Thursday, 13 July 2017

How To Ensure Your Chosen Candidate Doesn’t Accept A Counter Offer





Employment for those aged between 16-64 is at its highest since records began in 1971, and unemployment at its lowest since 1975*. As of such anyone looking to grow their business, and hire talent is faced with the difficulty that pools of available talent are depleting, and contest for for ideal candidates is high.

So when you find great talent and make them an offer, the last thing you want is their previous employer to play a counter offer, and you to lose that perfect team member. Counter offers often utilize competitive financial packages, personal relationships, and taking advantage of known vulnerabilities.

To avoid, what may seem like inevitable, bidding wars over rare talent we’ve compiled a few tips on how to prevent potential employees accepting counter offers – winning your candidate with an offer they can’t refuse.

1. Offer the Correct Salary

You are excited about having the candidate who offers bags of potential on board, but then you crunch the numbers and offer a salary that is similar or less than what they are receiving now. Offering a candidate a lower amount on the salary range is insulting for top talent, and it wastes everyone’s time.

While financial incentives may not drive a candidate, it’s almost guaranteed that a counter offer will be better in comparison - and likely would be the decider. If you’ve found the right person for your business, don’t skimp, or you’ll fall at the final hurdle.

2. Be Unique
However, if you know you’re unable to match a candidate’s current salary, that doesn’t mean that you can’t secure the talent. You can win over the candidate by offering a unique, and interesting set of benefits to your employee – how can you stand out from other employers?

Consider what you can offer over competitors: will the candidate experience working with exceptional businesses and fantastic clients? Do you have a social work environment, with outings? Highlight how you’re not offering a simple job but a career opportunity. Whatever you do best, sell it to your candidate and make it incomparable.

3. Let your Recruiter Help


A recruitment company can fight the counter offer battle with you. Recruiters hold the candidate’s hand throughout the whole process and are seen as impartial – positioning themselves as pursuing the candidates best interests. Recruiters are the friendly face that can help candidates after a tough resignation and will be there to listen to their offer dilemmas.

Recruiters offer invaluable aid through conducting role play, or discussing counter offers with candidates – helping them reason through their decision, and explaining why accepting counter-offers is often unwise, due to the displayed disloyalty to the original company, or highlighting the strengths of your business.

With a recruiter on your team, you have extremely beneficial insight into the candidates mind, and far more security against a counter offer.


4. Don't Be Afraid to Discuss Counter Offers


There is no point avoiding the elephant in the room. It is acceptable to discuss counter offers in the interview stage, it will help to open the mind of the candidate and will allow both you, and the candidate to prepare for the situation. Ask how their organisation handle resignations, which will mean they are ready for the scenario when it happens to them, and they know you’re aware of it too.

Another question to ask in the interview is why they want to move on, by having this knowledge you can use this to counteract if a counter offer sways them, it also helps you to create an offer that is tailored to their requirements.

5. Get Commitment on a Start Date


Having a start date imprinted in the candidate’s mind gives them time to prepare their notice, and forms a sense of commitment. Knowing when the candidate plans to hand their notice in means you can offer friendly moral support afterwards. Offering a friendly ear without pushing the candidate into a decision shows what a caring employer you are, which shines in your favour.

6. Plan Progression
The majority of candidates that come to you are looking for a future, not a job. If they’re considering moving on, they may feel like they are stagnating – take advantage of this and outline progression routes.

Offering a six-month performance review from the outset, evidence your commitment to their future. Don’t do this after a counter offer, make sure you are ahead of the game and are already forward-planning for their career.

7. Stay in Touch

Send press releases, newsletters and emails about upcoming business events, or simply call just to say hello. Make the candidate feel welcome, and like they belong.

An excellent way to get them mentally involved in your organisation is to ask their opinion about a business matter, so they feel their opinion is valuable. With this attitude, your new talent will look forward to joining your team.

8. Be Realistic


Finally, with every job offer, it is important to be realistic. Change is a difficult process for many people, and a comfortable old job with added counter offer benefits can be difficult to say no to. Don’t be defeatist, but be ready to accept that counter offers do happen – don’t pin all hopes on one person, and make sure to search for, and consider, multiple candidates. 

For more advice on recruiting the best sales professionals, or to get recruit the top candidates visit our website.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Most Common Sales Roles and the Salary you should expect to pay

According to a candidate survey from totaljobs, 66% of candidates say that salary is what attracts them to a company; this makes it very important for Employers to understand the going rate for the most common sales jobs. Below you will be able to see the most common sales roles and the salary you should expect to pay.

Internal Sales - Internal Sales roles can be a combination of sales, marketing and general administration. The role can often expose you to many different sales and marketing skills and as such an internal sales role can be a great starting point for a career in sales. Salaries are typically £16k - £22k.
Telesales - Encompassing telemarketing, appointment setting, and incoming sales to complex technical solutions sold via the telephone. Often the roles support or 'buddy' with a field sales professional.  Salaries range from £14K to £28K.  Sometimes the 'on target earnings' or OTE is double the basic so the potential to earn can be extremely high.
Field Sales Executive – This is the most common field sales role which is a client facing role and a mix of new business generation and account management.Typical basic salaries are £20K to £32K.

Account Manager Jobs - Usually a field sales or client facing role where you are tasked with maintaining accounts and increasing the account spend. Salaries range from £18K to £70K although typically are in the £24K - £34K bracket.

Business Development Manager Jobs - A more sophisticated new business orientated sales role where accounts are strategically targeted and are normally high valued. Perhaps targeting clients where some business is already being done and the objective is to leverage the account. Salaries are typically £32K - £55K basic salaries.

Channel Sales/Distributor Sales - Selling product through a distribution or wholesale chain the role is often introducing new products, product training, encouraging the distribution staff to sell your product over competitors, setting incentives, etc. Salaries range from £25K to around £45K.

Regional Sales Management/Field Sales Manager -  Managing a team of field based sales professionals this is a people management role where you will mentor, drive and develop your sales team to greater success. Normally your bonus is based upon their performance. Salaries typically range from £32K to £50K.

Sales Manager A hands on management role ensuring that your team are trained and motivated to succeed. Usually you are remunerated on your team hitting their sales performance targets and key performance indicators (KPI's). The role normally has a heavy element of administration - sales forecasting, sales appraisals, etc. Salaries range from £35K to £80K.

Field Sales Engineer - Sales Engineer roles vary widely from component sales to hugely complicated project led solution sales roles. At the more complex end an engineering/science/mathematics qualification is often required and the sale is often won by your technical abilities rather than your sales skills. Salaries range from £22K - £45KBasic.

Pre-sales or Technical sales support - Normally in technical, engineering or IT sectors your role is to support the sales team from a technical capacity in order to 'close the deal'.The role varies enormously between companies as do the salaries as they range from £16K - £60K and sometimes the role is titled Applications Engineer.

Export Sales and International Sales - Selling outside of the UK.  Representing UK manufactured products (or more normally US or Chinese manufactured products!) overseas. From the UK this is typically into Europe or EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa). Languages and knowledge of customs/cultures are normally required. Salaries range from £25K to £55K Basic.

Sales Director - As Sales Director you are ultimately responsible for all of the commercial aspects of an organisation - bids, tenders, costing, estimating, marketing, etc. Dependent on the size of the business it could be a largely 'desk job' analysing data and performance to a very hands on people management role. Salaries range from £50K to £140K dependent on the size of the business and the industry sector.

Written by Liam Oakes



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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

The Need to Move Quickly in a Candidate Driven Market

A lot has changed in the since the 'Great Recession' in 2008-09, especially in the 'job market' and many employers have realised the ‘hard way’ that they no longer ‘hold all of the cards’

Whilst there used to be lots of competition for jobs, with clients able to pick and be spoilt for choice, this is no longer the case. Gone are the days of slowly shifting to a candidate driven market over seven year cycles; it is here and, despite Brexit, the Scottish Referendum and other distractions, it has been here since before at least 2012. 

Candidates have a lot of power and are able to 'flex their muscles' when looking for a new role. This means bad news for sluggish hirers as the talent they seek to acquire are receiving multiple job offers in a very short space of time. In addition to that, latest research from ‘Consol Partners’ show that at least 80% of candidates accept the first job offer that they receive. 

This makes it vitally important for all employers to move quickly when recruiting and here’s some straightforward tips to help you speed up your process.

Write A Clear Job Description – This may sound simple but often employers interview candidates that meet their criteria but don’t realise it. They’ve aimed for a target that they haven’t defined and without a job spec they didn’t grasp that they’d actually met their perfect candidate! Several weeks later, after meeting several further candidates that didn’t meet that benchmark, they return to offer the original candidate. Surprise, surprise their perfect candidate has been recruited elsewhere. Save yourself time, and lost opportunity, by having the criteria to recruit against from the outset. Advice on writing job specifications can be found in our Recruitment Plan Template

Agree the Time-frame – Set out an agreed time-frame with colleagues for your recruitment process. Check out our Recruitment Checklist for advice.

Are the Decision Makers there? Be aware of the availability of colleagues involved in your recruitment process. Check their diaries and ‘pencil in’ agreed dates for all interview stages.

Make Quick Decisions Against Agreed Criteria – Don’t take days/weeks to decide if a candidate is the right fit, try to sit down straight after the interview to decide while the candidate is still fresh in your mind.

Trust Your Gut – Hiring decisions need to be a combination of both insight and instinct. Aaron Wallis can help employers add effective recruiting tools into their service which do not necessarily prolong a hiring process. Waiting for references can potentially add another week to the hiring process. We recommend making verbal offers, ‘subject to references’ to ensure that you do not miss out on your perfect candidate.

Shorten the Process – Try not to drag out the process to more than 1st and 2nd interviews, any more than this and the candidate is already likely to have received an offer elsewhere.

Communicate – Things happen in business that ‘blur’ a recruitment process, we get that. However, if you don’t inform candidates that there is a delay, with valid reasons, then they’ll simply assume that you’ve recruited elsewhere.

Moving quickly is likely to be the difference in securing the best talent and it could save you a lot of time, and lost opportunity, in the process.

Written by Liam Oakes
Liam.oakes@aaronwallis.co.uk
www.aaronwallis.co.uk


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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

The Importance of Closing at a Sales Interview

When asked, “Do you have any questions” at the end of the interview, it is the opportune time to close.  This truly can make all the difference as to whether you get the job, or not.
A colleague recently sat alongside a client during five interviews, and only one closed at the end; I bet you can guess which one stood out and moved onto a second interview.

How to Prepare for a Close
Before your interview ensure that you prepare how you’re going to close but in a straightforward way. Prepare the closing questions that you’re going to ask and ask a friend if to roleplay them with you. You may get taken off in a different direction by the interviewer so have that in mind. By the time you get to the interview you will be confident and ready to close at the right moment.

Why You Should Close?
You would never leave a sales meeting without agreeing the next steps forward, would you? Every sales interview is a sales meeting. Sales professionals must be able to close deals so closing at an interview shows the potential employer you are confident and willing to close when you start the job. Be that individual who stands out by making sure you close.

When to Close
You will feel the meeting is heading towards a natural end; the questions are not so intense and there may be a glance at the watch, it will be instinctive, and you should start thinking about what you’re going to say in your close. In almost all interviews the interviewer will ask if you have any questions, this is the ideal time to close.

How to Close
Once you have made your points about why you are the perfect candidate for the role and mastered any objections from the interviewer, you have to overcome the final hurdle of closing the interview. The minimum you should be asking is what the next step in the process is and how long the process is likely to be. You should also be asking how many candidates are in the process, and if you feel it has gone really well, be direct and ask if you have got a second interview or even ‘have I got the role’!

You should always look to 'leave your mark' on the interviewer. Make them aware you have enjoyed the meeting and reiterate your interest in the vacancy, don’t just get up and go!

Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 5 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.




Thursday, 7 July 2016

How to Resign and Leave Your Current Sales Job on Good Terms

So you’ve managed to secure yourself a new role, but dreading telling your current employer that you are resigning. This is, for some, a great opportunity to tell your boss “where to stick it” but for others, it can be a nerve-wracking process that can drag on longer than needed.

Make the Correct Decision
Firstly, make sure that your new job offer is the correct decision for you. Make a list of the reasons you wanted to look elsewhere in the first place and ask the question “have I explored all possible routes with my current firm”. Ultimately, you have to do what is right for you and your family.

Preparing to Resign
If you’re completely happy about your decision to move on, you will need to be prepared and act with professionalism. Make sure you have your job offer ‘set in stone’, and in writing, from the new employer and that you’re happy with the offer details which has been agreed.

Check your existing contract and make sure that you know the contractual facts on your notice period. Finally prepare your explanation for wanting to move on so you can anticipate any relevant questions.

Think of the Future
The sales industry is a small world, and as much as you may be one of those candidates who can’t wait to tell your boss you’re resigning, it is imperative you do it in a professional manner. You may not have been treated fairly, or just didn’t see ‘eye to eye’, but be ‘the bigger person’ and leave with your head held high.

Meeting With Your Manager
Choose a quiet and convenient time to meet with your manager and explain your reasons for wanting to move on. Mention the positives of your time within their employment as your employer may well be an important reference point for you later down your career. Give them a notice of your meeting request, prepare your letter of resignation and detail how you are prepared to offer a smooth handover during your notice period.

Submitting a Resignation Letter
This is a great opportunity to note your reasons for leaving but in a controlled manner. Be sure to include your name, date, the person that it’s addressed to, notice of termination of employment and your signature. Keep it positive as this is the last reflection, on their personnel record, of you as a person.

Counter Offer
Be prepared for a ‘counter offer’.  If you’re not wholly unhappy and your decision to leave was solely based upon money, then this could be an ideal scenario.  However, once your employer knows you were looking to leave, it could have implications in the future, and you may have rejected an opportunity that you will later regret. Refer to your notes on why you have chosen to resign in the first place to ensure that you have the ‘peace of mind’ that you’ve taken to the right decision and have the steely nerve to reject any counter offers.
If you follow these basic steps of resignation, you should leave on a positive note and stand a strong chance of a good reference for future employment whilst maintaining a professional reputation. You may bump into colleagues later down the line so you don’t want to burn any bridges.

For more information, including videos on how to resign visit: http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/resigning-and-starting-new-job.aspx 

Written by Liam Oakes

Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 5 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.



LinkedIn - http://www.linkedin.com/pub/liam-oakes/4b/536/403 

Monday, 4 July 2016

How to Make Sales Interviews More Enjoyable

Job interviews can be stressful for all involved so why not try to make them more fun than expected by doing some of the following:
Interview Outside of the Workplace
From a personal point of view, I had an interview at a coffee shop a few years back that I felt took the pressure off immediately, having other conversations go on in the background it just felt as though I was having a catch up with a friend, and I felt at ease. There isn’t a rule saying you have to take all interviews in the board room or in the workplace. It doesn’t have to be a coffee shop, it could be over lunch or in a public space, but it might help you both relax and give you a better reflection of the candidate’s personality.
Make it Interactive
It could be a good idea to do a role play, if you are interviewing for a field sales position, you could get the candidate to re-enact a client visit and ask the questions they would ask in trying to win a client. This will give you a decent idea of how they would act when out in the field working for you. You could be interviewing for a telesales position, if so act as the potential client on the other end of the phone and get the candidate to show how they could go about winning you over.
Ask Fun Interview Questions
Examples could be:
·         You’re a new addition to the crayon box. What colour would you be and why?
·         We finish the interview, and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning 5 million pounds. What would you do?
·         What is the funniest thing that has happened to you recently?
Interview Environment
If you are interviewing in the boardroom or a separate room at the office, then try to make it as comfortable as you can for the candidate, don’t sit directly opposite each other face to face, try to make it a relaxing environment for both parties.  I know a Sales Director that interviews candidates side by side looking out over the landscape from his office window (which incidentally is a fantastic view!). He feels that interviewees are a lot more candid without the ‘confrontation’ of direct eye contact.
Considerations
There is of course a line with all of this not to cross, you want to be creative but also come across as professional. Make sure any questions you deem fun are legal and don’t make them feel uncomfortable with awkward questions.
Written by Liam Oakes
Liam is the Sales Recruitment Manager at Aaron Wallis and has been with the company for 5 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.




Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Guide to Recruiting Sales People

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment has published a full guide to recruiting sales professionals with links to further advice content and guides.
Guide to recruiting sales people

Includes:

  • Identifying Your Recruitment Goals 
  • Establishing a Recruitment Plan 
  • The Perfect Interview 
  • The Offer Stage And Induction

Your free copy of 'A Guide To Recruiting SalesPeople' can be downloaded here:

http://www.aaronwallis.co.uk/Aaron-Wallis-guide-to-recruiting-sales-staff.pdf

We hope that you find this guide useful.

Friday, 13 November 2015

The Apprentice Week 6 - Non-existent Negotiation

This week saw the 13 remaining candidates told to set up their own DIY business and try to make a profit from basic jobs. This involved the two teams providing quotes for two jobs set up by Lord Sugar, handyman tasks for a football club and a theatre, as well as to try and drum up their own business from flyers and knocking on doors. For sales professionals this episode was particularly interesting as the key to success in the task involved negotiation to try and get the best deals possible, as well as generating business in the first place. Lord Sugar has shown just how much he values sales skills in his future business partner, firing Dan in the first week for his failure to sell. So how did the candidates get on?

Awful Negotiating


Throughout the whole of the episode I’m sure sales professionals across the country were shaking their head with astonishment as to how bad all of the candidates were at trying to secure a good deal. The biggest mistakes made by the teams from a negotiating perspective came when offering a quote for redecorating the dressing rooms for a theatre in London. One of the first rules of negotiation is to know what price you’re offering for a service and to try and stick to it. Team Connectus did not seem convincing at all when initially offering £777 for the refurbishment, only ten seconds later changing their price to £877. Comically, Brett tried to cover up this mistake by suggesting just how good a service they were offering, before mincing his words telling the theatre manager ‘I am an expertise in my field’. Not the most impressive pitch.

Team Versatile had the opportunity to capitalise on the other team’s price mishaps offering an initial £560 for the theatre refurbishment job. Astonishingly, after some of the worst negotiating in the world the team ended up doing the job for only £375! Negotiation is about creating a ‘win-win’ for both parties, not just for price but for the service offering as well. The negotiation led by Richard ended up discounting the price by £200, whilst the service still included the same amount of hours of work to complete. A good strategy may have been to change the service: offer cheaper materials to try and regain some profit margin, or to remove a part of the job to reduce the amount of hours needed to complete the project. In the end the team spent a large amount of their time on this task for not a huge amount of money, a key reason why they lost the task.

Generating Business


Quite often the key to securing a large volume of sales is to manage your time effectively. The balance between prospecting for business and actually securing deals needs to be right, wasting your time on one sales channel can really hinder your efforts. Yet again the candidates were not good business examples, with Team Connectus wasting a whole day on ‘market research’ to try and find out the best areas to clean windows! With only three days to generate sales what a waste of time this was! Somehow Team Versatile seemed to match their dismal efforts by missing the deadline to print fliers, talk about a rookie error… 

If your name isn’t out there it’s going to be very hard to try and gain new business. From both a sales and business perspective this week’s apprentice is not a very good model to follow!

Monday, 2 November 2015

Can Jeremy Corbyn Sell Socialism to Britain?

September 2015 saw old-school left-winger Jeremy Corbyn secure a landslide victory of 59.5% of the vote to win leadership of the Labour Party. The initial outsider of the leadership contest promises to bring a ‘new politics’ to Britain and a real change to the New Labour centrist approach of recent years. Corbyn offers an anti-establishment, anti-austerity alternative to the Conservatives promoting higher taxes for the biggest earners and to put transport and utilities back under state control. Many see the Labour leader as a marmite figure in British politics, a large proportion of people and the media think he’s a nutcase, but equally he has developed an almost cult following from those who see him as a real change to the cliché politician. We pose the question: Is Jeremy a good enough salesman to sell socialism to the British people?

In the Scottish Labour Party conference in Perth yesterday, Corbyn stated that he wants the “sunshine of socialism” to beat the “narrow, nasty politics” of David Cameron’s Conservative Party. One of his most controversial policies is to increase the top rate of income tax to something above 50%, with rumours that the tax band could go as high as 75%. Surprisingly and as much of a change this would be, a recent YouGuv poll found that 56% of the public would be in favour of the policy, suggesting that Corbyn’s policies are not as out-of-touch with the British public as many people would argue. On the other hand, for many the Labour Leader is simply unelectable, too radical and too old at 66 to stand a chance in the 2020 election. I wasn’t surprised to find out that the bookies doubt his chances as well, an average of the top betting sites put him at 8/1 to be the next Prime Minister after Cameron.


Corbyn's Sales Skills


Undoubtedly however, there is a certain charisma about Corbyn which will help him win people over to support his socialist cause. For many young people and those that have become disillusioned with previous politicians, he comes across as someone standing up for those in need and a breath of fresh air against the spin in today’s politics. After promising a ‘new politics’ free of personal attacks, the David Cameron ‘pig-gate’ saga can probably be seen as bad timing for the Labour spokesman as previous leaders would surely have loved to get one-up on the current Prime Minister. Whether he can sell socialism to the British public remains to be seen, but I’m sure many business owners would like their sales staff to possess some of the communication qualities the Labour leader has.


I got the opportunity to hear Corbyn speak in Leeds yesterday and as a socialist sceptic I have to admit I was impressed with how convincing he came across! Personally I’m not so sure with the majority of his policies but the young audience I was a part of seemed to be captivated by him. Perhaps sales professionals can learn a few things from the leader of the opposition!

Thursday, 15 October 2015

The Apprentice Week 1, ‘Fish Food’- Business Lessons Learnt

Last night saw the return of the hit BBC program ‘The Apprentice’ starring business guru Lord Alan Sugar on his search to find a new business partner. The first episode entailed the 18 candidates selling seafood products across London with ingredients sourced from Billingsgate fish market. Team Versatile in blue, led by Selena, opted to sell budget calamari and fishcakes to the general public.

On the other side, Team Connectus in yellow, headed up by food blogger April, made an expensive tuna nicoise salad and high quality fishcakes to sell to high-flying business people across the city. As per usual, some of the lines from the candidates were comic such as Joseph Valente describing himself as “the ultimate persuader of women” and the “godfather of business”, unsurprisingly this series’ applicants seems to have as many odd-balls as ever. Here are the biggest business mistakes the teams made in episode 1:

The Calamari Disaster


The biggest head-in-hands moment of this week’s episode has to go to Team Versatile getting the storage temperature of the calamari wrong. For calamari to be fit to be sold and eaten it needs to be stored at around 2°C, not the 15°C which the team in blue left it in for the majority of the day. To make matters worse, the team were aware of this before they left for the day and vowed to keep it under control! Unsurprisingly the seafood spoiled and the team had to throw away half of their stock; you would have thought if you had researched how to store calamari you would at least stick to the rules. Despite this, Team Versatile made a decent profit of £200 and managed to win the task. This begs the question of what the other team could have possibly done to perform worse and make a lower profit…

Where Was The Negotiation?


One of the biggest mistakes that Team Connectus made was buying from the first fish stall they came across at Billingsgate fish market, without negotiating. This is one of the oldest lessons in business, you have to shop-around a bit before you commit to buying a product- without doubt there would have been a cheaper source of tuna at the market, which Karren Brady picked up on. On top of this, the team failed to negotiate at all going with the first price that the vendor offered. Due to this Team Connectus had significantly higher costs than their rivals, a factor in their loss of the task.   

Failure to Adapt 


Perhaps the biggest mistake that the losing team made was not spotting that their fishcakes were going to be too large. Team Connectus set a target of making 300 fishcakes to sell from their cod, yet only managed to put together a measly 89. The person at fault for this was undoubtedly the chef for the day Brett, who was too worried with meeting the specification of the fishcake recipe rather than acting pragmatically. This is a case of where not adapting to potential issues can cause major business failure and is the key reason why the team only managed a disastrous profit of £1.87!

Lord Sugar was on his usual form as ever, shutting down Mergim’s waffle by asking him “where he was going” and “what his point was”. Our previous blog on the benefits of working for Lord Sugar might interest you, which is available here. The Apprentice is on again tonight on BBC1 at 9pm for the second episode where the candidates will have to create a new brand of shampoo.   

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

The Impact of Technology on the Sales Industry- Social Selling

The development of technology through time has brought many changes to the sales industry. Whether you are looking at the past decade or even longer than that, new inventions will and were always going to change how people sell their products and services. Take the invention of modern transport for example, the car brought the introduction of an outside sales team and a whole new type of sales professional. Every year a new invention changes how salespeople work and how businesses target consumers.  In more recent years however, the biggest change to the sales industry must surely have come from technology focussed around social media. I don’t think anybody can deny that we are now in a digital age, I read online recently that people now spend more time using computer technology than they spend time asleep. The rise of sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook have brought both opportunities and threats for business owners and sales professionals alike, whether you like social media tools or not they deserve to be treated with respect.

The Facts


Here at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment in 2014 we conducted one of the largest surveys of sales professionals ever commissioned. In relation to how sales professionals use social media for their work, the results were interesting. Our survey of 730 salespeople found that only 42% regularly and proactively use social media for lead generation. When you compare this with another statistic we found, that 47% of the sales professionals surveyed had secured sales from LinkedIn, it suggested that salespeople are missing an opportunity to increase their revenues from social media. You have to question that if social media can be used as a tool and a resource for selling, why are less than half of salespeople not using it regularly? Full details of our 2014 survey can be found here.

Hunters vs Farmers- or even Fisherman?


The old metaphor of farmer and hunter salespeople, where the hunters go out and win new business and the farmers cultivate existing business is becoming outdated in the digital age. We suggest that seeing a sales professional as a fisherman may now be more relevant. A fisherman throws ground bait in, waits for the right moment and then strikes. He needs to strike at the right time, too early or late and someone else gets the fish. The same adage can now be compared to the modern day sales
professional, they have to be looking and waiting in the right places such as LinkedIn to know when their prospects are going to bite, then striking at exactly at the right time. With social media sites it’s possible to monitor prospects to see when they are showing interest in a product or service and that is the time to strike and secure a deal.


Opportunities


In the business-to-consumer industry many sales deals are starting without initial contact from the business who is actually selling the product or service. Businesses are doing their own research online and starting the selling process without you, because of this it’s crucial that your company is visible online and can be found. If you want to have your businesses products or services bought you have to be on the radar in the first place. Further to this, decision makers are reviewing companies or individuals credentials on sites such as LinkedIn before doing business with them, so whether you are reading this from a viewpoint of a sales professional or a business owner it’s vital to keep with the times and the digital age.   

Thursday, 10 September 2015

What Not to Include on Your CV- Funny CV Mistakes

Here at Aaron Wallis we see hundreds of CV’s every day and you’d be surprised some of the mistakes people make when they are applying for jobs. Some of the things that people choose to include can be an instant turn-off to employers and really can be the difference between getting a role and not. Here are common mistakes that people make and some funny examples we’ve seen:

Hobbies and Interests


A lot of our recruitment consultants would say that the place where people most often make mistakes is the hobbies and interests part of a CV. It’s easy to put across the wrong impression to an employer when describing what you do in your spare time. Saying you enjoy time socialising with your friends, playing darts and doing quizzes might sound like an innocent gesture but really it makes you sound like you spend all your time at the pub. Think carefully about what you put! A good tip is to tailor this part of your CV for each role, if the job requires leadership qualities maybe mention that time you were captain of a sports team or something similar.


Too Much Information


Quite often we see examples of where candidates have gone into a little too much detail about previous employment or qualifications. For example employers probably don’t want to see your bad O level results from thirty years ago, if you’ve reached the point in your career where qualifications don’t matter it may be best to leave things like this out! Also if you’ve fallen out with your boss it might be worth leaving this out as a reason for leaving a business, try to put something a bit more constructive.

Funny Things We’ve Seen


  • Listing your degree as a bachelorette degree
  • Unfortunate spelling mistakes- “Throughout my career I have had sex jobs”, “I took a career break in 2003 to renovate my horse”
  • Putting every word in capitals- this reads as if you have just shouted your entire career history at someone!
  • Bizarre email addresses for contact information-  kingoftheworld@googlemail.com
  • Inappropriate photo on your CV- a picture of you having a beer with your friends may actually be a nice photo, but it’s probably not the best thing to put on your application             

Monday, 7 September 2015

Sales Training vs Sales Coaching

Making the decision on whether to have your sales staff trained or coached can be difficult. The correct choice depends on a lot of factors but hopefully this blog will outline some things to think about before investing in an approach.
There is a clear difference between sales training and sales coaching but the two are often confused. The table below outlines how the two approaches to staff development differ:




Sales Coaching


For me, the main difference between coaching and training is who is actually carrying out the development programme. The best sales coaching programmes are often carried out internally, by colleagues who have more experience in sales and your business. This will help your tutees improve their sales skills significantly as well as pick up your business principles more quickly. The knock-on effect of this is that by implementing a process where more experienced staff coach the less experienced, the tutor will be refreshing their skills as well by teaching someone else. Often you only really think about and understand a process when you are trying to teach someone else.

The second thing with coaching as opposed to training is that it is an ongoing process. Regular communication between the tutor and the tutee enables the sales coach to recognise the trainee’s strengths and weaknesses. This allows for the programme to be adapted to fit more around the person being trained, which always makes for a more effective process. I believe that this is the major benefit of coaching over training, as it allows for an understanding of what an employee really needs to learn to succeed in the industry.

Sales Training


Training is often seen as the more expensive approach to staff development as it usually relies on hiring or working with an external agency. Sales training can come in a variety of different forms from motivational speaking to basic selling protocol. This investment is often worthwhile however as the trainer you work with will have expertise and may even be an expert in their field. By following the advice from leaders of the sales industry your staff may pick up some valuable hints or tips which may help them day to day. Training offers more opportunity for higher calibre salespeople compared to coaching, as it is harder to coach a person who is already very experienced in their field. Sending one of your top salespeople to a training event may make an already effective member of staff even more effective. For this reason the decision between coaching and training usually depends on the member of staff you are trying to develop. 

Friday, 28 August 2015

How to Keep Your Sales Staff Motivated

One of the main drivers of business success is retaining top staff, but perhaps even more important than this is keeping your top earners motivated and performing. The difference between a thriving business and a failing business lies with how much revenue your salespeople are bringing in each month, so ensuring they are performing at their best is vital. Keeping your staff ‘on the ball’ and busy is often more difficult than it sounds, so here are some of our thoughts on how best to approach the matter.

Rewarding Performance


A finely tuned and thought out compensation structure is one of the best ways to motivate staff, especially salespeople. Too often businesses are not representing their top performers with incentive structures to really get them going. Having a cap on earnings and bonuses may seem to make initial sense to keep business costs down, but the logic is often flawed. Once one of your employees has reached their limit of earnings what’s in it for them to work hard? Put yourself in their shoes, if you hit your annual salary cap by October you will be inclined to coast along until the start of January, as selfish as this sounds it’s how the human brain is programmed to work. As long as your bonus structure is linked to profit made for the business and not just turnover, the increased salary you pay to an employee will only be rising in relation to money they make for the business. The best way to devise a bonus structure is to form it in such a way that it is a win-win for your employee and for your business.

Secondly, a lot of sales organisations are creating disincentives for staff by rewarding both poorly performing and highly performing salespeople. Giving bonuses to staff who meet the minimum required standard you expect as an employer sends out the wrong message. For example giving pay-outs to staff who achieve less than 50% of their sales goals discourages them from hitting their peaks, and communicates to your top performers that you as a business are satisfied with mediocrity. If you are looking to rejuvenate your sales staff and attract the best talent, a strong compensation structure is probably the best place to start.     

Encourage Competition


Many businesses assume that salespeople are only motivated by money.  This isn’t always true. Everyone enjoys that rush of competing against your colleagues and as an employer if you can encourage a bit of friendly rivalry between your staff your sales revenue is very likely to increase. As sad as it sounds everybody likes to ‘get one up’ on everyone and giving prizes to the best performing staff is a good way to get the best out of everyone. These prizes or rewards do not always have to be financial, an interesting reward scheme at a business I know is that the best performing salesperson for that month receives access to the best parking space at the company. Little things like this can really boost your employees to their top level. 

Written by Andy at Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment.