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How To Select A Sales And Marketing Recruiting Firm

There are lots of staffing companies, executive search firms & headhunters in the marketplace. If your company is looking to hire sales or marketing talent, how can you distinguish between these different service providers to determine who will do the best job of finding you the top candidates that you need?

One of the key things to look for…probably the top thing to look for in fact, is a company that specializes only in sales and marketing engagements. Search firms that specialize in sales and marketing are few and far between.

There are a lot of staffing and recruiting firms out there that specialize in finance, accounting, IT, etc, but very few that actually have a focus in the sales and marketing arena. Why is this? Because sales and marketing searches are the most challenging recruiting assignments to do correctly. It’s much more difficult to measure the skills, experience and ability of a salesperson than it is to measure the experience of a programmer or an accounting professional. This is why a lot of companies that are in the staffing business shy away from doing sales & marketing search assignments.

Sales & marketing search specialists are staffed with VP’s of sales, and or sales and marketing executives who have lots of experience in hiring this kind of personnel…so what you’re really doing is hiring their expertise at having done the same thing over and over and over again. They have much more rigorous processes, sales profiling tools and proven techniques to get at the heart of whether or not sales and marketing candidates are really capable of producing the results you need for your company. Likewise they have large databases and pools of talent that they draw from, since they make it their business to track the top candidates and make them available for client searches.

So if you’re considering going outside or outsourcing your sales and marketing recruiting to a search firm, make sure that the one that you select is focused in sales and marketing only. If you do, you have a much better chance of attracting and retaining the kind of top talent that you’ll need in order to accelerate your company’s sales growth.

Sales and Marketing Disease Cures Weak Profits

Had an interesting time at the doctor’s last week.

I won’t say it was fun (is going to doctors EVER fun?)

But it was interesting and even kind of useful from a sales and marketing standpoint.

Here is what happened:

Two weeks ago, I was diagnosed with something by my regular (allopathic) doctor which I have absolutely zero symptoms for (it only showed up on a blood test). And last week I went to a naturopathic doctor for a second opinion.

No… I’m not dying or anything like that.

It is just a minor league (really minor league) health “glitch” I’m hoping was incorrectly diagnosed the first time. And, frankly, it’s a joke compared to REAL health problems people are facing. (Like cancers, strokes, paralysis, multiple sclerosis, etc.)

Still, it got me to thinking.

Right now, this particular “ailment” is HOT on my mind.

I’m looking up everything I can on the subject with Google. And I’ve sorta become a wannabe expert about it (like I told my naturopathic doctor, “I know just enough about this problem to be dangerous to myself”).

Anyway, here’s the point:

There’s nothing about this health problem that’d bore me.

No sales letter on the subject that’d be too long.

No cold call that’d I hang up on.

And guess what?

Chances are, you have people like this in YOUR market, too – who really want to solve the problem you have the answer for.

And if you want to make selling super easy, focus on THEM.

In fact, if you do, you almost can’t fail.

Avoiding the Sales and Marketing Trap to Increase Revenue

Suzie was a new hire business-to-business sales representative. She had just completed the company’s two-week basic training course. After the training, her sales manager met with her.

“Suzie, congratulations on completing the training,” he said. “Remember, you have three months to make your quota. We have provided base salary, cell phone, laptop, desk and car allowance. Now go sell something!

What does Suzie do next? She probably will run around like crazy, trying to find anyone who might have the slightest interest in buying her product, while the quota clock relentlessly ticks.

What did the company that employed Suzie miss? It failed to understand the fundamental difference between marketing and sales. This misunderstanding may cause Suzie to waste a lot of time, the company to incur unnecessary expense, and adversely impact operations. Here is what every business should know:

• Marketing is about finding prospective buyers with a need, want or desire to which you can sell. Marketing is finding.
• Sales is about helping an identified prospective buyer fill a need, want or desire from which they benefit. Sales is filling.

If this distinction didn’t hit, go back and read it again. It’s that important.
By having Suzie find her own prospects (someone that may have interest in buying), the company has placed the marketing responsibility on her shoulders. You may think, well that’s what salespeople are supposed to do.

That’s the common misconception. About 50 percent to 70 percent of a salesperson’s time is spent trying to find a prospect. That’s mostly wasted time. If Suzie’s “finding time” could be re-allocated to “filling time” – being in front of more prospects, selling, she probably would close more business.
Without any certainty that Suzie will make a sale, the company will invest at least $3,000 in hiring, time, salary, equipment and car allowance before Suzie begins seeking sales prospects. If she’s fired after three months, the company will have to go through the entire process again, resulting in additional expenses.

Here is a quick example on how expenses can add up. By placing the “finding” burden on the sales rep, a company will wind up replacing 30 percent of its sales force every three months.

Suppose there are 10 sales people on staff. That means spending $36,000 to hire new sales people in a 12-month period. Perhaps that company may be better off taking that $36,000 and investing it into marketing to find new customers.

Without business owners or executives realizing it, the sales / marketing misconception can cause flaws in a business plan as well as operational issues.

Here’s an example. In the 1990′s, telecommunications was exploding. Many new companies hired armies of sales reps, who had to find perspective customers and sell them.
They were given three months to make quota or be fired. Each day, they had to bring back 50 business cards – walking into businesses where they didn’t know anyone – to prove they had satisfied their cold-calling requirement.

Sure enough, every three months, 30 percent of the sales force was fired.
What happened to these companies? Some went bankrupt while others eventually were rescued in buyouts. These were all well-funded companies. But the top executives failed to understand the distinction between marketing and sales.

What was the Marketing Department doing if the sales reps were doing marketing? Well, it thought it was doing marketing. In one case, it spent a lot of money hiring a well-known sports figure and holding fancy parties for big customers to attend, where they could hobnob and get an autograph.

Also, the Marketing Department was busy analyzing the kinds of customers that sales was selling.
Marketing is a vast area. But at it core, it needs to find people to turn into customers. Otherwise, marketing has probably drifted off into analysis dreamland.

Here’s an example in which marketing hit a home run for a startup company.

To kick off sales efforts, the marketing manager found a shopping mall that was hosting a local business day. Space was purchased at the mall show for $500. A mailer was sent just before the show, inviting residents and business owners to stop by the table to enter a drawing for a free gift. The mailer cost $400. Sales reps greeted people who stopped by the table. The result was 30 new customers. The event was a big success.

Go through all the business cards that sales representatives have given you and look at their titles. If it says “sales representative,” call the rep and ask them if they have to find their own prospects.

But if it says “marketing representative,” you can bet the company is confused about the distinction between sales and marketing. Make sure that the mixed-up company isn’t yours, whether you’re a one-person operation, small business or large organization.