricks to boost recruitment success.

But the only fail-safe strategy is to gather accurate information before, during and after hiring. This lets you match candidates with your organization's objectives and needs - and find true sales stars.

In just 8 steps, you can harness the power of data-driven talent acquisition starting now.

1. Deep dive on your company's goals

Every success story begins with defining exactly what your company is setting out to do. Ask yourself: what are our core objectives and who will help us meet them? Use the answers to create a profile of your ideal candidate that clearly outlines the skills and qualities you need. If you do it right, your focus will soon be on exceeding - rather than achieving - your goals.

2. Strategize - don't trust your gut

Building an amazing sales team should never come down to luck. Do your homework to plan a detailed recruitment and retention strategy. Look at high-performing companies and use cutting-edge research to learn what works. Knowledge is power - read studies to find proven sales strategies, and use these to determine your workforce needs.

3. Find out what makes top salespeople tick

Attracting and motivating top talent is the best investment you can make in your company. You need to know how high performers think, and money isn't always everything when it comes to job satisfaction. Figure out what really drives your potential hires, and use this information to build out a varied compensation package that rewards success both financially and through status and respect.

4. Cast the net widely - use multiple channels

To find the right people, you need to access a wide talent pool. This requires some effort, beyond traditional sources like advertisements and agencies. Building social media into your networking plan is key. But don't forget the value of referrals and networking offline. Top performers often know other top performers. When you make a great hire, offer them incentives to send other strong candidates your way.

5. Filter and focus to narrow down your search

Identifying the best candidates from the start will let you target your recruitment efforts towards truly promising salespeople. Use a rigorous screening process to filter out less-qualified individuals early. Pre-qualify applicants with targeted phone interviews, and design your interviews to test candidates' proficiency in the specific skills you want. Create a team of interviewers, to benefit from multiple perspectives on an applicant's suitability. And at every stage, check the data you gather on each candidate against the requirements of the role - and your overall company strategy.

6. Test, assess, and test again

Sales assessment tests can give you crucial information on a candidate's personality, skills and experience. A well-designed test is a powerful tool that fills in the gaps of a resume and builds a detailed picture of your candidate. By collecting real data based on exhaustive research, sales assessments take the guesswork out of the hiring process.

7. Make 'never stop learning' your company's philosophy

High-performers have a thirst for knowledge. Attract and retain top salespeople by asking what skills they want to improve, and offering paid training programs and mentorships. Reward achievements by sponsoring trips to sales conferences or courses. Goal-focused employees will relish the chance to develop and learn, and you'll benefit from their enhanced skillset.

8. Hold onto your top team

The hiring process doesn't end when you've found your perfect candidate. Keeping your best performers motivated and happy will improve their work and your retention rates. Onboarding is the first step. Take the time to craft an effective company socialization plan tailored to your new hire. Your onboarding process is an opportunity to acclimate new employees to your organization. But it's also a chance to fill in their knowledge gaps, and show them how much they can achieve in their new role. A little research and planning here can set you up with top talent for years to come.

Published on: Jul 24, 2017