Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Recruiting Cheap Could Be Costly

You've all heard the saying “you have to spend money to make money” and this is more often the case when it comes to your sales staff. I come across businesses quite often that either want to recruit sales staff on “Commission Only” or a 8k basic, 150k OTE!!!, however this mentality could actually cost you more in the long run.

Commission Only – It may seem like a cost effective way of increasing your sales team but very rarely does it work out that way. It can work in some industries, and is normally only when the salesperson can be compensated quickly upon making a sale, however it is not the case with the longer and more common sales cycles, complex sales where it takes time to build your pipeline and win the bigger deals. Going down the “Commission Only” route costs you time and that time is going to cost you money.
Low Basic, High OTE – It can be tempting for companies to go with the low basic, high commission strategy. This strategy will almost certainly cost you more. Getting the remuneration plans right is not simply paying the lowest basic you can get away with paying, if this prevents you from hiring the best talent you need to compete and win, it’s an expensive sales force. You can put in a lot of effort, time and money without producing results.
A top salesperson will not want to work for either of the above, they want the security of a good basic package whilst having an uncapped commission scheme to really motivate them and drive them towards the bigger deals. This doesn't mean you should pay any price for the talent you need, getting the right talent requires the right recruitment process. You can’t build a professional sales force without making the necessary investment. The cheaper you are investing in your Sales force, the worse your sales will be.
Get your recruitment right first time, choose your recruitment partner carefully and it will save you time and money.

Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Office Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 3 years after having a career with the RAF; Liam has helped hundreds of Sales Professionals secure a new Sales role and ensures that Aaron Wallis runs smoothly.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Was Life Better For Teenagers Growing Up In The Eighties?

Do you wish you were a teenager growing up now instead of in the 80’s?” This was a question my fifteen year old daughter asked me recently and I found myself answering “No!” without a moment’s hesitation, as despite the technological advances that in many ways have made our lives easier, in so many other ways I think life as a teenager was better 30 years ago.

Today’s teenagers cannot make mistakes in the same way that we used to, no longer are they able to wake up after a party and cringe at the events of the night before in the privacy of their own bedroom. Now they are likely to wake up to every embarrassing detail being shared on Twitter and Facebook for all to see and comment on.

It is little wonder  that the Pastoral Care Officer at my daughter’s school now spends 90% of her time dealing with issues arising from social media -  all it takes is an unflattering photograph or video to be posted and before you know it some poor unsuspecting girl is being branded ‘ugly’ (or worse) for all to see. As parents we feel completely unprepared for handling these kind of situations, in our day it might have been a few nasty comments behind your back but now the humiliation (even by total strangers) is all so public and children growing up today need to be incredibly strong  to rise above it.

The result of this is that teenagers may feel that they have to be ‘on their guard’ when they start socialising which is something that we never had to worry about and in some ways is very sad. I am glad that I was able to grow up at my own pace, make mistakes and learn from them, knowing that the only person who would really know about my past was me (or those I chose to tell).

“So what else was better about growing up in the 80’s?” my daughter asked me. Well the job market for a start. I left school with ten O’ levels and two A’ levels and decided I wanted to work in a bank. I applied to Barclays, Natwest, Lloyds and Midland bank and was offered jobs at all of them, it was simply a case of deciding which one I liked the best. Even my friends who went to Uni came out with no debt and the promise of a good job at the end of their degree.

Now the competition is so fierce, even to get onto a good degree course, that the best Universities are looking at GCSE results and wanting students who are high achievers in all areas of life. The pressure to make the right choices, right from Year 9 when you are choosing which GCSE’s to study, is intense as it could affect your whole future in a way which we never had to worry about thirty years ago.

Even if you can get a decent job after completing your degree (rather than ending up working in a call centre or on a supermarket checkout), what are the chances of you ever being able to afford to get on the property ladder? We had to save hard for a year or so in our early twenties to be able to buy our first flat (it cost us £46,000 and we needed a £2300 deposit) but I never remember feeling concerned that it was something we couldn’t easily achieve.

Recently my nephew was able to buy his first home after working and living at home with his parents for many years, his flat cost £183,000 and he needed to save a £9150 deposit. For many young graduates coming out of University with thousands of pounds worth of debt and little prospect of walking into a well-paid job, the likelihood is that they will either be living with their parents or renting for a very long time.


So whilst today’s teenagers can download music instantly (rather than waiting with the cassette player on record on a Sunday night), view photographs instantly (rather than waiting weeks for their films to be developed at Borehamwood) and have information at their fingertips online (at the expense of learning to conduct research properly using a book), I would far rather have grown up in the 80’s as I think our generation had the kind of start in life which has given us the skills and work ethic to go out into the world of business and be high achievers .

Monday, 20 January 2014

The Tides They are a Changin'...


I’ve been in recruitment long enough to see several cycles of it being an ‘employer driven market’ and a ‘candidate driven market’.  We’re in a really interesting situation at the moment where employers think they ‘still hold the cards’ whereas the truth is that good candidates have a wealth of opportunities at their fingertips and truly are the ones that are ‘calling the shots’.
Particularly, in London, which let’s face it is an economy in its own right, the ‘fight for talent’ is as ferocious as it was in those heady years of 2004-2007.  We have seen candidates register on the Monday and be placed in a role before the week was out, and the majority of our candidates at a final interview stage have two or three opportunities to choose from.  In addition, we have also lost out on a couple of opportunities as employers dragged their heels in confirming the offer details in writing.

So what can employers do to ensure that they hire the best talent to their required timescales?

1) WORK TO A PLAN: A free checklist to ensure a well thought out plan is executed can be found here: http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/Recruitment-Plan-Template.aspx

2) LOOK OUTSIDE THE OBVIOUS: I’ve spent the last five years trying to educate employers that recruiting from a competitor is not a great long-term move.  Think of it logically – would you move from ‘Company A’ to ‘Company B’ for exactly the same role for perhaps a few more quid?  It’s unrealistic.  So, employers need to look once again outside of the obvious.  In sales, it’s all about ‘routes to market’ – if someone sells a product through distribution, they will be able to sell your product, with product training, through distribution.  If someone sells a product into retailers, they will, with training, be able to sell your product into retailers.  If you are willing to flex on a candidate from an aligned company, you can then look for far greater qualities like i) can they sell, ii) are they a team fit iii) do they have the potential to develop in my organisation.  Subsequently you can target candidates from a pool of several hundred rather than ten to ensure you recruit the right person for your business.
3) YOU ALSO HAVE TO SELL AT INTERVIEW: Ensure that you sell your business, your role and the opportunity to candidates at the first-stage  interview.  More advice and a video on the ‘Importance of Selling to Candidates’ can be found here: http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/how-to-not-lose-the-best-candidates.aspx
 
4) MOVE QUICKLY PART ONE: Arrange to meet your selected candidates within a few days of the CV being received.  If you meet someone at first interview that you want to move forward to the next stage then ensure that it happens within five working days.  I appreciate that everyone’s diary is busy but with the ability to Skype and so forth your director’s availability should no longer be an excuse.  If this is just an impossibility and the delay is going to be more than five days, then add an additional telephone interview stage in-between the first and second meetings.  This will keep the momentum going and ensure that the candidate remains engaged into your recruitment process.
5) MOVE QUICKLY PART TWO: Regardless of your company policy a successful applicant will expect a bullet pointed overview of the offer within two days.  Like yourself,  all sales people like decisive people!  Request that the candidate agrees in principle to the offer in writing by return.  If there is a delay in the response, you could be looking at a problem, but at least you will know about it sooner rather than later.  Then work with the recruiter, or the candidate directly, to get the start date confirmed as soon as possible and attempt to reduce the notice period to get them into your business sooner.
6) THE BIGGEST FALLACY OF ALL WHEN RECRUITING: “Well if he wasn’t prepared to wait three weeks for the final interview to meet with our very busy Managing Director then he evidently wasn’t the right candidate for our organisation”.  You can justify it to yourself all you like but good sales candidates want to work for well directed, decisive and driven organisations that know what they want, where they are going and what they need to get there.  This is now a candidate driven market again and you need to follow the above steps.
Hope that this helps to ensure that you do not lose out on the best sales talent