Tag Archives: Google

Is Your Business Attractive to Top Talent?

How do I attract top sales talent? I find this question being asked repeatedly when speaking with business and sales leaders. It is nearly unanimous that they all struggle with finding and keeping good sales professionals. attracting-top-talent

Solving this tough challenge involves selling your company as much to prospective employees as to prospective customers.  Too many businesses set up all of their marketing and communications towards clients.  Companies that want to win the war for top sales talent should consider expanding efforts in four key areas.

1.  Marketing Your Company and Positions

Your company website is a critical piece of the recruitment puzzle.  It affects your visibility on search engines like Google or job boards like Indeed and SimplyHired.  Is there a well-defined section of your website for careers with updated positions and information about what it’s like to work in your company? For many companies there are significant discrepancies between the needs they have and the positions listed on their site.  Either all of the positions are not listed, or the job descriptions are not clear or attractive to the type of people you want.  Unfortunately, your website may be your only chance at making a good first impression or even being found online.

2.  Cultivate Your Network

As you encourage your sales reps to network for new business, coach your employees and your team to network for prospective employees.  Keep your current employees informed of new openings or ongoing hiring needs and ask them to spread the word to their networks on LinkedIn or other communities.  Ensure all of your front line employees who answer the phone or receive emails are aware of how to handle career inquiries in a positive and inviting manner.  As you build a pool of interested, qualified candidates, keep in touch with them.

3.  Convey Your Culture

A description of your company culture will help attract the types of professionals that best fit in with your company. One of the biggest hurdles in getting top talent to leave their current employer is a mismatch of culture expectations.  Top performers want to work in a culture that allows them to thrive.  By having a clear definition of the environment you offer and the types of people that thrive in your business, you will improve candidates’ ability to self-select. It will also help the team members interviewing the candidates to clarify the requirements.

If you use external recruiters to find top talent, make sure that they are consistently conveying your message and supporting your employment brand.  A good strategy is to retain a sales recruiting firm that is invested in professionally delivering a consistent message to prospective candidates.

4.  Clearly explain the benefits of working for your company

To help explain the benefits of working for your company, start by asking yourself and current employees, “What makes my company better to work for than other firms in the area?”  Try to find what makes your company different and what makes your employees happy and use these as selling points for potential employees. Many employers try to compete on pay, but pay is only one of many benefits that prospective candidates consider (and typically is NOT the deciding factor).  If you can provide uniqueness in your employer brand, you will likely stand out as a well sought after company to work for!

Top talent drives top results for your company.  If you want to be the best, you need to hire the best.  To start attracting the best, you need to be attractive!  Ensure you are selling yourself to prospective employees.

What actions have you taken to ensure your company is attracting top candidates?

This post is the first in a multi-part series about making your business attractive to top sales talent.  In the next part of this series we will delve further into Marketing Your Company and Positions. Find out why you may not be getting potential employees to apply for your jobs. 

Create Early Warning Systems to Detect Competitive Threats

by Scott Anthony, Harvard Business Review

Eighteen months ago, a massive earthquake struck off the northeast coast of Japan. The tsunami it unleashed caused devastating damage whose effects are still being felt. But it could have been even worse. Instead, a mere three seconds after the earthquake struck, a sophisticated early warning system kicked in. The system then triggered a series of messages via TV and cell phone warning about the impending tsunami that came about nine minutes later — which, as a Time magazine reporter noted, “can be just enough time to take cover, drive a car to the side of the road, step back from getting on an elevator or stop medical surgery.”

Corporations should have early warning systems to detect emerging competitive threats that have long-term potential to affect their business. Just as seismologists used research to determine what to watch for and then distributed networks of sensors to identify the right signals, strategists can look back at past transformations to inform their own analyses.

Strategists need to understand how tomorrow’s industry could be structured. The work of two of the most important scholars in the field, Clayton Christensen and Richard N. Foster, suggests considering five questions:

1. How willing are customers to continue to pay for further improvements in performance that historically merited attractive price premiums? One of the key tipping points in a market occurs when a company, in Christensen’s language, overshoots a given market tier by providing them performance that they can’t use. Your television remote control probably serves as a daily reminder of overshooting. Each of those buttons can do wonderful things, but would you pay extra monthly fees for yet another button? Probably not. When overshooting begins to set in, industries can change rapidly.

2. Are customer preferences and habits changing due to enabling technologies and/or changing social norms? Companies often miss important shifts because they start not among mainstream customers, but at people at the fringes of the market. But remember, the quirky behavior that teenagers follow today (100 text messages an hour!) becomes mainstream just a few short years later.

3. How active are startups at the industry’s edge? For much of the 1980s and 1990s, many parts of the startup ecosystem focused on communications, technology, and health care. In the past few years, there have been significant investments in markets like data analytics, 3-D printing, renewable energy, and financial services. Executives in market leaders in those sectors need to watch these developments carefully, because the seeds of transformation are being sown as we speak.

4. Are competitors with disruptive strategies having a material impact on portions of the industry? Christensen’s research shows clearly that transformation often comes in the form a disruptive innovator that makes consumption simpler, convenient, and more affordable. When a company with a lower-cost business model or one based around radical simplicity gains traction, it augurs significant change. Disruption is moving from a dream (or nightmare, depending on your perspective) to a reality in the financial services industry. Jack Dorsey’s Square is processing millions of dollars in payments a day with its simple but powerful solution. Wonga‘s payday loan offering continues to grow rapidly. And companies like Google, Apple, and even telecommunications titans are eying the industry. Executives that dismiss these developments do so at their own peril.

5. Will current or pending changes in government action shift the basis or competition or make life easier for entrants? The government is often portrayed as an inhibitor to innovation, but that’s not fair. Many commercial innovations, including the Internet, mobile technologies, and countless lifesaving drugs, have their roots in government research. Nonetheless, in Seeing What’s Next we described how governments can curtail both the motivation and ability of innovators to drive disruption. When governments change the rules, or focus their ample buying power in new directions, executives need to stand up and take notice.

Companies need to do more than analyze early warning signals. They need to make sure they organize and act in ways that maximize their chances of responding accordingly. And they need to recognize that, all too often, the right time to start is before they feel the need to response. Good early warning systems provide the data to help inform these decisions.

(One increasingly important component of a company’s strategic early warning system is sniffing signals in social media. Doubting companies should look no further than seismologists. Remarkably, the Twitter Earthquake Detection system detected a recent earthquake off the coast of the Philippines before advanced equipment. It is another sign of how breathtakingly fast our world is changing.)

Scott leads Innosight’s Asian operations. His fourth book on innovation, The Little Black Book of Innovation, is now available (HBR Press, January 2012). Follow him on Twitter at@ScottDAnthony.

High Impact Marketing Strategies for the 2nd Half

By Kevin Steffey

Marketing Strategies for High Impact on SalesEarlier this week, Kathleen Steffey discussed 4 Steps to Accelerate Your Sales Growth Now.  One  suggestion in that post was to increase investment in lead generation tactics.  I felt it was important to expand on aligning marketing efforts to achieve this goal.  A few tactics that can have immediate impact include:

  1. Get creative with your current clients.
    Often our assumptions about how we are doing business with our current clients can cloud our perspective on new and unique ways to engage them.  For instance, we might assume our customers like to hear from us via our regular newsletter and will call if they have new business.  Or, our sales reps may believe their customers only like to buy specific products from us and other products from a competitor.I encourage you to take a step back and test the waters to see if you could offer a special promotion to your current customers that bundles additional products.  Or, test out new communications options such as a direct call from executive management to engage in a strategic discussion about their business direction.  You may find opportunities for a deeper relationship and increased sales potential.  Sometimes thinking out of the box on your customer approach could be just what the doctor ordered.
  2. Increase Pay Per Click (PPC) Advertising.
    If you are already doing PPC advertising, you have a wealth of information about what campaigns are working from your analytics tools from Google or Bing.  Use these tools to quantify your cost per lead and invest where you are getting a good return.  In my experience using Google Adwords, there is a direct relationship between ad budget and leads.  If I wanted to double leads, double your budget and you could predict fairly well the results (assuming there is unfulfilled demand for your product).  If your return is favorable at one level of investment, increase it for predictable results.If you are not using PPC, I would highly encourage getting started.  The great thing about PPC is you can start with a budget  you feel comfortable with and start testing it out.  There are lots of resources to help you (although a little trial and error in small steps is a very effective way to get started).  However, it is not as daunting as many will have you believe.  So, give it a chance.
  3. Capitalize on Word of Mouth, Referrals, and Recommendations.
    Studies show that over 90% of purchases involve some form of checking with trusted peers.  It is critical that you are leveraging outstanding performance with your current clients to drive new business.  A few examples of how to leverage positive word of mouth include:
  • incorporate requesting recommendations on LinkedIn directly on the heels of completing a successful transaction with a client. Apply those recommendations in your prospecting activity with companies in the same industry.
  • Put a profile or case study of your recent success right on your website and your social network pages  and reference it in your email communications.  Those success stories  and materials on your websites and social networks become immediately searchable and you will be surprised at how often that you will get calls from similar companies after posting something on your site.
  • Finally, get comfortable asking for referrals – if you don’t ask, you won’t get one.

There are obviously many other tactics that you could employ to impact your second-half results.  These 3 items though are proven to drive both short-term and long-term success if done well and I believe have the best chance to help you beat your year-end goals.

Kevin Steffey is President of Naviga Recruiting & Executive Search, a national Sales and Marketing Recruitment firm.  Kevin and Naviga have a passion for sales and marketing positions due to their direct impact on the growth of their customers. Check out www.navigarecruiting.com to engage a partner in growing and developing your team.