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Sales Partnerships, Inc. - Sales Recruitment Initiative of the Year

 

Gold Stevie Award Winner 2019, Click to Enter The 2020 Stevie® Awards for Sales & Customer Service

Company: Sales Partnerships, Inc., Broomfield, CO
Company Description: Sales Partnerships, Inc. is the premier direct sales outsourcing company in the world, offering branded representation that delivers rapid revenue lift for the most influential B2B firms in the world. Whether it's brand activation, customer acquisition, or retention, SPI is the leader in providing scalable and proven solutions to the Fortune 500.
Nomination Category: Sales Awards Achievement Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Sales Recruitment Initiative of the Year

Nomination Title: Leveraging Machine Learning in Heroic Field Sales Recruitment Initiative

Tell the story about your organization's sales recruiting initiatives since the beginning of July 2017 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms. Be sure to mention obstacles overcome, innovations or discoveries made, and outcomes:

Sales Partnerships, Inc. is an outsourced sales firm that recruits, trains, and manages outsourced sales teams. In the summer of 2018, we conducted a historic sales recruitment initiative that challenged the fortitude of our recruiting team. A Fortune 500 client had given us 90 days to source, interview, select, onboard, and train 179 field sales agents, across 45 states nationwide. The week-long new-hire training classes were staggered over four sessions, the first of which was just 45 days out, consisting of 55 new-hires. Thus, our key challenges were the tight time constraints, the large numbers of hires needed, and the strict contractual quality of hiring standards.

We focused on three keys to success: First, we leveraged newly acquired technology to help us quickly identify large numbers of qualified candidates. Using a high-tech recruitment marketing platform empowered us to source and review nearly 17,000 resumes in 10 weeks. Through this platform, we conducted A/B testing of sourcing emails. This boosted our open rates to 54% and our click rates (as a percentage of emails sent) to 22%, both significantly higher than industry norms. By boosting the quantity and quality of sourcing emails sent, we received over 1,500 qualified applications, thereby ensuring we had sufficient candidates to evaluate for all positions.

The next key to success was to increase the size of the recruiting team. Ordinarily, all recruiting responsibilities are covered by just two people at SPI. To complete this recruiting initiative, the largest in our company’s history, we added 15 new recruiting assistants. Our intensive three-day training course covered everything from the basics of recruiting to advanced software systems, enabling the new recruiting assistants to hit the ground running.

To drive high quantity and quality productivity, we had to instill a sense of ownership and responsibility to the recruiting team. To create accountability, we implemented sales team style metrics with the goal of identifying which sourcing activities correlated most with making successful hires. Our purpose was to try to link specific metrics to recruiting success and build an improved model for future sourcing; however, the measurements also stirred competition and brought out the best in our team. The improvements were seen week-over-week and enabled us to source, screen, and interview a record-setting number of applicants during the 90-day initiative.

Our third key to success was centered on quality. Maintaining quality in spite of the time constraints was inviolable. First, we conducted inter-rater reliability training to ensure every applicant received the same carefully calibrated experience regardless of the interviewer. Next, we employed insights from our company’s recently completed interview data analysis project to improve our interviews because it signaled specific questions to ask and things to watch for in order to better predict field performance. Together, these steps ensured our interviews would identify top quality talent.

These three keys to success propelled recruiting effectiveness and efficiency improvements to record levels for our company. Hence, the 90-day sales recruiting initiative was a dramatic success. We successfully gained on-time, accepted offers in all 179 positions. Additionally, the excellent quality of the hires positively impacted the program. Most importantly, we built a recruiting model that we can use to scale at any level in the future. The new hires carried the program to year-over-year jumps in our top two KPIs - total activity per agent +8% and total conversions per agent +5%.

The speed, magnitude, and quality standards needed in our summer recruiting initiative forced us to leverage our team’s skills to the fullest while collaborating with all departments throughout SPI. Truly a company-wide effort, the lessons learned during the sales recruiting initiative have become standard operating procedures for all our recruiting projects.