Saturday, 31 January 2015

Do Yourself a Favour – When Looking For Sales Jobs, Choose a Specialist Sales Recruitment Agency.

Go to a supermarket to buy sausages, or whatever product you care to choose, and you will have to walk past a vast number of other products that you don’t want, or need, in order to get to them.
That’s how the system works, you see things that you didn't even think you wanted, or needed, but now you do – and you will probably buy at least some of them.

Some recruitment websites and agencies are rather like that. They are the recruitment equivalent of a supermarket. Once you are on their books they’ll show you jobs that may not be a good fit for your skills, because it’s in their interest to do so - after all, they’ll receive a commission if you, their candidate, succeeds in obtaining the job in question. It may be that the jobs that they show you are not even sales jobs at all.

By dealing with a specialist sales recruitment agency you will get to see only sales jobs. If the agency is a good one then they will drill down into your skill set, qualifications and training in order to make sure that they only put you forward for roles where you are likely to be a great fit.

This doesn't mean that you can’t change track with regard to the things you sell or the way that you want to do that selling. For example, someone with telesales experience may want to move into field sales or perhaps an experienced car salesperson might decide to go into selling computers or software services.

What’s important here is to demonstrate that you have experience in the sales process and not place too much emphasis on the product knowledge. There used to be a popular trick in sales interviews where the interviewer would hand the candidate a pen and say “sell me that pen.”

Although this is a bit of a cliché nowadays, I stopped doing it years ago, but in principle it does demonstrate the view, that many people have, which is that a good salesperson should be able to sell anything. It is, according to this theory, the sales technique that matters, not the product knowledge.

Of course, this is only a guide and it would be tough for someone with experience selling advertising in a local directory, for example, to step into selling medical equipment to doctors, but many employers will take the view that if someone comes across as a good salesperson then they could be given the product training to enable them to sell the more specialised product.

If you apply for sales jobs through a specialist sales recruitment agency they will take the time to compare your skills and experience to the profile that the employer has given them of their “ideal” candidate. Perhaps the employer might be wanting to take on a sales person with specific specialist knowledge of their product and, especially if it is a fairly senior role, they might only want to consider experienced people.

On the other hand, they may be willing to consider someone with good sales skills and then give them the product knowledge afterwards – by applying for sales jobs through a sales recruitment agency you can be sure that the agency will have established this by discussing the role with the employer prior to putting forward candidates.

As a jobseeker, all you need to do is submit your CV and other details to a specialist sales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment. They will take the time to speak to you and find out more about you so that they can put you forward as a candidate for the sales jobs that are right for you.

Thursday, 29 January 2015

Despite the Overwhelming Shift Towards Inbound Marketing in Many Organisations – One Sales Role Seems Resistant to the Shift towards Outbound Oblivion – Telesales!

There can be few sales roles that vary in scope so much as that of telesales. The role can involve a variety of tasks ranging from simple service centre call answering and attempting to cross-sell or up-sell to existing product users, through to outbound “cold” calling and following up of leads which are, shall we say, not too strong.
When recruiting telesales staff employers are often keen to stress that, although basic salaries for telesales roles can be often be low, the on target earnings, (OTE), is often much higher due to the existence of a very good bonus or commission scheme.

Get Guidance From A Telesales Recruitment Agency
Guidance on industry average salary levels can be obtained from a specialist telesales recruitment agency. Those roles which involve high-intensity outbound cold calling are frequently more demanding and therefore often carry higher On Target Earnings than those which involve answering inbound calls from “warm” prospects.
Be Sure Know Your Telesales Recruitment Criteria
When recruiting telesales staff for an inbound role, one of the main criteria is to ensure that as well as being able to sympathetically handle an inbound call which may be a complaint to begin with, the telesales operator should be able to identify any opportunities to cross sell the client to an alternative product which may be a better fit or to upsell them to a product which has more, or better, features at a higher cost, of course.
A Nose For Business
This “salesman’s nose” is what enables good salespeople to identify an opportunity and develop it to the point when a sale or upgrade can be achieved. Not all operators will possess this skill so it is important to select candidates who either have it, or can be trained to acquire it very quickly.
Poor Sales Recruitment Can Lead To Missed Opportunities
Every inbound service call is a potential sales opportunity for many companies so it is important to scope out your proposed role in order to reflect this before starting the telesales recruitment process. This is a prime example of a situation where it can pay big dividends to use the services of a specialist telesales recruitment agency.
Telesales - The First Step On The Sales Ladder
For many, their first telesales role is simply the first step on the sales career ladder, leading up to a role perhaps as a field sales representative or account manager. Again, it is important to be able to recognise these qualities when recruiting telesales staff so that their career path can be managed accordingly.
It Can Be Cold Out There!
Alternatively, if your proposed telesales recruitment process is designed to attract a more hardcore applicant, one capable of successfully handling cold leads, then the criteria will be markedly different. This breed of telesales person is unlikely to be sitting around waiting for inbound calls and will usually work through a database or other prospect list until he or she finds someone willing to listen to their pitch.
Here, the qualities looked for, whilst having a lot in common with those described above for inbound salespeople, should include tenacity, dogged determination and a refusal to acknowledge the existence of the word “no”.

A rarer animal, no doubt, but with the aid of a competent telesales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment, they can be found.

Saturday, 24 January 2015

Here’s something to ponder on when you are considering the addition of a new member to your sales team – why would any successful sales professional want to leave their current job if they are good at it and they are being properly rewarded for doing it?

After all, it takes a while to learn about a product range, build up a client base and work on the relationships between salesperson and client that produce ongoing repeat business. It takes time to build trust in that relationship, so why would anyone who has been through that process successfully want to change jobs and come to work for you?

There are, of course, lots of reasons why someone might be considering such a move but not all of them bode well for you as a potential employer.

If the sales professional has been successful in their previous role they may feel that their current employer does not offer sufficient room for growth and development of their career – this is especially true of smaller companies where there are fewer opportunities to progress into management.
Someone in this position may not be too concerned with the salary structure – as long as they were not worse off in moving to you, but would be more motivated by the realistic prospect of a sales manager role at some point in the near future.

When interviewing candidates I personally try to avoid the somewhat clichéd “where do you see yourself in 5 years?” type of question and try to shape the conversation around where the candidate feels his strengths and weaknesses lie and what he feels he has to offer that he cannot offer in his current situation.

Do younger or less experienced colleagues turn to him for advice or guidance? Does he enjoy helping other to gain experience? How does he interact with management and does he find it easy to summarise his day-to-day sales activities into a verbal or written report that can provide management with an accurate idea of the business he expects to be able to deliver in the coming weeks and months?

There are, of course, those whose motivation is simply financial – or at least that is what they will tell you.

I well remember working with a member of my sales team who simply would not consider a management position, despite being absolutely ideal for career progression in that direction.

Whenever the subject of career progression was raised he always declined to get involved with it.

Why was that? As it turns out he was very focused on one thing and one thing only – saving up enough money to put down a realistic deposit and buy a house. He had built up a decent client base through sheer hard work and repeat business was plentiful so he had set himself a timescale in which to achieve his goal and buy that house.

Interestingly, once that goal was achieved he applied for the first management role that came up – and got it!

My point is this – he always did want to progress up the management ladder but the more urgent need at that time was to buy a home for his young family. It was perfectly possible for him to earn more than a newly appointed manager because his extensive and loyal client base were producing large amounts of repeat business so a move into management, despite carrying a higher base salary, would have meant losing valuable commission.

What I failed to do at first was to recognise this fact and interpreted his reluctance to move into sales management as lack of ambition.

There are many things that you simply cannot ask at an interview and this could prevent delving too deeply into someone’s personal circumstances but I could have found out more about him and his intentions by asking about his priorities, how he gets on with management and whether he could interpret sales data in a way that would be meaningful to non-sales staff.

For example, “how would you explain your current sales pipeline to a member of the manufacturing staff, or someone working in the warehouse, or the finance manager?

If the candidate demonstrates an understanding of how his performance might impact others you may get a clue as to whether they are at least starting to think like a manager.

These are qualities and skills to look out for when recruiting sales staff who you can expect to keep on-board for a long time. Let them know that there are opportunities for development within but that they should expect to contribute more than just sales – you are looking for a salesperson that can be an interface between the management of the company and its customers and prospective customers, not just someone who can deliver a sales pitch – although that is, of course, important too.

If all of this sounds a little daunting never fear - there are specialist sales recruiters out there who can help you by supplying candidates who demonstrate all the necessary properties for making a successful move into your organisation. At Aaron Wallis we concentrate of finding the best sales professionals for your requirements so contact us today and find out more.

Friday, 16 January 2015

As Digital Marketing Takes Over As The De-Facto Standard For Most Business, How Should That Affect Your Sales Recruitment Policy?

When recruiting sales staff, most companies should bear in mind that the old “banging on doors,” mentality is largely redundant, due mainly to the changes in marketing methods and lead generation technology.

So what qualities do sales recruiters now need to look for in a typical salesperson?

I fully accept and acknowledge that every company is different and what works for one may not work for another but the onslaught of inbound digital marketing processes has caught many organisations off-guard and left them reeling.

The biggest change witnessed by many has been the change in the way that leads are generated and the degree to which the prospect has progressed along the sales process when an enquiry is made.

Take, for example, PPC, (Pay Per Click) marketing as a method of generating leads.

PPC works something like this:

A prospective customer for your product or service carries out a search on Google, (there are other versions of this for Bing & Yahoo as well as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook).

He  or she enters the search terms that are relevant to the product they are searching for, eg:

“Volkswagen Golf”

and they are shown a page of results which includes a number of ads or “sponsored messages”. These ads are small, (Google only allows a total of 95 characters in total, 45 less than a Tweet), so they have to come straight to the point, e.g:

Wide Range of VW Golf
Low prices, part exchange welcome
New & Used, call for test drive

What happens next is very important - so far, the business owner who placed this ad has not spent a penny. If, and only if, the prospect clicks on the ad and is taken to the website, does Google make a charge for showing the ad, hence “Pay Per Click”.

Now, lets imagine that the prospect is more specific when making their search:

“Buy VW golf”
“Used VWGolf prices”
If either of the above variations is used, i.e. the word “buy” or “prices” is included in the search, then this is an indication of intent. They are going to buy - all the salesperson has to do is respond accordingly when answering to any enquiry generated by this process.

Because the salesperson is aware of the search terms used he or she can gauge their response accordingly. The “tyre kickers” can be sent a simple email offering more assistance if required whereas the prospect who included “buy,” or "used" in the search phrase would definitely be worth a bit more effort, planning and a follow-up email or telephone call if possible.

Now that many organisations are generating sales leads this way, the level of data available to the salesperson is much more detailed than ever before.

Has this made the sales process easier? Well, yes it probably has but the problem is - it has made it easier for everyone, including your competitors.

So what qualities are needed in a salesperson now that were not needed before?

The main difference is in the way that people expect to be interacted with in a way which is appropriate to their method of enquiry.

In some cases, an online shop for example, there may not be any interaction, the buyer will place their order and that’s all there is to it, but this type of operation will probably not employ salespeople anyway.

In other cases however, the enquiry is just that, an enquiry. Yes, the prospect does intend to buy but they still need convincing that yours is the right company to buy from.

Enter the salesperson. This time, however, it is a well-informed salesperson, armed with a pile of relevant data about the prospect. 

The exact details that they searched for, when and where they searched. Where they saw details of the product - was it Google, Facebook, LinkedIn or on a specialist website about cars, or golf, or whatever is relevant?

If a telephone number has been provided then a quick call could close the business. If no number is provided then maybe we have the email address - a quick response offering a catalogue, a test drive, or a free assessment, whatever is relevant, should clinch it - after all we already know what the prospect searched for, looked at, and responded to.

So yes, we are still recruiting salespeople, they still need to be ambitious, hard working and enterprising but, crucially, they also have to be responsive. Today’s inbound lead generation methods are sophisticated and cut out a lot of the time-wasting involved in cold calling, leaflet dropping and other outmoded methods of generating enquiries.

It follows then that when recruiting sales and marketing staff we should be looking for people who can generate focused enquiries, respond to them quickly and turn the prospect into a customer as quickly as possible. This requires an awareness of Social Media, EMail and the use of a Customer Relationship Management system (CRM), to monitor and progress leads from inception to fruition. It is also useful to have a thorough understanding of how people behave on websites and the level to which they should be interacted with.

As long as you recruit sales staff that display all of those qualities then success is assured. When using a specialist sales recruitment agency like Aaron Wallis then you will have the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the candidates referred to you will have been assessed in order to ensure that they demonstrate the right qualities for the job that you are offering.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

The 3 Main Characteristics Of Successful Sales Professionals – PMA, Hard Work And Process

I’ve spent the last seventeen years meeting circa 200-300 sales people per year and often ask what particular quality, or attribute, they put their success down to.  Of course there have been many, many answers but of these thousands of sales people, they’ve commonly mentioned similar ‘themes’ which I’ve distilled down and summarised as the following three qualities:

Positive Mental Attitude
Hard Work

1. Positive Mental Attitude

Having a positive attitude  is vital in sales. If you don’t believe in your product, and more importantly believe in yourself, then why would any customer want to buy from you? Having a positive attitude  in everything that you do leads to more positive outcomes, and these, in turn, increase your chances of success.

Some people have an ‘ingrained’ positive mental attitude, but others have to work hard to develop this self-belief and to try to see the positive in every situation no matter how tough it may be. 
I used to work with a recruiter who after every cold call rejection said, “thanks very much, you’ve helped me to make it one call closer to my target today." The target client was always puzzled by his response, they questioned his rationale?  His answer was that he knew from his own stats that if he made 50 completely cold calls, he’d get 1 ‘yes’ and that’s all he needed to hit his daily target leading to his weekly target leading to the monthly target. Okay this was a long time ago and selling has somewhat changed, but he was consistently a top-performing sales person out of a team of eighty (and actually his cold call-lead rate was more 1:5 as this approach always intrigued the target clients to want to find out more!).  This approach of seeing a positive in every rejection was, he felt, the key to his success. 

2. Hard Work

Achieving success in any field takes hard work but this is particularly pertinent in sales.  No matter how sales has changed I still firmly believe in the ‘mathematics of sales’, i.e. the more that you put into the top of the pipeline the more return you get at the bottom. 

It always helps to break down the ‘big sales goal’ into manageable weekly, daily and even hourly targets.  Working hard requires discipline and dedication to take the small steps towards your goal every day. Working hard means dedicating a percentage of each day to topping up your pipeline even if it feels it is full to the brim. Working hard is keeping going no matter how many rejections you’ve taken.

In sales, it’s always tempting to ‘call it a day’ and not bother prospecting for the final hour that you should be doing.  However, it's commonly when your back is truly ‘up against the wall’ that you get that break, and everything starts to turn around.  As Seneca once said, and I’ve plagiarised and regularly quote:  ‘Luck is the crossroads between preparation and perspiration’.

3. Process

All great sales professionals work to a sales process, sometimes intuitively.  It’s amazing how many salespeople I’ve met who claim ‘I don’t work to a process – I don’t need something as inflexible to work within’ and so on.  I then ask them to walk me through a recent sale, and it’s typically ‘Seven Steps’ or ‘Needs Creation Selling’.  Perhaps they hadn’t learned it formally, but they were subconsciously following the same path or approach, in every sale that they’d concluded.

These sales processes can be sales strategies, daily plans, a workflow, a formal ‘sales technique’ or even following a CMS path ticking every step along the path as the client is taken through the buying process.

There are many advantages to utilising a sales process, and this could be as simple as learning from successful colleagues, replicating it and adding your own style.  Alternatively, it could be as complicated as formally reviewing the best practitioners in your business, what works-what doesn’t, structuring it against formal models and creating your individual process to follow.  By working a process and being disciplined to consistently use it and to add all data to a system you ensure that none of your sales leads fall through the cracks.

More importantly, however, by using a well-defined sales process, you can ensure that you prioritise and this helps accurately forecast your own performance and move your leads through to closure at a considerably quicker rate. Overall, a sales process makes planning and closing greatly more efficient. With a sales process in place, it’s also easier to measure success, get consistent results and be on top of your forecasting and your KPIs leading to that ‘big target’.

To conclude becoming a successful sales professional takes time, sweat, skill and tenacity. Of course there’s some major generalisations here as there’s no ‘set blueprint for success’ that will work for everyone.  

However, IMHO the three common ‘themes’ required for success are a positive attitude, working to proven processes and hard work/application.  Do you agree?

Rob Scott is a geek about sales and has commissioned the largest ever surveys of UK sales professionals.  Click here for statistics on the UK sales industry.

Tuesday, 30 December 2014

What Makes a Successful Telesales Person and How Can Employers Be Sure Of Recruiting Telesales Staff Who Will Perform Well & Be Successful?

Telesales is, of course, nothing new but there has been a distinct change in the way that the telesales department contributes to the overall sales efforts of an organisation. 

In some cases, it is the only sales resource available whereas with others it plays an important, but relatively minor part such as appointment setting with the final sale being concluded by a salesperson who will provide a more personalised service, tailored to the client’s needs.

Recruiting Telesales People - Time To Look Beyond the Local Classifieds.

Employers wanting to recruit telesales staff are finding it takes much more than a classified ad in the local paper to locate the best people.

From finding a new client, to providing ongoing client support and making add-on or supplemental sales to existing clients, a good telesales operation can make a real difference to an organisation. I use the term “organisation” deliberately because we are not only talking about commercial companies here - how many of us have been contacted by charities and other not for profit organisations asking for donations or to sell services? It’s all telesales and, with so many alternative sales channels now open to employers, it requires a new breed of talented and results-driven telesales staff to make it work.

So how can you recruit telesales staff that can really handle the pressure and make a difference? Firstly, it is important to make sure that you have a clear idea of what the role entails and of what you expect from  suitable candidates.

When recruiting telesales staff here are some of the qualities that you should bear in mind:

Important, if not essential, is a tenacious attitude towards the daily business of making contact with dozens, if not hundreds, of potential customers. In its most basic, and nowadays often completely ineffective and non-productive, there is the cold-call, contacting people who are not expecting you to call and who will respond with everything from indifference through to downright rudeness.

Does the candidate you are considering strike you as the type of person who will cheerfully take the insults on board, respond professionally and respectfully, and move on to the next number on a list that will, somewhere, have the odd one or two gems buried amongst the dross, waiting to be discovered?

Salespeople often come across as being impatient, eager to move on and having little time for time-wasters. This attitude does have its merits in some circumstances but most successful sales operations rely on the process of incubating leads, developing them into customers and then managing that customer base so as to encourage repeat business. Not a job for the impatient operator who, after making many calls, may chance upon someone who may want to chat for a while but who will probably listen to a pitch if it is introduced into the longer conversation in a subtle and unobtrusive way.

Waiting for the right moment takes patience but so often pays off.

Try to assess the candidate’s ability to put themselves in the place of the prospect. We all know that “people buy people” and are far more likely to react positively to someone who, they feel, has an understanding of their needs and wishes.

When interviewing a candidate, try to assess how good they are at listening and test their understanding of what they have heard. If the candidate takes notes, this can also be indicative of someone who takes what is being said, seriously.
Other, somewhat obvious, characteristics of a successful telesales person include having a good, clear voice that can easily be understood. Try to conduct at least part of the interview process over the telephone to hear for yourself how understandable the candidate is on the telephone.

The Role of the Telesales Recruitment Agency in Recruiting Telesales Staff.
All in all, the standards required of a telesales operator in these days of inbound marketing where calls are likely to be of a better quality and more likely to convert than high-volume cold calls, are much higher than was previously the case. In some regulated industries the telesales person may have to take, and pass, exams or tests in order to be able to conduct certain types of sale - usually in the Finance Industry.

As the standards increase, so too does the need to involve professionals in your telesales recruitment campaigns. Speaking to a specialist telesales recruitment agency can take much of the leg work out of the task and provide you with a list of pre-screened candidates for your telesales positions.

Aaron Wallis specialise in finding first class, effective and versatile telesales operators at all levels, including trainees.

Our recruiters have sales experience themselves and know the pressures and challenges that face today’s telesales and other sales professionals. If you need to recruit telesales staff for 2015 then give us a call, you’ll be well on the way to building a first class telesales resource.

Monday, 29 December 2014

This New Year I Have Goals not Resolutions. How About You?

With the New Year very much on the horizon it’s common to hear people say, next year I’m going to lose weight. I’m going to travel. I’m going to change jobs. I’m going to save money. Look back on the year that is just about to finish. How many of the resolutions you made the previous year have you been able to accomplish?

Most resolutions end before they even begin and apparently 12th January is when the majority of New Year resolutions have failed.  Here’s the common reasons why New Year’s Resolutions Fail:

1) They’re not specific enough
2) They are made upon or what you feel you should be doing rather than something you truly want to achieve.
3) They’re a whim on the day rather than something truly thought out
4) They’re not written down or communicated to others
5) They’re not reviewed
6) They’re made upon not what you want but either what your friends and family want you to do, i.e. it is impossible to give up smoking unless you truly deep down want to give up smoking
7) They’re unrealistic or unachievable in the time-frame (perhaps they should really be a milestone towards a longer term 3-year, 5-year, 10-year goal)

Specific goal or goals
If you, as an individual, truly want to achieve a certain something you have to set it as a goal – a firm, dedicated goal that is specific and can be easily articulated to others in one simple sentence. You then have to make a firm commitment to achieve it. You have to want it so badly that your subconscious works towards achieving that goal. All successful people set goals so they have a clear picture about what they want. It motivates them to remain focused and to concentrate their resources, knowledge and their energies towards achieving that goal. A few goals rather than a diary full are easier to achieve as it helps you to focus on them better. Additionally, you don’t have to split up your resources and energies into many different directions.

This is a great story from Jim Carey when as jobbing actor, and by all accounts he was living in his car, he wrote a cheque to himself for $10M and gave himself five years to achieve it.  He kept it in his wallet and periodically looked at it he was determined that one day he could honour that cheque.  By regularly visualising he had the focus to network in the firm industry and made it his purpose to be known to every director and every studio to build up his name and credibility. Just under 5 years later he was offered the lead role in ‘Dumb and Dumber’ and cashed in that $10M cheque.  It’s a good story from someone that we can all relate to and if you want to cut out the Oprah guff either side then listen to it from 1:48 to 2:38

Have you created your plan?
If you want to achieve something in the coming year set a goal rather than a resolution. What’s the difference? The difference is that resolution is just an unformulated idea, a desire, a phrase and really nothing more than a wish. A goal on the other hand is a specific target that you can easily communicate, measure and review.  Goals are like affirmations because you probably have a plan A and a plan B in place that will enable you to reach the desired target and if you’re really keen then perhaps a plan C is also formulating in your mind! This means that you not only want to achieve that target but have plans in place that will help you achieve it.

If you’re having some problems thinking of goals here’s a goal setting workbook that is free to download that I wrote back in 2008.  It’s a bit esoteric and if I’m honest a bit long-winded but I hope that there may be some articles here to help formulate your goals for 2015.

Of milestones and deadlines
A goal has deadlines within which to achieve those milestones – the smaller steps on the path to achieving that big goal. Deadlines and milestones are incredibly important. They tell you how far you’ve reached and how well, or not, you are advancing towards what you set out to do. They allow you to pause and reflect on how much more you still have to go before the end of the year. They direct you to change strategy if required to go faster, slower or take a different route. If you are redecorating your house you will often say by Monday I’ll finish painting the walls or by the weekend I will complete the varnishing. You are setting small, achievable goals and working towards them so you finish them by the deadline.

Numbers Work
In order for a resolution to become a goal it must be communicable to those around you so that gives you the focus to achieve the goal. The easiest way to do this is to transfer your goal into numbers.  ‘I’m going to lose weight’ is not enough as it needs to be more specific and date stamped such as ‘by the 23rd March 2015 I will have lost 18 pounds, weight 13 stone and be able to get into 34” trousers.  On New Year’s Eve 2015 I will weigh myself and will be under 13 stone’.   

You may feel that your goal may not be able to transferred into numbers such as ‘I want to be perceived as more professional by my team’ but it can by simply asking (perhaps anonymously) how team members would score you out of ten for professionalism.  Then set a goal that by the 17th June you will ask the same question and aim to be at least two marks out of ten higher than you were in early January.  Here’s some other examples:

New Year’s Resolution
‘I’m going to run a marathon’
‘I will run five miles per week in January 2015, ten miles per week in February and on the 23rd February I will run ten miles in one session.  On the 24th February I will book myself onto a marathon in early June 2015 and follow a 12 week marathon training programme from 1st March 2015 to achieve this.
‘I want to save more money’
I will save at least £50 per month throughout 2015.  By end of March 2015 I will have £200+ in savings, by end of June £500+ and by New Year’s Eve of 2015 I will have £1,000 in savings.
‘I will spend more time with my kids’
One weekend in two will be solely dedicated time to my kids.  I will research 30 detailed days out which can be changed weather dependent.  I will book in a ‘night out’ every other month with each child.  All of this will be allocated into my electronic diary by 15th January

All made up without really thinking them through but hope that you get the idea?

Review It
Many set big goals at the start of the year and then frankly forget about it.  Instead when you set your goals make entries into your electronic diary to prompt you to review it.  That way you can make refinements and adjustments to ensure that the big goal is met. 

A 58 year old friend of mine (and okay he is a personal trainer) set himself a goal of running 100 miles in 24 hours last December.  We all laughed and said ‘no way’.  The most he’d run prior to this was 26 miles but he dedicated every Saturday to a long training run and I witnessed him on a couple of occasions during his training really, really struggling.  However, he didn’t give up, he stuck to his training plan and in August 2014 he ran 100 miles in 24 hours.  I personally set a goal of running 750 miles in 2014.  I was way ahead of plan until September but by mid-November life had gotten in the way and I realised that I still had 80 miles to go.  I didn’t want to fail (particularly as I’d told so many people about my goal any many regularly asked how I was getting along) so ‘upped my game’ and increased my mileage to ensure the target was met.  If I didn’t have that goal then frankly I wouldn’t have run from September onwards as I wasn’t training for anything and my training from January would be so much harder.  If anyone is interested, and to prove ‘I eat my own dogfood’ my running tally in 2014 is here:

Don’t Keep it To Yourself
You are 8 times more likely to achieve your goals if you tell others. You then feel that you are held to account by them and that gives you the focus to succeed.  And if you’re really resolute that you are going to achieve your goals in 2015 then make them public on Facebook, YouTube or your blog!

So to Conclude – 7 Steps to Achieving Your Goals in 2015
1.    Decide upon your goals for 2015 – visualise yourself achieving them
2.    Transfer your goals into numbers
3.    Write them down in a positive and enthusiastic way that is both inspiring to yourself and easily communicable to others. 
4.    Set milestones throughout the year in your electronic diary (and make a promise to yourself that you will review them).  If resources are needed to help you achieve the goals then get the plan in place to acquire them
5.    Communicate your goals to others – the more publicly the better
6.    Regularly review and make adjustments, if necessary, to stay on track
7.    Take a willpower pill!

Really good luck with your goal setting for 2015 and Have a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!

NB - I haven’t fully decided just yet on my goals for 2015 but will publish them on this blog on 1st January 2015!  

Saturday, 20 December 2014

Has the LinkedIn Profile Made the CV Obsolete when recruiting sales staff?

Who would have imagined, just over one decade ago, that the social networking start-up website, founded by Stanford graduate Reid Hoffman, would today be the happy hunting ground of both those seeking employment and those seeking new employees?

Whether or not that was Hoffman’s intention right from the start isn't very clear, I personally think his vision was somewhat wider than that, but nonetheless that is what it has become. LinkedIn is a massive meeting place for those wishing to find a job, change their current job or to find people to fulfill a job vacancy.

For many employers, LinkedIn is now the first point of reference when recruiting sales staff.

I recently attended a business networking event in central London. It was attended by, predominantly, self-employed professionals who were looking to extend their network of contacts and, ideally, to pick up some business for themselves.

Some of them were also seeking employment and using the event as a showcase for their talents – nothing at all wrong with that. There were also, of course, some members of the recruitment profession who were seeking to recruit sales staff and to fill other posts.

Back home and onto LinkedIn to find out more

So after a few hours of elevator pitches and passing around the business cards I returned home and made a bee-line, as I always do, for my laptop – just to “check my emails”, of course.

In fact, before checking my emails I went straight to my LinkedIn account to check the profiles of those people I had been speaking with and who were of interest to me, only to find that many of them had already beaten me to it and checked my LinkedIn profile.

One or two of those who had checked me out were of particular interest to me so I decided to take an impartial look at what they would have seen. It was a bit of a shock to have to say that I really wasn’t that impressed with my public profile on LinkedIn.

See yourself as others see you

The reason for this is not that my profile was bad, but it certainly wasn’t fully up to date, and some of the things I had been freely telling people about at the networking event were not yet entered up onto my LinkedIn profile.
Anyone who has ever been involved in recruitment, and particular interviewing applicants for a job, will know this situation – it’s like the unexplained gap in the chronology of the applicant’s CV. The missing months, or sometimes years, where they simply disappeared off the radar.

Your LinkedIn profile – a valuable asset so keep it up-to-date.

Usually, there’s a reasonable explanation for this; a year spent travelling, a simple mistake in calculating dates or some such harmless reason. Unfortunately, however, when confronted with such a situation, many people fear the worst and draw the wrong conclusion.

In the same way that you should always keep your CV up-to-date with no unexplained gaps, so too should your LinkedIn profile be kept current, interesting and historically accurate.

To answer my own question, no – the LinkedIn profile has not yet made the CV obsolete – when you are recruiting sales staff or other employees you should always ask for the applicants CV and, equally, applicants should always be ready to supply one.

What is important, however, is that one does not contradict the other so it’s time to be doubly sure that your profile and your CV are in sync.

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Has the transition in Sales & Marketing from an Outbound to An Inbound Model Affected the Way That You Recruit Sales Staff?

Online marketing processes have rendered some outbound marketing practices obsolete for many industries – does this indicate a shift in sales recruitment criteria?

As someone who once managed an outbound sales team where “cold calling” was the order of the day, I must say that the concept of “inbound” marketing superseding long-established outbound practices came as a bit of a shock – in fact, I didn't believe it.

That was a decade ago, however, and I certainly believe it now!

Just a couple of years ago I agreed to run an outbound team for a (very) large organisation who were keen to see how, (and whether), it would still work. They wanted to establish whether it made financial sense to simply cold call a list of potential customers.

10,000+ calls later the answer was blindingly obvious – it was a waste of time, the cost of acquisition was insane. The project was buried and has never surfaced again since.

Now let me say right away that there certainly are some markets where cold calling does make sense and works well. The stereotypical “double glazing” pitch is going to be delivered that way for years to come, I’m sure of that.

For most businesses, however, whilst you may still want to hang on to the familiar outbound methods, it’s time to take a look at how inbound sales and marketing are already changing the landscape for many industries. It may also be time to amend your sales recruitment criteria as well.

This is almost all due to the widespread acceptance of the need to have a company website and the need for that website to feature in the results given by Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines, when someone searches for a word or phrase that relates to your business.

When someone visits a website and fills in the “more information” contact form, what you have is, at the very least, a “warm” lead. When you consider that, in a cold calling environment, you might have to make up to 100 or more calls just to get one such warm lead, you can see how the sales process has matured and why the sales recruitment process may need to change.

No longer do we need people to constantly bash the phones, taking every knock-back as simply being a step towards the next success. Now, we need to recruit sales staff who can take the inbound leads and convert them into sales at a sufficiently high rate.

We need to recruit marketing people who can make those leads occur at a much higher rate. Sales staff who are comfortable with converting pre-qualified leads and using up-to-date real time CRM’s, incorporating other activities such as email follow-ons, downloadable case studies etc.

In short, we need sales staff who can work in the online space as comfortably as they can when confronted with a real person, in a board room presentation or other business meeting.

Online enquiries are fine but remember that when your website is shown to a potential customer, so are those of your competitor. The one that wins the business will be the one that responds quickly and professionally – and that’s what many people are concentrating on when they recruit sales staff today.

Here at Aaron Wallis we can help you to recruit sales staff that reflect and enhance your inbound sales processes, sales staff with the necessary skills to make inbound work – for your business.

Monday, 1 December 2014

What To Look For In A Sales Recruitment Agency

Use a specialist sales recruitment Agency
Hiring Sales Staff - Use A Specialist Sales Recruitment Agency

When you need to find new sales professionals to drive your business forward, it goes without saying that you want to recruit the best sales talent that is available. 

But how can you be sure that you are finding those talented sales professionals that can make a huge difference to your business?

Well, there’s one way that you can make the sales recruitment task much easier and which gives you the peace of mind that comes with knowing that the people you are interviewing are carefully selected to meet your criteria and to demonstrate those qualities that make for a top performing sales professional.

Welcome to the world of the specialist sales recruitment agency, welcome to the world of Aaron Wallis.

As sales recruitment specialists, Aaron Wallis are able to focus on the task of identifying those candidates who really do have what it takes, the essential qualities that make for a professional approach to selling, with success almost guaranteed.

When Aaron Wallis recruit sales staff for you, we take time to find out exactly what kind of sales professional you are looking for. What level of experience is required, do you require specialist knowledge of particular industry domains or vertical markets, are you looking for a potential sales manager and, if so, within what kind of time frame?

The Search Begins

When your requirements are fully understood, our experienced sales recruiters will begin the search for suitable candidates, sifting through hundreds of CV’s and profiles, looking for those qualities that will make for a perfect candidate for your sales recruitment requirements.

We carefully screen all applicants and produce a Psychometric profile for all candidates – this ensures that they possess all of the qualities needed to succeed in your business.

Once a shortlist has been produced, we can assist with the interview process and will provide bespoke interview questions that really help you to drill down to the level of detail needed to identify those candidates that will really perform once appointed.

Finding the Right Sales Recruitment Agency - How Difficult Can It Be?

Finding the right sales recruitment company can be tricky, we know that some of our competitors may not offer such a comprehensive service as that offered by ourselves. Often, this is because they are recruiting for many different roles and don’t have the knowledge, or the time, to focus just on sales recruitment in the way that we do.

As with most things in business, however, specialisation usually pays dividends. You wouldn't dream of using a bricklayer to run your payroll, or an accountant to fix your roof – apply the same logic to the business critical task of recruiting sales staff – use a specialist sales recruitment agency.

Our approach certainly takes most, if not all, of the risk out of recruiting sales staff but, just to be absolutely sure, we offer our clients even more peace of mind, and we’re very proud of it – it’s all thanks to our unique 12 months rebate scheme which gives you 52 weeks protection on your investment in new sales staff.

Yes, a full year’s protection for you – that’s how confident we are that, when you need to recruit sales staff, you’ll find the right sales people, every time, with Aaron Wallis.