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When Hiring More Isn't Enough To Scale Sales Teams

Posted by Carole Mahoney on 10/15/21 9:54 PM
When Hiring More Isn't Enough To Scale Sales Teams

The urgency for us to make more money isn't as much a priority as it once was. And for those workers, it's time for a change and they feel like, they need to rejuvenate themselves.

It's been hot out here. Almost as hot as the topic that's been on the minds of a lot of the sales and business leaders that I've been talking with so far this year and that that's the "war on talent", at least, that's what they're calling it.

I mean, you see it too, right? Every store, every shop, every business I drive by is trying to hire right now. So how do you compete against all these larger companies with more cash to spend on things…Like, you know, cool office spaces and extra bonuses. Now before you decide on how to win this so-called war for talent, let's take a moment and consider how we got here.

Before the pandemic, everyone was in constant competition for the best talent.

Then once the pandemic hit and people were getting let go in droves, most employees had that shelter-in-place mindset. Very thankful that they even had a job and even felt a little bit guilty that they did have a job and many of their co-workers didn't.

So, they took pay cuts, and they took extra responsibilities all while managing this working from home dynamic, can you imagine having to do that with a young family? Still, who's going to want to take the risk of moving to another job and possibly get laid off? Not even a pay increase is going to be worth the hassle or the risk.

Now, with more people getting vaccinated and businesses getting opened up. The risk of layoffs is a lot lower. A lot of us, have gotten used to staying at home or with our families & spending less money.

So, we've saved up a lot of money.

The urgency for us to make more money isn't as much a priority as it once was. And we've all heard the reports on worker burnout and mental health, issues, and isolation over the past year. And for those workers, it's time for a change and they feel like, they need to rejuvenate themselves.

Others feel like their skill sets have atrophied, and they need a new challenge now, according to research that was commissioned by the Achievers Workforce Institute, 35% of people are looking to get back into the job market and they're looking for better compensation and benefits and 25%, they want that better work-life balance. The survey also showed that 52% of them are looking for a new job which is certainly up from last year.

Now, that's also consistent with what I've seen is that the Society of Human Resource Management or SHRM survey, where they share that half of employees in America are planning to look for a new job, this year. And that a quarter of those people are planning to quit outright once COVID subsides and the recruiting efforts ramp up and that's where we are now.

Now, consider how we got here and how workers are feeling and what they're looking for. How can you optimize your hiring process and your employee retention strategies? 

Well, here's three things that you can do as a sales or business leader to work through the war on talent.

I mean first, let's talk about retention because I mean, what's the point in filling up a leaky bucket? I just finished reading Meredith Elliott's Powell book, “Thrive, strategies for turning uncertainty into a competitive advantage.”. 

She shares how her centuries-old family survived and thrived through pandemics and depressions and wars and it all came down to having a loyal team. Now to do that, you have to build meaningful relationships with your team members. You can't do that if you don't know, them and really know what matters to them. What motivates them, what do they hope for in the future? And what does all this mean to them in their shoes and their world? And how can you help make it better for them?

Now you're gonna have to check out the book for all the strategies that she recommends but I will share one with you that I have been encouraging sales and business leaders to do for-- well nearly a decade now - and that's targeted development. 

Targeted Development

Targeted development or customized development with the adult learning theory in mind is a way for you to build up loyalty with your team to show them that you're on their side that you have their back that you can trust them to make the best decisions for your customers. And that they’re really a part of something that's bigger than themselves.

It starts though by understanding your employees’ motivations and their personal goals.

And then being able to communicate, how your business purpose, your values, and your mission, align with their goals, See, then if you do an objective assessment of their strengths and their weaknesses to analyze the development that they need to reach those goals, you've won a loyal team player. 

Consistent Coaching and Resources

And when you provide that consistent coaching and resources, that they need to remove the obstacles, they start to gain confidence as they make progress. Sounds simple, right? But if you take this approach and make it happen consistently. Instead, development happens, when things don't go right-- when they don't go as planned. And that's when it gets perceived as a judgment, punishment. 

And that's killing your employee retention. Because according to a survey of workers done by the Prudential Financial Group, 26% of those workers who have been sheltering in place are planning to go elsewhere and out of those 26% 80% say they're concerned about their career growth plus 72% of those who are planning to leave are rethinking their skillset. And 6 and 10 have sought out outside skills to get those skills on their own. 

But a big reason for the turnover, it's not just compensation or even obtaining new skills. It's a flexible work schedule, with mobile and remote work opportunities, employers who are trying to force their employees, back into an office will likely lose, 26% of them. There's just, there's no going back to normal anymore. 

Employees have evolved in how they see work and employers need to do the same.

Now, according to that same Prudential report 73% of workers, said flexibility and remote work are a benefit and for current employees who are working from home now-83% of them say they want to keep it that way. I can certainly understand how they feel. There's no way you're getting me into an office anymore, but here's the thing: if employers don't listen 42% of your employees say that they're going to go look for a company that does.

Do you still think that a bigger company with a cool new office is going to beat you out for talent? Might be time to reconsider that one. 

This brings me to my final tip for you to win this war on talent: Have a clear and concise profile of who you're hiring for.

Now, in addition to the two retention strategies that I just mentioned-in sales, you've got to have a clear and concise profile of who you're hiring for. What I see happen is that most companies will just automatically hire sellers from their biggest competitors or, an experienced top seller.

What typically happens is the seller who was on top, at another company will not be as successful elsewhere because it's a different product. Different value proposition, different price point, different buyer, and you're a different company.

Now when you're clear on the attitudes and aptitudes and skills that a seller needs to be successful in your company with your buyer and your products, it becomes a lot clearer as to how to attract the best person. Not just the next person who's available to fill a role.

For example, I work with a lot of SaaS technology companies.

And they are all hiring. And out of the dozen that I'm helping to hire right now, we're trying to get those new hires in. None of them are hiring the same person, none of them, even those who have multiple departments in the same company, aren't hiring the same person. 

Now, some of these companies are smaller companies and they work remotely and they're worried that they're going to lose out to larger companies with these cool new great big office spaces. I’m telling you though, it's apples and oranges, the person who's going to thrive in your environment may not be a fit in another. So, focus on attracting the one that you want for your environment. 

If they want to be on-site and in the office and have that type of hyper culture, it's not the employee for you, it's not going to be the right fit for your organization. So why do pretend to be something that you're not? They're going to figure it out soon enough.

What Sales Can Learn

Now there's a lot that goes into how to keep and attract and hire the best sellers and talent and in the next episode of What Sales Can Learn. I'm going to dive into it even more, and I hope that you'll join me and my special guest Heather Hawkins.

Now, Heather is my next-door neighbor, and has worked in employee relations, and major health organizations, and MIT. She's going to share some of the fundamental strategies for employee engagement and relations from what she's learned over the last 40 years.

Together, we're going to give you some actionable insights and strategies on how to attract the best-fit sales talent to your organizations and how to retain them. And if you're a seller who's looking for your next work-from-home opportunity, listen in and learn what you should look for and ask about in your job searches.

So, until next time, keep learning, keep growing, and keep sharing out there.


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Topics: recruiting