Many smaller businesses are originally set up with virtually every function depending on the owner/founder. This means that the owner also ends up being the main sales and business development person within the business. As they grow, these businesses may experience a rocky transition. This is especially true when building their sales teams and letting go of the daily chores of the sales cycle. This post lists three common blunders that small-to-medium-sized businesses make in sales recruitment and business development recruitment. These three blunders have been drawn up from experience working with small-to-medium-sized businesses in different industries and geographies.
Blunder 1 – Lack of Clarity in sales recruitment – “If you don’t know where you’re going any road will lead you there”
In many businesses, there is usually a degree of clarity on who the client could be in terms of the client persona, segments, characteristics, and main behaviours. However, there are situations where business owners/management are not clear or in agreement on how to approach the market. This lack of clarity may influence how the sales and BD function will be built, funded, and recruited. The downside of such ambiguity could result in candidates being recruited under unstable conditions with changing goals and targets. This could also lead to a higher level of sales employee turnover.
Blunder 2 – Misaligned Skill Sets in sales recruitment – “Fitting a square peg in a round hole”
The next blunder we encounter is when technical employees are assigned sales duties in a phase of the sales cycle be it lead generation, lead negotiation or closure. Technical employees are often knowledgeable about a product or technology and their skill is perceived as useful for the sales cycle. While this may work as a temporary solution, the sales and business development function requires a different skill set, aptitudes and personality traits. Experience shows that these requirements do not usually align with more technical profiles. In addition, technical employees are frequently selected based on their ability to maintain relationships with current clients. Such decisions can be a misjudgement since these skills are more suitable for ‘Account Management and Customer Support’ roles.
Blunder 3 – Impulsive Recruitment in sales recruitment – “Plugging the leak”
Another common scenario is where a sales or business development employee is recruited impulsively to solve an immediate need. This is also a common mistake in other recruitments and it is not exclusive to the sales and business development function. Since businesses are dynamic, with markets, customer segments, and geographic spread changing with time, there is a higher risk that such recruitment may not meet the company’s long-term requirements. This could lead to the realisation that the employee has ‘outgrown’ their role, necessitating the recruitment of a different calibre of resource.
Sales and business development functions are critical for a business’s survival. While we have discussed three common blunders in businesses setting up their functions, there are solutions to each one. The challenge is to analyse the present and future situation of the business, predict potential challenges, and prepare for them beforehand to prevent rather than tackle them. CMG Consulta is happy to discuss your sales and business development functions, helping you optimize your teams to drive the most value to your organisation.