A Top of the Funnel Problem with Sales Hiring: 3 Solutions to Avoid Missing Out on The Right Talent

Sasanka Atapattu
August 25, 2016

If you are a VP, Director or Manager of a BDR or SDR team, you know how time-consuming it can be to find qualified talent. But did you know that the problem in finding qualified talent is just going to get worse?

In a leading international consulting group's research: Outside In: The Rise of the Inside Sales Team the demand for inside sales is rising as larger companies are shifting their resources to build modern inside sales organizations.


More concerning is a long-standing fact that colleges and universities don’t teach sales. In April 2016, Harvard Business Review published an article: “More Universities Need to Teach Sales”- pointing out that although 50% of college graduates will end up in sales at some point in their career, only 3% of all U.S colleges and universities offer sales programs. This directly affects the talent pipeline for companies that are relying on building or scaling their inside sales teams.

To learn more we did our own digging.

Our Findings

When LaunchSource conducted our own independent research and spoke with universities and colleges, both ones that didn’t offer sales programs and ones that did, we found that this trend is likely to continue.

The consensus among academia is that sales is still considered a trade. Additionally, it’s been increasingly difficult to get buy-in from departments that are struggling to secure budget for more traditional programs and majors given the pressure for colleges and universities to cut costs to become more affordable.

In regard to faculty, colleges and universities  find it very difficult to recruit experienced sales leaders to teach at the university level given the ability for sales leaders and managers to earn more and have more flexibility in the field.

For sales executives, this is a scary and nerve-racking time as their own development and career movement is often reliant on their ability to recruit, retain and develop a world-class sales team.

3 Steps to Building an Inside Sales Team

So as a sales executive, what can you do? We’ve outlined 3 practical steps to help you think about how you can meet your hiring goals, whether you have to expand or backfill an existing team, or are looking to build a new one.

1. Develop an ongoing hiring strategy.

Make sure you have a mechanism to attract entry-level workers all year round instead of turning the flow on and off based on need. Make sure to take advantage of a featured employer page or utilize an outside resource to constantly promote your company's culture.

2. Ensure that you have a consistent onboarding program to provide entry level sales people with a predictable level of knowledge from day 1.

Have candidates do research, readings, or go through a course on the basics before they show up for day 1.

3. Create ongoing development so there is a clear path to promotion.

Develop or partner with an organization that will provide ongoing development to strengthen their skill sets and prepare them for the next role. This will help with employee satisfaction and will help you create a farm system for your sales team and other parts of your organization.

Finally, as sales leaders it’s our duty to evangelize sales as an exciting and innovative field. The field of sales will always require a new generation of people that are adaptable, consultative, intellectually curious, and are willing to work hard.

If you can make the time, go talk at universities and evangelize sales. It's a great recruiting tool. The raw talent is out there, so go find it!