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What Are We? Sales Managers or Head-Hunters?

Dear Stephen, 

I’m a Regional Sales Manager for one of the most well-known furniture brands in the industry, based in the Midwest. More well-known lately than ever before.

We’re a major contract manufacturer with divisions that sell high-end residential and retail. Our main focus for my salespeople to make their annual bonuses has been to close the gap on a multi-million dollar sales-to-goal shortfall. To do that, I need to be, along with my salespeople, in front of customers. 

Yet, despite having one of the largest internal recruiting departments of any manufacturer that I know, we’re constantly being asked to post and repost job opportunities on our LinkedIn threads. In other words, to perform the recruiting functions that our HR people are supposed to be doing. 

Those postings then create inquiries for me which become an enormous distraction from my time, a time when I could be in front of customers and working with my salespeople! Additionally, I feel a little bit embarrassed when a customer like Gensler has to see me reposting job listings on my LinkedIn for some job I may have in Connecticut, for example. It just looks amateurish. Especially since we’re such a prestigious brand, you'd think we wouldn’t need to run help-wanted ads.

I’m not asking for pity. I’m just asking for an explanation. Do I ask my leadership when I can expect to no longer have to post constant help-wanted ads? It’s just getting ridiculous.


I’m a Sales Manager, Not a Head Hunter!

Dear Sales Manager, 

It’s a very common question today where Sales Managers become frustrated that internal recruiting departments are not meeting their needs. That being said, the best sales managers are also the best recruiters. I would disagree with you if you think that your job does not include recruiting a strong sales force. The most obvious way for you to meet your sales goal is to have the best salespeople, and it’s your best-invested interest to help identify those people yourself. So it’s wrong to blame your internal HR department. 

The role of the internal recruiter is critical and does not replace what an outside headhunter like The Viscusi Group does. LinkedIn postings are not bad, because each individual has a different network. It’s a good way to get the word out. But in excess, they can make a company look desperate. 

Let’s face it.. really good salespeople are not reading job postings on LinkedIn! The people reading those are unemployed. And usually for a reason.

My suggestion is that you try to bond with your internal human resources department. Explain to them that you would find it more effective if they might cold-call competitors for you. I can certainly see your point about a major design firm seeing you’re constantly posting help-wanted ads for salespeople, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t discreetly ask designers who’s good. Designers usually know the best sales reps. Share feedback with your HR Department: are your base salaries competitive? Are your benefits good? Has your company been giving cost of living increases that are keeping up with inflation? These are all critical themes you will have read in this space before.

The bottom line is a minimum of two-thirds of your time should be spent as a Sales Manager, leading your sales force and working with customers yourself. Less than one-third of your time should be spent duplicating the efforts of a large internal recruiting department if you work for a major manufacturer. 

Recruiting is a critical part of your job if you work for a smaller manufacturer. That’s just the way it is.

Of course, you know that I’m going to say the best way to recruit good salespeople is… to use an outside recruiter like The Viscusi Group! Or anyone of our very capable competitors.

We do not run help-wanted ads. We cold call employed salespeople from your competitors to solicit them on our client’s behalf! We also cold-call A&D firms, large and small, and ask designers who the best sales reps are. The strength of The Viscusi Group is that everyone knows our brand and returns our phone call. 

The really good part, however, is especially for sales managers; whoever you hire from The Viscusi Group is guaranteed for one full year, meaning if they quit or are fired, we replace them for free, no questions asked. It’s like an insurance policy on your hire! Happy hunting.