Hiring Salespeople - Prospectors


You may call them hunters, sales development reps, prospectors, or lead generation reps. Either way, this type of salesperson is responsible for identifying and acquiring new customers for your organization. We’ve spent a lot of time recruiting for this role in the past month and want to share a couple of observations we’ve made before you hire this type of salesperson.

1. Prospectors Do Exist

If you’ve ever tried to hire somebody for a lead generation role, you may have found that your applicants don’t want to prospect, say they will prospect but don’t, or try to change your sales process around to make you think they are prospecting. Consequently, you reached the conclusion to hire a salesperson and hope they will prospect – or hold onto your underperforming current salesperson that “has rapport with your market” rather than focusing on new customers.

We recently performed executive searches for this role in New York City, Rochester New York, Tampa Bay Florida, Atlanta Georgia, Sacramento California, and Boston Massachusetts. To our delight – there is an abundance of sales hunters out there!

Unfortunately, you may still struggle to find these prospectors. Why? Well, if you have a representative that specialized and succeeded in acquiring new customers – would you let that person go? Almost never, and neither are other companies.

You have to use proactive headhunting!

You can’t find successful prospectors by posting an ad on a job board or badgering students at job fairs. In other words, successful prospects are most likely not looking for a job. As a result, you must proactively recruit and position your company to engage this talent.

2. Prospectors Work in the Front of the Sales Cycle

When you hire a salesperson don’t expect them to be a jack of all trades. As market landscapes have become more competitive, solutions more complex, and organizational decision less organized – completing a sales cycle becomes time-consuming.

Don’t bog your prospectors down with administrative functions, proposal writing, closing responsibilities, or account management activities. Because sales engineers, outside salespeople, and account managers have different skillsets and should have different performance objectives. The best companies are allowing their prospectors to specialize in lead generation and appointment setting. This skill is becoming increasingly more important, and we recommend that you invest in it.

3. You Need a Prospecting Process

While you should strive for members of your sales staff to be dedicated prospectors, you will find that there is no such thing as a natural prospector. We aren’t intuitively born to be able to hunt for new business in the modern environment – that’s why we need to follow a process.

A good prospecting process always has two key fundamental prerequisites: It is performed on the business-level decision maker of the company you are targeting and it contains the right message about bottom-line results.

Once you have those two pieces in place, you begin your prospecting methods. What do our emails look like? Do they include personalized messaging, video, and engagement content? Am I connecting with them on LinkedIn and utilizing social selling? How about sending direct mail to their location to create awareness across platforms? Furthermore, do we send personalized calendar invites for a call/meeting? Finally, am I calling them with the objective of setting up an appointment?

Hiring Prospectors Isn’t Easy!

Let us help you. View our sales recruiting.