The Benefits of using a head-hunter for revenue creating and business development roles.
Now you may have seen or heard of us suggesting the many benefits of using an industry specialist head-hunter for revenue creating and business development roles, but if you haven’t had the chance to discuss these benefits in detail with us, you may be very dubious as to how we can make such a claim.
Part 1: Improved Growth and a Healthier Sales Pipline
There is a clear and marked difference in the results of a top sales professional against an average performer. If you were to research the statistics on this, depending on where you look, you are likely to find that the most successful sales professionals in any company will typically be generating between 20-40% more than the rest, if not more.
And if you’ve been in a sales environment for long enough, I’m sure that you will be familiar with the application of Pareto’s Law in this situation; roughly 80% of your revenue, is generated by 20% of your salesforce. And similarly, roughly 80% of your sales is generated by 20% of your customer base.
Now while the exact proportion will of course vary in different situations, regardless of its accuracy in each scenario, Pareto’s principle is useful in determining and defining many areas of focus when planning your strategy and time. And we can apply this rule to recruiting too.
When it comes to hiring a new employee in a revenue generating or revenue managing role, if you focus only on communicating with, shortlisting and hiring from the top 20% in that niche, you are likely to find that these newcomers to your business will fit into the category of those generating most of your sales.
So imagine what your growth rate and capabilities as a business would look like if you always focussed on hiring the individuals that sit within that top 20%! And we’re not just talking about your VP’s and Sales Directors. If your direct, frontline sales professionals that are with your customers on a daily basis also come from this pool of top performers, you’ll find your business succeeding at all levels.
Now I’m not saying that you won’t get a good fit for the role if you use another methodology to hire, but one thing I have learnt over 20 years of headhunting is that it’s highly doubtful that the really top performers in a niche sector are going to be on the market and talking with agencies. I also know very well that many of them would not even entertain a call from a generalist recruiter. And furthermore, even if one of these individuals were considering a move, the percentage chance of them being in that mindset at the same time of you hiring is very little. So, the only way of guaranteeing a shortlist of candidates at this level every time, is to use a proactive industry specialist that either already know who they are or know how to approach and sell your vacancy to them.
Going back to the point here of why headhunted candidates will improve growth and pipeline, you must also take into consideration the implications of a revenue creating role being vacant. When someone leaves your sales team, whether expected or not, it’s critical to ensure that a suitable replacement is found as quickly as possible. Of course, it’s always a good idea to look internally but if the talent isn’t there to step up to the role, you will need to move very quickly to avoid any downturn while the territory is not being managed as well as it could. Many companies at this stage will not fully recognise the potential losses that can be incurred from a sales position being vacant, even if just for a month or two. Even worse, their first worry is how much it will cost to find the replacement.
It’s a big surprise to me how many companies seem to be regularly re-hiring for a sales position, because it didn’t work with the last hire, yet they follow the same process again. As many hiring processes can have a lifespan of months from initial role definition to the first day of employment, the time frame of the role being vacant can have a huge impact on the growth rate and pipeline. And this could result in projects or orders into the £m’s being lost. Now if you find yourself in this situation on a regular basis, who knows how much it could be costing you in lost earnings over the years! On top of this setback, whilst you are going through the processes of finding a new employee, it’s likely that your competitors will be doing everything they can to bring your customers business to them. If you aren’t giving them the attention they need, the likelihood is that someone else will.
In addition to these issues, you may also suffer from other problems that can have a negative impact on the business and its income. For example, if the vacancy is being looked after by someone that already has a busy schedule to manage, you run the risk of overworking that individual and potentially lowering the quality of their work, or even worse their job satisfaction and desire to stay. The customers that are now not getting the love they need may also start to have doubts about your business as a preferred supplier, if they see regular changes in contacts or a lack of quality and experience in the person you appoint to deal with them.
Now this of course is a worst-case scenario here, but going back to the theory of focussing on interviewing the top 20% every time you need to hire, even a fool must see that having a consistently successful rate of hiring top performers will bring a clear improvement to your growth and pipeline. This may be evident in a year, or maybe 3 years or more, but it could ultimately be the difference in your company driving forward or lagging behind.
So before you decide to wait around for applications or for an agency to fill the role because you believe it be the cheaper option, consider this benefit of the headhunt approach, not the cost. By using an industry specific headhunter that will only focus attracting top performers, there should consistently be a team in place striving to ensure that ambitious growth plans are achieved.
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