Hiring for Agencies: How to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent (+ Sales Agent Job Description Template)

Hiring for Agencies: How to Attract and Retain Top Sales Talent (+ Sales Agent Job Description Template)

Behind every successful organization is a team of dedicated professionals who possess the perfect blend of personal and professional qualities. And it’s especially so for service companies, like lead generation agencies.

Building such a team is no easy task, however. This is why agencies need to create and implement a strategic hiring process to find, attract, and then retain top sales talent. 

Whether you’re a well-established agency planning to scale or a newbie founder looking to build your team from scratch, this article will guide you toward attracting and retaining the sales dream team your agency deserves.

4 things agency owners should know before hiring SDRs

As the job market gets more complex, so does hiring top talents, regardless of the industry or position. Yet sales agent jobs are a whole new ballgame due to the intricate nature of the role. 

So before embarking on a sales hiring journey, agency owners should take a step back and consider the numerous factors that can affect recruitment. Being fully prepared will help align your sales agent job descriptions with the reality of today’s world from the candidates’ perspective. 

Here are 4 important things for agencies to keep in mind before hiring their future sales superstars.

  • External factors  

Diving into the hiring process unaware of the realities of the modern macroeconomic climate is a huge mistake. The inevitable great recession is breathing down our necks, both as organizations and individuals. And as the general business landscape gets more complex with unprecedented job-hopping and economic uncertainty, agency hiring must evolve just to keep up. 

At the same time, such external factors mean that the top sales candidates are prioritizing financial stability more than ever. So make sure to mention in your job descriptions exactly how your agency can provide that security, e.g., through lengthy contracts, growing salaries, etc.    

  • Salary/compensation 

Speaking of salaries, they’re definitely something you shouldn’t stint on, but it gets even trickier. According to Iurii Znak, CEO of Respect.Studio, “Overly generous bonuses can deter salespeople from seeking new deals once they’ve accumulated significant commissions. Conversely, meager commissions can make talent retention challenging.” 

At the same time, Belkins Head of Recruiting Iryna Gazhala points out that since most agencies source sales agents globally, it’s crucial to learn and follow the unique salary structures of each country and state. For instance, some states have a legal requirement to mention the exact salary range on job descriptions, and this cannot be overlooked. 

  • Geographical nuances 

As agencies usually hire sales reps from all over the world, the idea of a set-in-stone job description and benefit package for all is no longer feasible. 

Moreover, there’s another significant aspect of global hiring — cultural nuances that may influence the hiring process. Iryna Gazhala recalls, “In Europe, the faster-paced hiring process reflects the efficiency and expectations ingrained in the culture. On the other hand, in regions like the USA and Canada, a more thoughtful and deliberate decision-making process is common. It’s important to acknowledge and respect these differences, as they are pivotal in ensuring a successful recruitment journey for candidates worldwide.” 

In other words, agency recruiters have to understand and appreciate these dynamics, finding tailored ways to appeal to SDRs from different parts of the globe.  

  • Remote/hybrid workplace 

Millions of organizations from all over the world have transitioned to remote and hybrid work environments over the last couple of years, and sales agencies are no exception. While this gives agencies the unique opportunity to expand their recruitment globally, it comes with the extra responsibility of sufficiently equipping candidates. 

Tim Cakir, CEO of TaskDrive raises this point: “The transition to a remote work setup has underscored the importance of providing our sales professionals with the tools they need to thrive. Staying connected and equipped with the latest technology is crucial. Our commitment to ensuring access to cutting-edge tools has enhanced productivity and contributed to more vital unity among team members, despite physical distances.

Where to find and how to attract the top sales talent for your agency?

When it comes to finding your agency’s ideal sales agents, there is no need to reinvent the wheel. Instead, focus your search on proven sources of top talent such as popular job boards, sales communities or forums, and professional social networking sites like LinkedIn. 

The sales world is a tight-knit community, so don’t underestimate the power of networking. Iryna Gazhala, Head of Recruiting at Belkins, shares:Sales professionals are very open, and even when a position isn’t suitable, they might recommend someone else who could be a good match. We’ve had candidates come to us through such referrals multiple times. Once, we mentioned to a candidate that our VP of Sales lives in the same city, and later they happened to meet by chance at a bar and had a conversation. Recruiters need to be equally open to creating a win-win situation during interviews.”

Another great idea for agencies sourcing sales talent is to establish partnerships with relevant universities and sales training programs which are usually filled with young, aspiring sales enthusiasts motivated to prove themselves. 

In addition, a proven way to attract top talent is to showcase your credibility and expertise in the market — whether it’s through an agency blog, employee/customer testimonials, or social selling from your agency’s sales leaders. 

Finally, besides crafting your job description of a sales agent and waiting for candidates to apply, agency recruiters can also proactively use cold outreach to get the attention of and engage the best sales talent. Luckily, there are numerous reliable B2B data providers you can tap into for candidate research. This way, agencies can find hundreds of qualified potential candidates and their contact emails in seconds.  

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By strategically leveraging both inbound and outbound recruitment strategies, agencies can reach a larger pool of qualified sales talents and get the job done more efficiently. Yet attracting those sales superstars is a whole different story. The key is to know exactly what you’re looking for and portray that accurately in your agency’s job descriptions and outreach. 

Crafting an irresistible sales agent job description (+ template)

Now that we’ve covered all the nuances of agency hiring, it’s time to craft an appealing and effective job description for a sales agent. Besides merely outlining the requirements and responsibilities, agencies should also highlight the exciting journey that awaits potential candidates if they join your team. 

Iurii Znak, the CEO of Respect.Studio, mentions that while a versatile jack-of-all-trades may work for startups, agencies that usually have bigger teams require clear specialization in their sales team, which means job descriptions should be hyper-specific in describing the exact sales agent(s) you’re looking for. 

Similarly, there should also be an emphasis on the industry the agency operates in to ensure the top quality of service and significantly reduce the learning curve for newly joined SDRs. 

After analyzing dozens of high-profile sales agent job descriptions, we’ve created the ultimate template you can copy and customize for your own sales hiring strategy.

Sales Agent Job Description Template for Agencies 

Position Title – [ Sales Agent ] 

Location – [ City, Country ] 

Company – [ Agency Name, Department ]

[ Full Time | Contractor ], [ In person | Hybrid | Remote ]

Agency Info/Who are we 

Introduce your agency to your future applicants: Who are you? What industries/products do you work with? What are your values? What is your mission? Highlight the unique aspects and growth opportunities your agency offers. Feel free to add anything else that may be relevant to entice your ideal candidates to keep reading and weed out those who aren’t a great fit in the early stages.

Who we are looking for / Requirements 

Create a detailed and accurate description of the ideal sales rep your agency is looking for, mentioning both hard and soft skills. Besides putting down the basic requirements, it’s important to focus on the agency-specific skills you are looking for, e.g.:

  • Adaptability to juggling multiple client brands and aligning sales strategies accordingly
  • Versatility to rapidly learn and transition between various products and clients 
  • [Your agency’s niche] expertise to communicate with prospects with authority

What you will do / Responsibilities

Describe the specifics of the open job position so your candidates can determine how relevant their work experience is, whether they would enjoy the day-to-day tasks, and if there are opportunities to expand their skill sets. While the responsibilities won’t differ too much from a company’s job description, once again, agencies should highlight any unique tasks potential candidates will work with, e.g.:

  • Find and nurture new sales opportunities
  • Qualify the incoming leads before adding them to the pipeline
  • Create and optimize scripts and templates
  • Follow up with leads and address their objections

Perks of working with us / What we offer 

This is your chance to pitch your agency to the top sales reps through the various benefits you offer, e.g.:

  • [1,2,3] year contract with probation period/renewal 
  • Salary Range (base + bonuses)
  • [x] days off, [x] sick leave days, and/or PTO
  • Health insurance, pension, parental leave, etc. 
  • [x, y, z] work environment
  • Professional growth opportunities
  • Engaging team-building events and parties

The idea is to showcase why your agency is the best place for applicants to work.

How to apply

Add a short sentence or two describing the stages of the agency hiring process so they know what to expect, and include a compelling call-to-action inviting the candidates to apply for the sales agent job and potentially join your agency.

Make sure you can retain the talent

Believe it or not, finding, attracting, and hiring sales superstars is just half of the mission — the other half is retaining them for the long run. For various reasons out of our control, voluntary employee turnover among sales organizations grew by 58% from 2020 to 2021 and is projected to keep growing in the near future.  

The good news is there are numerous proactive steps that agencies can take to ensure their new sales agents won’t jump ship, starting from the obvious one — compensation.

While money isn’t everything in agency SDR retainment, a transparent and competitive compensation structure that rewards hard work and achievements through commission and bonuses is vital to keeping SDRs motivated and eager to crush those quotas. 

According to Collin Mitchell, VP of Sales at Leadium: “​​That’s how you get the star players to join your team in the first place. You give them a good salary and build a comp plan that motivates your team and is easy to understand with realistic targets.

However, he goes on to add: “But guess what? Money’s not everything. Your team needs more than that to stay happy and keep winning. They need the right tools and training — think of it as the best sports gear and coaching. It makes the game easier and a lot less stressful.” Undoubtedly, proper SDR onboarding and continuous coaching will help your new hires feel valued, nurtured, and challenged right from the get-go

On the topic of motivation, Tim Cakir, CEO of TaskDrive, emphasizes the importance of tailored incentive programs aligned with individual and team performance, be it in the form of money, recognition, or career development, combined with continuous training is the secret to longevity. 

He summarizes this point by stating: Motivation can be nurtured through well-crafted incentives, particularly in a remote setting. Equipping team members with the latest tools and technologies fosters an environment of innovation. Lastly, ongoing training, encompassing everything from AI integration to versatile communication, provides our sales professionals with sustained success.

Finally, Iurii Znak, CEO of Respect.Studio shares a less common secret to retention: “Always ensure your sales engine is well-fueled with quality leads. A salesperson is only as good as the opportunities presented to them. Top sales talent might falter if they lack leads to pursue. Especially when compensation is largely commission-based, a drought in leads can prompt salespeople to seek opportunities elsewhere.

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All in all, even though agencies undeservedly earned a bad rap as having a very competitive and even toxic environment, that is not the case so long as the agency cares about their employees and invests time and effort to help their team members learn and grow.

Wrapping up

Every hiring decision an agency makes is an immense investment in its future. Assembling a sales superstar A-team takes a blend of finding them through various avenues, attracting them with your job descriptions and exciting work environment, and investing in their continuous development. 

While it may seem challenging at first glance, it is the only way for agencies to not only ensure their survival in today’s hyper-competitive climate but also thrive and reach new heights of success. 

So take the time to create a well-curated recruitment strategy and embark on this journey with confidence, keeping in mind that the team you assemble will determine the future of your agency.

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