There are several options for hiring a sale professional when realtionship and connection within the industry take priority over sales skill, experience or talent. These include industry trade journals, networking at industry events and running targeted direct marketing.
These are my top recommendations:
Engage a Recruiter: An effective recruiter will identify individuals in the market who fit your desired profile and then reach out to them. many may not be activly seeking employment, but are enticed by the proposition of working with your company.
Do the work of a recruiter yourself: Identify the individuals that are in the position that you are trying to fill for your competitors. Look on profile sites like LinkedIn to get their information. Contact them. Ask them if they would consider an employment opportunity.
But the most important way
For either of these reccomendations to succeed your company must be extrodinariliy competative. The sucess of your company may reside in your ability to attract the top sales talent. Take that into consideration as you put together the package of compensation you are willing to offer. If someone experiences could bring in X revenue -- make sure that the comepensation package reflects that.
In an established company the projection of revenue for a commission-based sales person can be largly established. In a startup the risk for the sales person is considerable greater-- and the compensation package must take this into consideration. the ramp-up to performance time will be much longer as new accounts are being developed-- and the compensation package must take this into consideration.
And even more than compensation is the job description, roles and responsibility. The feedback from the customers delivered by he sale person on product development will be much greater -- and the job responsibilities must reflect that. The marketing and sales support material have not been market tested, and the sales person will need to be involved in improvement and enhancement -- and the job role and support for that role must be reflected in the package you are prepared to offer.
To attract top talent you must be prepared to pay more than the prevailing wage -- you need to have a compensation package which can catch their attention, and motivate their consideration of your company.