Sales Recruiting? Build Sales Farm System

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Sales Recruiting? Build Sales Farm System

Written by Adam Grossman 

An ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development, he is a cofounder and the Chief Development Officer at The Selling Factory, which supports companies with an outsourced sales team to perform On Demand SDR work at an affordable cost.

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Originally published in the Adaptive Business Services Blog on November 25, 2020

Sales have a talent problem. There is a shortage of skilled entry-level sales professionals across the country. Yet, every year, companies spend exorbitant amounts on recruiting, hiring, and training, while still struggling with high turnover rates.

To remedy this issue, we need to rethink and better coordinate our recruiting practices and the distribution of entry-level sales tasks.

One novel way to do this is to build a Sales Farm System.

Problems with Current Sales Recruiting Strategies

Thousands of companies recruit from colleges and universities the same way year after year.

Company recruiters head to campuses across the county to attend career fairs, speak in classrooms, and sponsor events for the off chance to meet the next great sales professional to hire.

Companies rationalize this process because it’s always been done this way, and the sheer number of interviews and meetings should provide them with a great hiring class. However, this yearly investment in hope, promise, and potential rarely lives up to expectations.

Entry-level sales professionals burnout and turnover continue to increase, plague our sales teams, and decrease revenue-generating activities.

Human Resources Professionals and Career Counselors are the ones who created the current college recruitment system, but since they aren’t salespeople, they don’t always know how to identify sales experts.

We follow their guidelines to assess sales talent — resumés and great interviews — but these are not predictors of sales production. This process overvalues subjective measurements, such as pieces of paper and showmanship, and undervalues objective analysis — showcasing the skills needed to be successful in sales.

Great, and even serviceable, sales professionals have the soft skills necessary to learn, grow, and thrive. They show up on time (meaning early), they do what they say they are going to do, and they bring their best self each day. These qualities provide the foundation for sales success. But these skills don’t show up easily with the traditional system.

To gain greater clarity and ensure that recruiting adds the most value, we need to re-imagine how we evaluate and hire talent.

It’s time to build sales-focused farm systems, which can offset the high costs of recruiting revenue-generating roles.

What Is a Sales Farm System

In baseball, even the most talented draftees rarely go straight to the majors. The draft evaluates the potential, not a player’s actual ability to play at a high level. The farm system mitigates risk and offers better ROI on talent to objectively measure a player’s production, attitude, and temperament.

Sales teams are no different. Hiring managers and team leaders know all too well how big an investment a new salesperson is. And they also know how disastrous it can be if that new hire ends up being a bust.

For sales teams, the farm system can help identify, develop, and prepare college students for the big leagues in sales.

This novel approach to an outsourced sales team works by recruiting and developing elite talent from universities to perform entry-level sales tasks year-round.

What a Sales Farm System Is Not

Many companies might equate a Sales Farm System with a traditional internship program. And while there are many advantages to offering internships, a three-month trial is not enough time to assess a sales professional’s true ability and whether they’re worth investing in.

Most minor leaguers take a few seasons to develop. Making decisions based on three months can leave you with an imperfect picture of their abilities. It can lead you to pass on the valuable talent that hasn’t developed yet, or invest in talent that may not truly be worth it.

A Sales Farm System helps you recruit and onboard top talent while simultaneously offering valuable, revenue-generating production year-round.

How to Build a Sales Farm System

To build a farm team, it is essential to build an entry-level sales campaign that provides long-term value. This includes B2B lead research, setting appointments and meetings, and/or booking demos of the company’s products and services.

The goal is to fill the calendars of Account Executives, test new product/service lines, and engage in messaging and outreach techniques that can be adopted by the company’s internal team.

Depending on a company’s needs, the farm team would consist of part-time college students who have either completed a company’s summer internship program or would be recruited specifically for the farm system.

The farm team promotes company loyalty and offers a highly valuable lead-generating service to grow a company’s revenue.

This experience enhances students’ understanding of the company’s values, products, and services while teaching them much needed communication skills.

Once a college student is fully engaged in a company’s campaign, they quickly develop their skills and knowledge.

The successful students who get promoted from the farm system to a full-time position with the company will perform at a higher level, having already immersed themselves in the company’s campaign for one to two years.

If you don’t want to invest in creating a farm system yourself, there are also companies that focus on building these teams in an outsourced environment.

With inroads to multiple university communities, they have diverse recruiting channels that find the best candidates earlier in the process.

Don’t Settle for Status Quo

The pandemic upended the way companies recruit students and recent graduates. Rather than returning to the traditional sales recruiting strategy — traveling to campuses across the country — take this opportunity to experiment with a new approach that will limit spending on recruiting, develop a fertile recruiting ground for top talent, and drive revenue for your company.

Recruiting college graduates is a necessity in today’s employment market. They are eager to learn, quick to adapt, and open to criticism. Although a college student will gain valuable knowledge with their university degree, it is not a predictor of sales success.

Rather than dumping endless resources into the traditional entry-level sales recruitment channels, there is an alternative — invest in a sales farm system on university campuses to build an outsourced sales team.

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Victoria Zamitalo

Campaign Manager

Victoria received a BA in History and Economics from the University of Florida in May 2023. She is a driven sales professional with over 5 years combined experience in customer service, consumer relations and outbound sales, and is deeply passionate about fostering close relationships between consumers and sellers. She aims to train the next generation of sales professionals in not only the tricks of the trade, but also interpersonal skills that make sales the exciting and ever-changing industry that it is.

Mia Semel

Campaign Manager

Before graduating with a B.A. in Sustainability Studies, Mia took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, recruiting, and leading campaigns. She is an active listener and effective communicator, specializing in fostering genuine connections and finding common ground among differing perspectives. She aims to find practical, creative solutions regarding sustainable development, biodiversity and the climate crisis.

Kira Grieve

Senior Campaign Manager

Kira graduated from the University of Florida and received her Master of Science in Entrepreneurship. She is passionate about helping businesses grow and connecting with new people. Some of her hobbies include traveling and hiking. She hopes to visit all of the National Parks one day!

Jared Glosser

Vice President

After graduating from UF in 2014 with a B.A. in history, Jared started his professional career Fundraising for a non-partisan political lobby in South Florida. In 2016, Jared moved back to Gainesville to work for a non-profit, recruit students for international travel opportunities, and pursue his MBA at UF. Jared has been with The Selling Factory since 2019 focusing on operations, client onboarding, and client success.

Ian Massenburg

Chief Operating Officer

A graduate of University of Florida (B.A. 2001), Ian Massenburg brings over 18 years of sales executive and sales management experience to The Selling Factory. Before coming on-board, Ian worked alongside Brad at Infinite Energy, and then spent his next 3 years as VP of Partnerships selling SaaS products B2B. Ian brings his vast knowledge and experience to the team and to our partner companies served.

Damien Paulk

Campaign Manager

Damien is a University of Florida graduate that recently joined the team full time after working as a Sales Development Intern for one year. As a Campaign Manager, Damien looks forward to contributing to the growth and success of The Selling Factory. When Damien is not at work he enjoys exploring Gainesville with his girlfriend and dog or watching the Gators dominate college football.

Brendan Viehman

Campaign Manager

Brendan graduated from Liberty University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Project Management. For the past 5 years, he has enjoyed working with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency development. In his free time, he surfs and makes personal finance videos for his YouTube channel.

Savannah Howard

Campaign Manager

A graduate from the University of Florida’s College of Journalism and Communications, Savannah obtained her Bachelor of Science in public relations with a concentration in French. After almost two years as a sales development intern for The Selling Factory, she joined the leadership team in 2021 taking on the role of Campaign Manager. In her free time, Savannah enjoys going to concerts and festivals and cooking for her friends and family.

Zack Kampf

Campaign Manager

Zack is a creative technologist with experience in advertising, event planning, and game design. He started as an SDR in 2018 and has been with TSF ever since. Upon graduating UF in 2019 he became a campaign manager and is currently seeking a master's degree from NYU. In his spare time, you can find him at the intersection of Art & Technology!

Josiah Blakemore

Growth Manager

Josiah has over 10 years of sales experience, worked with Brad and Ian at Infinite Energy, and also spent time selling SaaS as Director of Partnerships at SharpSpring. He’s always been very competitive and has a love for sports and games. He enjoys solving problems and coaching team members to do the same!

Sue-Ming Frauenhofer

Marketing Manager

Sue-Ming received both her B.S. in Psychology and M.S. in Management from The University of Florida. As a student, she took on multiple roles while interning at The Selling Factory, including sales development, marketing, and recruiting, eventually leading to her current role as Marketing Manager. She enjoys refining her taste in music and visual art, engaging in mindfulness and meditative practices, and frolicking outside with her sidekick pup.

Adam Grossman

Chief Development Officer

Adam is an ordained rabbi, who has founded multiple ventures focused on workforce development. Hired as CEO by a failing non-profit, in over 5 years, his ingenuity saved the organization, which led to recognize it as one of North America’s most innovative Jewish non-profits. His expertise to identify, cultivate, and on-board talent ensures our student teams meet our partners’ needs.

Brad Gamble

Chief Executive Officer

After graduating from UF in 1999 with a B.S.B.A, Brad Gamble has dedicated himself to sales management, branding, coaching, and building companies. He served as the VP of Sales & Marketing for Infinite Energy until 2014, when he founded The Selling Factory. He has dedicated himself to teaching critical skills to tomorrow’s leaders, and helping companies achieve sales success and revenue growth.