3 Insights That Will Help You Hire More Salespeople in the U.S.

August 30, 2018

Editor's Note: This post originally appeared on the LinkedIn Talent Blog

Sales was the highest priority role for talent acquisition leaders to fill, according to our Global Recruiting Trends 2017 report. That makes sense: without a strong salesforce, even the best products and solutions will gather dust on the proverbial shelf.

If you’re struggling to hire sales talent, we've got two smart strategies for you, based on LinkedIn’s data:

  1. Tweak your message to focus on what salespeople value most in an employer (we’ll reveal that in a moment)
  2. Look beyond your local market to source salespeople from cities with the most supply (and the least demand)

To help you put those tactics into action, we’ve analyzed LinkedIn data to see what salespeople in the United States want from their job and how they differ from the rest of the country. We’ll also reveal where you can find the most sales professionals in the United States and where they’re moving.   

Sales talent cares about compensation, work-life-balance, and good management (but challenging work is less of a priority)

Knowing your audience is the key to a good pitch, whether you’re in sales or trying to recruit salespeople. From crafting a job description, to writing that introductory InMail, to interviewing on-site, aligning your employer brand to candidates’ priorities can help bring them on board.  

According to LinkedIn’s Talent Drivers survey, sales professionals in the US value excellent compensation and benefits, a good work-life balance, and open and effective management—all markedly more than the rest of the US population (as shown by the green bars in the chart below).

If any of those aspects are legitimate strengths at your company, don’t be shy about going out of your way to highlight them. For example, if you know you’ve got great management, you may even want to introduce candidates to their would-be manager earlier in the hiring process.  

Job security was also significantly more important to salespeople than the rest of the US population. In a role where compensation and employment is often closely tied to performance (and therefore a bit unpredictable), it makes sense that sales pros put extra value on the prospect of job security.

But the most dramatic way that sales talent differed from the rest of the US wasn’t in what they valued—it’s what they didn’t value. Challenging work wasn’t nearly as important to sales pros as it was to everyone else, with just over 20% identifying it as a key factor when considering a job opportunity. (For comparison, 45% of software engineers in the US valued challenging work, according to LinkedIn Talent Insights.)

New York City has the largest supply of sales talent in the US, but Los Angeles might be a more promising place to source

If you want to start sourcing salespeople from other cities in the United States, New York wouldn’t be a bad place to start. With nearly 100,000 sales professionals in the Big Apple on LinkedIn, it has twice as many people as the next-biggest city, Los Angeles.  

Despite that, you might have more luck looking in LA than NYC. That’s because Los Angeles is one of three “hidden gems” on our top 10 list, along with Philadelphia and Miami. Hidden gems have high supply but relatively low demand—meaning less competition for those salespeople.

Atlanta and Houston have moderate demand, so they could also be promising places to source, too.

These cities lost and attracted the most salespeople

Getting a candidate to move to a new city for a job is never an easy ask, but some asks are easier than others.

In terms of salespeople leaving their cities, New York City had the most departures, with Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, and San Francisco also losing large amounts of sales talent to other cities.

These are some of the best places to consider sourcing sales talent from, in terms of raw numbers—lots of salespeople are moving from these areas.

NYC was also the most popular landing spot of relocating sales talent, followed by LA, Dallas, Atlanta, and Chicago. If you’re recruiting in these areas, you’re in luck: salespeople have relocated here the most over the last year.

As you can see, NYC is the sun of the country’s sales solar system: all sales talent seems to revolve around it. With the Big Apple’s massive supply of salespeople, it’s the best source to pick off talent—and the easiest place to attract talent to.

Building a stronger salesforce with talent intelligence

Sales has always been one of the most important parts of any business, but only recently have so many companies been able to tap into data-driven talent intelligence to improve their sales teams.

From crafting the right message, to knowing where to look, to knowing where to invest, having the right insights in hand can help recruiters and talent acquisition leaders do their jobs better.

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Methodology

This analysis was based on LinkedIn data from the United States between August 2017 and July 2018. The talent pool of salespeople indicated on their LinkedIn profile that they are in a full-time position with the job title that falls under our classification of “salesperson.” Common job titles in this talent pool include Regional Sales Representative, Lead Sales Representative, and Sales Associate.

Cities here include their larger metropolitan areas and suburbs. Migration insights are based on the numbers of members in the talent pool who have moved from one location to another in the 12 months analyzed, according to their LinkedIn profile. Demand is based on the number of InMails received by members of the talent pool in each location.  

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