According to a ManPowerGroup’s Talent Shortage Survey 2013, the top three
talents in short supply on a global basis are:
The same is true for the 24 countries ManPowerGroup are present in the EMEA region. This is not surprising to anyone who understands the history of sales education. What was also not surprising is that nine of 21 countries in Europe reported a shortage of talent for Sales Managers within the top 10.
the same time, there are tremendous rewards for those who take the right steps to
create a competitive advantage. The biggest risk that companies reported was the impact in the ability to serve customers, by 18 of 24 EMEA countries.
- 48% Ability to serve clients
- 42% Reduced competitiveness / Productivity
- 24% Increased Turnover
Additionally, 50% of survey respondents said that there is a Medium to High impact on servicing clients. Comparing the 2012 survey, the impact to customers was detrimental, growing by 31.5% year over year. Simply put the picture for the customer grew much bleaker in 2013.
What business does not need to react when their ability to service their clients is
One would think every company would be putting plans into motion. However, 29%
of employers facing skill gaps reported that they were not pursing any strategy to
bridge the gap.
Of those who are doing something about their gaps, 26% are focusing on their
people with additional training and development. This is great for 1 in 4 companies.
Additionally, 7% are placing people into positions where they do not have the skills
but have the potential to learn. Sounds like on-the-job training and not something for
your revenue generating, customer facing professionals.Another area companies are trying to fill in the skills gap is through Work Models.
The top for results of the survey were:
- Increase the focus on improving our talent pipeline
- Redesign current work procedures
- Integrate contingent workers into the process
- Offering more flexible work arrangements
Once again most of these are not favorable to improving the support of the
customer. Only the first, increasing the focus on improving our talent pipeline, is a
sure winner for sales and marketing departments. Besides recruiting firms, the best place to find qualified sales professionals is out there in the field. Seeing someone in action - in-front of the customer, preparing to walk in the door, taking the time to review what just happened and plan for the next visit – are examples of how to grow a bench of qualified sales professionals.
The best people to do this are sales managers. They are the one’s out there in the field who can observe first-hand how a potential employee works without the bias of being on a job interview.
I once knew a sales manager who was told by their boss that the boss would let the sales manager get rid of the entire team and start over; if it was possible. This particular team was stuck in the bottom 10% of the rankings for over two years. Within six months, through a combination of performance management, leadership, coaching and training, this team was in the top 10%.
Is there a shortage of qualified sales representatives, yes! Is this shortage going to
be solved any time soon, No! Organizations are going to have to make sure they have strong leaders, strong coaches and when necessary; strong managers to handle performance issues. Do not lower your expectations to match a lower level of talent. Instead, invest where you have a better chance of seeing the return you need. Invest in improving your policies, processes and procedures to match your higher expectations. Then invest in your front-line sales managers – they key to sales success.
Unfortunately, the norm is to spend large amounts of money and time sending sales
professionals to a series of 2 day workshops to improve sales skills. Those same two day workshops fill social media with reactions from trainees such as: “nice trainer, good stuff, nice hotel and we got to catch up with our buddies. Then Monday morning came and it was back to business as usual.”
Improve your sales and marketing policies, processes and procedures. Then your sales manager’s skill sets of leading, coaching and managing the performance of sales professionals so you can look forward to better returns.
Managing Director at VisioneersPartner