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

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.

Please feel welcome to give me your feedback – I’m keen to understand whether what I’m seeing aligns with what you’re experiencing.

Sales pipelines coming under scrutiny.

Interesting meeting with the Sales Director of a multinational last week, who talked about the level of ‘interrogation” being applied to his team’s sales pipeline to ensure that the business truly understands the potential, and possible hurdles facing, each significant opportunity. Then had almost the identical conversation with the MD of a 10 person business, who’s doing the same. Perhaps the days of “rubbery” projections, based on the gut feel of the salesperson, are becoming numbered.

The rise of the telemarketer.

Not sure that I’ve seen enough evidence to call it a trend, but I’ve come across a number of businesses who’ve engaged telemarketers to perform the cold-calling function their Sales Reps have traditionally carried out. The idea is to bypass the “call reluctance” of many salespeople and have them spend more of their time in front of “qualified” prospects. Nothing new in this business model, perhaps, but interesting to see suppliers to sectors such as construction and resources adopting it.

It’s as tough as ever to find high-quality salespeople.

Despite the rise in redundancies and terminations, and the resulting surplus of people looking for new positions, most companies are still saying they’re struggling to find proven high-performers. In some cases, the employers’ expectations may be unrealistic, but there’s no doubt that people are staying put in their positions, rather than risk making the wrong move in a tough economic climate.

The value of networking.

I’ve had a number of sales leaders tell me they’ve gained value from exchanging ideas with peers from different industries, with a view to looking at how other sectors might be approaching the challenges we all face. I suspect there’s a twofold benefit involved – the exchange of ideas itself, and the comfort of knowing you’re not alone out there! In fact, the feedback has been so positive I’m looking at the potential of conducting roundtable discussions, involving sales managers from a variety of sectors bouncing off each other. Let me know if this might be of interest to you!

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.

Regards…Michael