Sean Simerly is an SDR Team Manager at Entelo. In connecting organizations with Entelo's recruiting solution, Sean hears firsthand the challenges Talent Acquisition teams face as they fill their orgs with great people. In this guest post, he draws parallels between sales personalization and recruitment outreach, and shares key strategies for scaling sales teams.
Attending a Sales Conference, on the surface, seems to have little in common with recruiting. Yet walking away from the SalesLoft Rainmaker 2017 conference, I couldn’t help but draw the connections between the key tenets of modern sales and the effective modern recruiting team. As someone who gets to play in both worlds, it seemed like a perfect opportunity to highlight some of the similarities, and share a vision for how best to move into 2017, both as a Sales team and a Recruiting one.
The Days of Yore
A common theme found throughout Rainmaker 2017 was highlighting what the past held and where it’s letting us down now. In sales, our histories are full of mail merges, spray and pray e-mail blasts, and lackluster personalization (looking at you, “Hi FIRSTNAME”). As Doug Landis, Growth Partner at Emergence Capital, explained, you quickly found yourself in “Excel Hell”.
The result from quantity over quality outreach has led to a jading of prospect expectations. Slowly but surely, the gimmick of seeing your first name in an e-mail wore off, and the force-feeding of the sales solution came off as disingenuous.
Recruiting followed a similar path, and unfortunately many find themselves on the same course still. Replace ‘e-mail’ with ‘InMail’, and you have a TL;DR of 5 years of ineffective practices in recruiting. Just how ineffective? According to Entelo’s Recruiting Trends Survey from 2017, only 11.2% of individuals believe that InMails are the most effective way to reach candidates.
So, What Next?
Acknowledging shortcomings is only part of the equation. Prescribing the solution bears a larger burden.
John Barrows knows a thing or two about personalization. In helping Sales teams at companies like Salesforce and Dropbox, John has honed his craft into a repeatable, customized process that delivers value through every step of the journey.
John shared something that another leader, Gary Vaynerchuck, once distilled: if content is king, then context is god. This is the center of how effective Sales organizations are mobilizing to stay ahead of the curve. The communication they share is not attempting to force feed a solution; it’s trying to connect the dots between the relevance of the individual to the offering.
In place of rote customization, relevant personalization drives conversations forward. It converts at a higher clip. And it’s making it’s way into recruiting, too.
Content may take different shapes in the recruiting sphere from the sales space, but context is universal. Making any touch relevant through context will ensure that the ask placed in sourcing and recruiting outreach is in line with the candidate’s expectations. That alignment creates relationships, and as Martin Lee, Partner at Brain Gain Recruiting EMEA & APAC, said, those are important:
“People who rely on sending InMails alone and that attempt to shoe horn a job without any prior relationship or knowledge shouldn’t be surprised by continued dissatisfaction and dismal results”.
Those relationships are the foundation of a well-oiled talent acquisition function, and the best way to build those is through relevance and context.
How to keep going up and to the right
Though fascinating, relevant personalization wasn’t the only takeaway from RainMaker 2017. While individual performance and technique is huge in finding success both in Sales and Recruiting, you must be able to build and train a team of many to scale that success. Luckily there were plenty of folks who could chime in on the subject.
Ralph Barsi, Senior Director, Global Demand Center at ServiceNow, is a RainMaker regular. He’s had experience scaling a team of over a hundred Sales Development Reps, so his advice was specifically recruiting focused:
What you seek is seeking you.
Before you can go out into the talent market and find best-fit candidates, you must look inward at what a best-fit player on your own team is. Only once you’ve designated what a high performing individual in the role looks like can you face the description outward and demonstrate to top prospects that your organization is the kind of place they’ll succeed. In short, your ideal candidate is someone who is already looking for an opportunity that includes your organizational values.
So how can one understand what exactly it is that they seek? Is it simply a matter of defining the role we’re hiring for? For Ralph, we can determine what we’re seeking with three steps:
Consume, Collect, Communicate.
In consuming, we must listen to our team. Hear what tools, processes, or organizational elements are making them successful. Ralph recommends that 1:1s leave the office, and despite the size of your team, you ensure you get to know every single one. They help you understand every individual’s purpose.
This data, once ingested, will come to represent True North for your group.
True North — by which we mean barometers for success, shared values, and factors that drive the team forward — then needs to be communicated. Share your True North with everyone: prospective candidates, existing employees, and recruiting teams. Let it resonate throughout your brand, and what you seek will seek you.
Into the Future
So we personalize. We add context. Lastly, we make sure we know our True North, and we preach it loud and proud. But does that alone lead to success for the Sales Rep and the Recruiter?
The one line that I believe surpasses all others from Rainmaker 2017 was from SalesLoft CEO Kyle Porter’s opening remarks: He said that “We must have a fundamental belief in three things: ourselves, our offering, and our company, in order to be successful.”
So friends in recruiting and in sales, go out and consume; go out and collect; believe in your purpose, and you’ll find success.