Technical sales and sales-management positions play a critical role for U.S. businesses, but they are among the hardest to fill, according to a 2014 report from Harvard Business School’s U.S. Competitiveness Project. This week’s Wall Street Journal featured an interesting article titled, Bright Future in Sales? Millennials Are Hesitant. The writer highlighted the difficulty employers were having convincing millennials to work in sales.
One of the companies mentioned in this piece is Paycor Inc., which sells cloud-based software for human-resources and payroll management. Their CEO said it would have forecast $2 million more in 2015 revenue if it had hit its 2014 hiring goals for new sales reps in 2014. The time spent bringing new reps up to speed means the company doesn’t see the full benefit of their productivity until 12 to 18 months into their tenure.
Paycor recently added seven dedicated sales recruiters. This move will do little to move their efforts forward. Here’s what needs to be done to successfully attract and retain Millennials to your sales force.
Hiring is a relationship business. Imagine the following scenarios. You’re a Millennial who receives an email from Bob in HR about a job opportunity with one of your competitors. You are pretty happy with your position and decide it’s best not to tempt fate. You decline Bob’s offer (via text) and go about your day. The following day, you receive a call from a CEO who happens to be best friends with your mom. She briefly chats with you and then asks if you’d be willing to meet with her to discuss an incredible opportunity she has in her organization. You immediately say yes.
Hiring is all about personal connections. Stop relying on recruiters and start getting out of your office. Every CEO and executive should be actively seeking talent.
Are you pedaling a job or selling a purpose? From where I stand, most companies are selling products, not purpose. It’s no wonder young people aren’t crazy about going into the field of sales! In her most recent book, Selling With a Nobel Purpose, sales expert Lisa McLeod tells the story of a young woman who is in pharmaceutical sales. This person pounds the pavement everyday because in her heart she knows she is saving lives. She isn’t pushing drugs. She is helping people to live longer and healthier lives.
Young people today rank purpose high up on their list of what they are looking for when seeking work. Are you selling a job or a purpose? A few tweaks and some shifting of your thinking can yield immediate and sustainable results.
If you can’t sell people on sales, then maybe you shouldn’t be in sales. Recruiting and hiring people is a sales job, yet companies continue to dump this role on HR people who haven’t a clue what to do. You have some choices here. You can bring in a sales expert to train your HR people on how to sell and close deals or you can hire experienced sales people who already have those skills. Note: if you chose to hire experienced sales people then you will need to restructure your compensation system as most expect to be paid based on results.
This post and the WSJ article should serve as a wake up call for companies on auto pilot. You are losing millions every year by continuing to do what no longer works. You must immediately change your approach before millions turn into loses that will bankrupt your company.
This article was written by Roberta Matuson from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network. SmartRecruiters is the hiring success platform to find and hire great people.