Startup Sales – Why Hiring Seasoned Sales Reps May Not Work

A while back Mark Suster wrote a bunch of posts on Sales & Marketing and had been meaning to get back to that theme for a while.  Suster would tell you what to say, that “everything is a sale” including fund raising, hiring, getting press, and doing business development. So he hopes these posts will be useful to all and not just those who need road warriors.

How Sales People Can Be More Productive Starting Today – By Dave Kurlan

Dave Kurlan is a top-rated speaker, best-selling author, sales thought leader and highly regarded sales development expert.

The Forbes Success Calendar for 2/25/09 said, “Action and reaction, ebb and flow, trial and error, change – this is the rhythm of our living.  Out of our overconfidence, fear; out of our fear, clearer vision, fresh hope.  And out of hope, progress.” – Bruce Barton

I think this quote requires a serious revision – for the sales force and for the company.

First, let’s make it shorter.

Action.  Today, any action is better than inaction. And don’t react, just respond appropriately.  Reactions are emotional while responses are intentional.

Change is good but forget trial and error.  In this economy there is no margin for error.  Everything you do must be time-tested and proven.

Hope is not a strategy but unwavering belief will lead to progress and in turn, confidence.

My revision: If what you are doing today is not yielding the desired result, respond, take action, change, believe, progress, succeed.

(c) Copyright 2009 Dave Kurlan

Gracefully Decline a Job Offer

Original Post: The Ladders
By Andrew Klappholz

It sounds too good to be true. One highly touted job seeker was hit with a perfect financial services storm: job offers from Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan Chase and Blackrock — all at the same time.

This was the situation facing one client of career coach Connie Thanasoulis-Cerrachio, a partner at SixFigureStart and former head of staffing for Merrill Lynch Asset Management.

Is it an embarrassment of riches to be presented with such wonderful opportunities in the wake of a global financial crisis? Sure, but this job seeker also had a difficult task on her hands. She had to turn down two of these three giants and do so in a way that protected her relationships and reputation at each.

In an era where very few can afford to burn any bridges, she handled the matter gracefully and honestly.

“In one case, she referred someone else for the position,” said Thanasoulis-Cerrachio. “In both cases, she explained why it was critical for her to accept the offer she did. Respect was felt all the way around.”

Respect is the ultimate goal when declining a job offer, said Ginny Clarke, author of “Career Mapping: Charting Your Course in the New World of Work.”

“No one is taking this stuff personally,” Clarke said. “Don’t lie. If you like another job [more], be honest.”

She suggests contacting the hiring manager quickly and by phone — never in an e-mail — and offer specific reasons why another opportunity is a better fit for you, whether it’s the hours, location or industry trends. In the event that you’re taking another offer because it’s a higher salary, it should be at least $10,000 more per year if you’re going to use money as your official explanation. If it’s within that margin, Clarke suggests emphasizing a secondary reason during the call, such as stability or a clearer promotional path.

Declining a job offer by phone this way is more professional and respectful, and provides an opportunity for an open exchange where you could give helpful feedback to the hiring manager. Then, you could follow up with him by sending your contact information at your new job.

“There’s nothing wrong with saying, ‘Here’s where I ended up,’ ” she said.

Many job seekers feel squeamish about declining an offer after selling themselves during the interview process, but that’s not a legitimate concern in a professional setting, Clarke said. “It doesn’t mean that you’re disloyal. It’s not about loyalty but it is about integrity.”

The ‘Reputation Issue’

As a recruiter, Clarke once had a candidate who was offered a job and then had a family emergency that meant he wouldn’t be able to move there. The man was in a tough spot, but he chose to put family first and quickly explained his sensitive situation to the manager who offered him the job.

“She respected that about his character — that he made that decision,” Clarke said.

The man stayed in touch with the company and when his family matter stabilized months later, he reapplied to the company and got the job.

Not all job seekers are so graceful. Another one of Clarke’s candidates applied for a job without ever planning on accepting it. He was just “playing” her client in order to leverage a promotion with his current employer.

“It damaged his reputation,” she said. “There’s a reputation issue you’re trying to maintain.”

Naviga Networks with Sales Gravy!

2011 Sales Hiring Trends Survey

In an effort to gain insight and provide a comprehensive report on current trends in sales hiring, retention and compensation Sales Gravy is conducting a 2011 Sales Hiring Trends Survey and co-branding the results report with Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search. We are surveying sales hiring managers, recruiters, HR managers, and senior executives across a wide cross section of industries.

We are already seeing solid trends indicating that 2011 will be a big year for sales hiring and that the fight for talented sales professionals will become even more competitive. We currently have 76,000 sales jobs posted on Sales Gravy up from 26,000 a year ago this time. Just this week CNN Money reported that there are indicators that point to an overall hiring boom in 2011.

Our goal with the 2011 Sales Hiring Trends Survey is to quantify what is really happening in the marketplace and provide you with actionable data that will help you with the decisions your organization makes realtive to sales talent sourcing strategies.

The survey has only 9 questions and takes less than 5 minutes to complete. You will also receive a gift for participating. I hope you will take a few minutes today to add your voice to our report on 2011 Sales Hiring Trends.

Start the survey.

Thank very much for your participation. We will provide you with the formal 2011 Sales Hiring Trends report in late January.

How High Is Your Sales “IQ?”

“The treasure is there, you just need the combination” – Mark Heerema

Imagine every prospective customer’s mind is like a sealed vault, and that behind its metal, locked doors lay the treasure you are looking for. You know, due to the strength and size of the door no human is strong enough to force it open. Rather, the only way in is to get the information from the person who knows the combination. Obviously though, the owner of the treasure does not give the combination out willingly. Someone looking for this information would have to be very skilled in asking specific questions that might give them clues as to what the combination might be. Read More.