Posts Tagged ‘sales performance’

It’s April of 2011 and congratulations, you’ve likely recognized that “The Recession” is nearing an end.  You’ve become profitable again…maybe even realized quarter over quarter growth a couple times in a row, and you’re ready to think about hiring.

You better think hard…hiring isn’t the same as it was 2 years ago.  “What’s different?”  I’m glad you asked:

1) The job boards that you used to rely on…useless.

2) Your HR Generalist trying to recruit talent…useless.

3) Your antiquated technologies that use to be cutting edge…useless.

4) The same old salary that you’re paying your current employees…I think you get the idea.

Go ahead, scratch your head…and while you’re scratching that noggin, stop thinking and just accept the fact that growing a business is just like it was back in the good old days when you first got started — A RISK!

As a professional in the IT staffing and IT projects business, I get to witness symptoms of this on a daily basis in numerous forms.  I am going to let you in on a very important secret that I don’t want you to forget until the DJIA drops to 8,000 again: the people that are good at what they do are currently working and need to be headhunted.  The candidates that you want on your team are getting contacted by 5 other people like you on a weekly basis.

So what are you going to do different from them?

Since this conversation is starting to click for you and you’ve already answered this on your own, and screamed out “offer them more money!”, we should probably address a second problem: are there rockstars on your current team that are going to be making less money than the new rockstars that you’re going to be onboarding?  It would obviously be common sense and redundant if I told you that you may want to give them a raise if you want to keep them around much longer, so I won’t go there.

I don’t care if you’re hiring software developers, executives, sales professionals, recruiters, marketing analysts, realtors, or dirt farmers (um…oxymoron…disregard) — here are the facts:

– I’ve had 17 candidates that myself and my recruiting team have been working with, in the last 2 months, receive between 2-4 simultaneous offers in the same week

– In a recent survey that I took within the inner circle of my professional network, I’ve found that most of us are getting called, e-mailed and/or “InMailed” an average of 4.5 times per week by executives, head hunters, or other professionals trying to solicit us for a new position.

I met with a customer recently that has suffered incredible turnover issues in the past year.  Despite the aggressive growth plans that they have for 2011, they’ve been struggling to add to the team fast enough to keep up with their attrition.  I asked them, “do you really think that you’re really going to find the talent that you’re looking for given what you are offering to pay?”  This customer in particular couldn’t fathom that my team and I weren’t able to find the level of talent that they were looking for.  They immediately got defensive and quoted statistics about how they’re paying above the “local average”.

We can all subscribe to Culpepper or Salary.com and preach statistics until there’s no tomorrow — but that won’t help us get what they’re looking for.

I don’t know about you, but “average” is unacceptable to me and I’d rather open my wallet, take a risk, and go after the rainmakers — and so would your competitors!

The New Year is just around the corner and people all over the world are making resolutions, measuring previous performance and benchmarks, and deciding on what changes they want to make and implement in their personal lives.  In the business world, professionals are hopefully doing the same thing.  Although we should be thinking about this on a constant basis, what better a time than the mark of a New Year to stop, take a breath, and ask ourselves, “How can I improve?”

In 2011 I, personally, am going to throw away my Social Media crutches.  The way that we interact with clients and prospects and our methods of lead generation have changed drastically in the last few years.  The way our brains work and process information that help us decide who we want to trust our business with, however, has not.  I have had the opportunity to work with and alongside many sales professionals and sales leaders over the last five years.  During this time, I’ve seen many different types of approaches work or fail, and many sales people come and go.  One of the biggest reasons that I see good sales people fail, however, is because they forget to realize that Social Media is merely an enabler for sales and recruitment, not the “end all, be all.”  They hide behind their computer, their “social network”, and their e-mail waiting for customers to come to them.  Social Media needs to be incorporated as merely a small component of your lead generation means — it should not encompass your entire strategy.

Call me old fashioned, but deep client relationships are established by a series of interactions and a realization of value over a period of time.  LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter provide us with a way to facilitate interactions and reach out to prospective customers and in some cases even establish credibility, but there are a lot of key pieces to the sales process such as trust, repoire, and the overall ability to make a strong impact on a prospect that simply cannot be transferred via anything “2.0”.  Any YoYo can can write a nice introductory paragraph and hit send and hope that the person on the receiving end replies.  The problem with doing this is twofold: 1) 20 other YoYos just sent the same message to the same person today, and 2) actions are stronger than words.  Your ability to make an impact or an impression decreases by 85% when your means of communication is typed or written.

Nobody likes traditional cold-calling, but if you are good at what you do, you believe in your product or service, and are able to effectively communicate the value-add that your product or service will have to the customer, than every time you pick up the phone or meet with a customer face-to-face, you have the ability to make a positive impact and leave an impression.  Mannerisms, tone, confidence, body language — every aspect of interpersonal communication that lead customers to want to do business with you — cannot be done by using social media or sending somebody an “InMail” or “Tweet” that says “Happy Holidays, Please Be My Client.”

As you think about how you want to tweak your sales and marketing strategy moving into 2011, I urge you to follow my suit and throw away your social media crutches also.  Use Social Media wisely to compliment your strategy — but for the love of St. Nicholas — get on the horn, hit the pavement, make an impact and leave an impression. 

May everyone have an incredible Holiday Season, a Happy New Year, and top sales performance in 2011!!!