Welcome to my monthly update, focusing on issues that I’m seeing in my business, which may be of relevance to you and yours.

My insights are gained by virtue of:

  • fielding any number of calls per day from people considering career changes;
  • meeting most days with sales leaders within both corporates and SMEs, to talk about issues facing their businesses;
  • conducting up to a dozen in-depth, face-to-face interviews with salespeople each week; and
  • attending industry-specific events such as MESCA Briefings, Bowen Basin Mining Club and Brisbane Mining Club functions every month.

By way of background, I’ve been recruiting since September 2003, with a specific focus on sales, sales leadership and business development roles across the resources, construction and engineering sectors for the vast majority of that time.

Enjoy, and please feel welcome to give me your feedback (I’m a recruiter, I can take you being direct!).

2013 – Quarter 1 is done and dusted:

There’s business out there, but it’s patchy. Companies I’m talking to – often direct competitors – are reporting a real mixed bag in terms of market conditions. Some seem to be holding their own, while others are telling me tales of woe in terms of market conditions. There’s not universal doom and gloom, but there’s not rampant optimism out there, either.

Investment in systems is paying off. It’s probably no coincidence that businesses which have spent time on their sales processes, and on coaching implementation of those processes into their sales teams, are reporting a payoff. More effective targeting of prospects, more productive meetings with those prospects, and more accurate, realistic pipelines are examples of the anecdotal feedback I’m hearing.

But not everyone’s doing it. The good news, for those who have put structure and rigour around their sales processes, is that plenty haven’t. And I’m not just talking about the SME sector, which is where one might expect less structure – there are corporates I’ve met with that are still not using effective CRM systems, and plenty of salespeople and BDMs working without KPIs other than the sales number they’re expected to deliver. Scary, but true.

Compelling EVPs matter. If you’re looking to attract top talent and you don’t have a compelling EVP, you’re in strife. Don’t know what an EVP is? It’s your Employee Value Proposition, and it’s the reason people decide to join your business (or not). Good people need to be sold the opportunity if you’re going to have a shot at convincing them to leave what they’re doing now (and your pitch need not have anything to do with what you’re going to pay them, by the way).

“Turning up” works. Some of the best few performers I’ve talked to in recent months have a very simple outlook – be persistent, be consistent, and try to deliver value in every conversation and meeting they have with a customer or prospect. Simple stuff, but it seems to work. Who’d have thought?

As always, please feel welcome to call anytime, should you be looking to source high-quality sales talent or wanting to discuss where your career is heading.