When it comes to company assets, top sales professionals are prized jewels in the organization’s treasury, to be guarded well (and given the occasional polish). In fact, according to one of Manpower Inc.’s previous Annual Talent Shortage Survey, sales professionals make up the second rated in-demand candidates across the globe.
In order to vie for those few prized gems, companies and their sales managers need to be vigilant in their search. “Employers need to continue their diligence in developing their employer brands and honing their talent strategies,” says Jeffrey Joerres, Manpower Inc. Chairperson and CEO.
The current state of the economy isn’t helping matters, either. “Even though we are recovering from recent recession effects, and sitting on a low unemployment rate, it is extremely hard to find high calibre sales talent,” says Jeremy Miller, a partner with sales professional recruitment firm LEAPJob,
Miller says how a company grooms the next generation of sales talent, develops them, and holds onto them is vital to a sales team’s and therefore the company’s success. Any business should have a clear understanding of their identity, and instill a consistent brand message throughout the organization, says Miller. “It is not a best practice. It’s a must-do to avoid crisis.”
According to Paul Dodd, President of recruitment firm Head2Head, finding qualified sales professionals is one of the biggest challenges an organization will have. “Good sales professionals are the ones who make a difference,” says Dodd. “It’s important to establish what an organization is looking for in a sales team, modeling on their existing competencies, and their leaders. I think there is a misconception that an excellent salesperson must be an excellent sales manager.”
Wayne Flannigan, Director of Sales Operations with ADP Canada, a provider of integrated business administrative solutions,offers key components to hiring and retaining top sales professionals.
ADP recently extended its two-year in-house Associate Development plan to a three-year New Hire Orientation plan. Some building blocks include sales process and the mastery of sales skills; ADP processes, and their ability to navigate ADP’s environment; and management accountability for creating and seeing through personal development plans. A blended learning approach combines E-Learning, classroom training, and mentoring. There’s daily interaction with managers, ensuring new hires adhere to their six-week Associate Development plan calendar. During the third year, program associates begin mentoring newer associates.
For many aspiring sales professionals, a formal sales training and sales certification process is the key to success, like CPSA’s Certified Sales Professional designation program, an accredited sales certification program that enhances the value and credibility of sales professionals through teaching professional sales standards.
To some, however, the best classroom is the workforce itself. “There is no better way to showcase what you can bring to a company than to go in there, do a presentation in front of their executives, and assess whether or not you can do the job,” says Dan Liska of research and advisory firm Info-Tech Research Group. “Some people talk a good game at job interviews, but when it comes down to crunch time … they’re not real hard workers,” he says.
Employers and salespeople should heed Liska’s final statement. He says while talking with recruiters, he learned many were dealing with recent graduates who asked what the companies could do for them.
Indeed, sales professionals should also be asking, what can they do for their potential employers. It is, after all, a two-way road to success.
Five Key Points to grooming tomorrow’s sales leaders.
Lisa Leitch, President of sales and marketing source Teneo Results, recommends fi ve key points which she says will provide a clear path for grooming tomorrow’s sales leaders.
1. Do they fit?
“Before you hire them, you need to make sure you are hiring the right people for the right jobs,” says Leitch, who recommends CPSA’s online assessment tool, Profile XT.
2. Know thyself.
Get to know your business first before you put sales professionals out on the street to go out and get new business.
“I am a huge advocate of CPSA’s Certified Sales Professional designation,” says Leitch.
Get to know that person, what their goals are, and how to hold them accountable.
5. Just Rewards.
Leitch stresses the importance of rewards and compensation, in order to provide motivation for each
This article was originally published in CPSA’s Contact Magazine.
Learn more about CPSA’s Certified Sales Professional designation.
Learn more about CPSA’s sales assessments.
Learn more about CPSA’s Professional Development programs.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are strictly those of the author. CPSA does not endorse any of the companies, products and services mentioned within this article.