Much of the work we do here at Eagle Headhunters is sales related. We are regularly conducting searches looking for the best sales talent in any given industry. We conduct searches for internal sales staff, sales executives, account managers, channel sales executives, sales directors etc
One correlation that is ever present is that if they excel in their role then they are highly coveted by their employers. Losing the top sales person is catastrophic for any business and as such most employers will go out of their way to make sure that they are protected from a headhunter’s overtures. They can do this in numerous ways such as a commission plan which is structured in such a way that a sales person has to wait a specific time for the majority of their bonus to be paid, fixed promotions or pay rises are connected to their performance or they might get incentives such as holidays, a new car. Many of these things will end a headhunter’s conversation with the candidate before it has started and one has to respect the employer for looking after their most valued assets.
However some employers, and there are more than you would imagine, do not value their assets quite as highly and as such we are able to firstly engage with them and secondly get them into the process. Once our client has offered them the job it their duty to hand their notice in. This is exactly when their company realises it’s mistake and tries to put it right with a counter offer – a lot of candidates will have the courage of their convictions and stick with their path but some will accept the counter offer as they think “better the devil you know”. This latter choice very rarely works out – trust has already been broken – the employee will think that in order for them to be adequately valued they had to go through the arduous and emotionally stressful task of getting another job whereas the employer will be asking themselves why the employee did not talk to them in the first place. This usually ends up with the employee leaving within 6 months of the counter offer.
What this does mean however for any company looking to recruit a top performing sales professional is that the package and opportunity has to be highly competitive. We headhunt the best performers so in turn they command the best salary packages – without this you will only be able to attract the middle ground sales professionals. Be prepared to be flexible – every candidate is different – some may value a car more highly than holidays or health package, some may want a low base but high bonus percentiles for exceeding targets. Each person is different and if you want to get that top performer you must be flexible. Obviously you will be worried that they are not proven in your environment but we always verify a sales professional’s credentials – we ask to see their P60, we cross reference them so we know that when they say they were 130% above target last year they were. Always do the same as a bad hire is dreadful for your business but an expensive bad hire can be catastrophic.