2 min read

Leveraging Influence and Association to Recruit Great Salespeople

While the known brands in your category take the lazy route and rely on their name recognition, you can do things that actually impact your audience.

60-second read

If you’re a high-growth startup competing with big brands for sales talent, you have to think differently about how you market yourself to highly skilled candidates.

Here’s an easy influencer play that will allow you to tap into targeted candidate groups while building your brand credibility:

Have your Head of Sales host a series (podcast, webinar, whatever) where they interview the top SMEs in their space and jam on industry trends and topical issues.

Important: DO NOT TALK ABOUT YOUR COMPANY. This is about building brand through association and contribution to your industry. Detach from outcomes and you will see results.

Bottom line: Associating your company with influencers has the potential to take your startup from being largely unknown to being one of the most credible shops in your category.

Accept the fact that a) most startups more or less sound the same to the outside world, and b) it’s likely that nobody knows who in the hell you are.

If you don’t have brand cred in your space, you need to build it. This is one of the fastest ways.

The process is simple:

  1. Line up interviews with industry leaders.
  2. Record these conversations over Zoom. (You can even host them as private, invite-only webinars for your highest quality recruiting prospects.)
  3. Strip the audio for a podcast.
  4. Find 3+ video clips for the guest to share on their own social following the interview.
  5. Give this content to your recruiters to distribute via outbound messages.

Side note: Most influencers already have their own podcasts. And most cross-post interviews that they’re on. They have a larger audience than you. This is a major win.

None of this is rocket science. And it's certainly not a new idea.

The execution is easy. The hard part is making this a priority.

There’s so much talk about building your employer brand. And most ideas are overly complicated, time-consuming, and ineffective.

This is the opposite. This is leveraging what already exists—with little to no budget.

BTW, you can replicate this model across marketing, engineering, and any other high-priority functions.

The 2.0 version: Turn your Head of Sales into an industry thought leader.

  • Give them their own newsletter, their own podcast, and their own creative resources (aka a freelance video editor) to turn content out at scale.
  • Put PR juice behind them to get them on influential podcasts in your space.
  • Get them owning your category on LinkedIn.

Function leaders as SMEs are recruiting gold. Do this well and your Sales leader will become your inbound recruiting engine.

While the known brands in your category take the lazy route and rely on their name recognition, you can do things that actually impact your audience.


Marketers — Stop the eye-rolling. I know you’ve been doing this kind of stuff for a while now. But as far as talent marketing goes, this is uncharted territory.

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