When it comes to hiring top-notch sales staff, hiring managers face good news and bad news.

The good news is that it’s easier than ever to connect with sales staff with experience in specific industries. The bad news is that attracting and choosing the best possible candidate remains a challenge.

Here are three common challenges to hiring sales staff in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries, and how to combat them:

Will the candidate being “sold” to you turn into the employee you want?

Even average sales candidates can offer a solid “pitch” for their own skills and abilities. To determine whether a good sales pitch during the interview will translate into an outstanding sales staff member, however, you’ll need to target specific responses and behaviors during the interview.

Ask behavioral interview questions, and listen for specific, quantifiable accomplishments, like “top producer three years in a row” or “met 150 percent of goal in each of the last five quarters.” Look for evidence that the candidate has researched your company, your products or services, your brands, and your culture. Finally, make sure the candidate closes: a sales candidate who doesn’t close the interview isn’t likely to do so with buyers.

How are you going to afford top sales talent?

Star salespeople often feel like they are worth more than companies are planning to pay them. This attitude can cause a top sales candidate to slip from your grasp – or you can anticipate it and turn it to your advantage. Work with your staffing firm to ensure that your base salary and benefits offerings are competitive in the industry, create a sales compensation plan that encourages sales staff to strive for the results you want, and don’t cap a salesperson’s earning potential. When you make it clear that you’ll pay accordingly for outstanding results, top talent will see that it is worth their while to stick around.

Are you selling the opportunity to the candidate?

When your goal is to find a top sales candidate, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that you’re creating a relationship with someone who understands sales success inside and out – including the fact that established success with their current employer offers a number of benefits that starting from scratch does not. Don’t forget to clarify exactly how your company plans to get the new candidate “up to speed” so they can start closing deals quickly.

The recruiters at SMR Group specialize in placing top sales and marketing professionals in the pharmaceutical, biotech, and medical device industries. Contact us today to learn more.

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