I spent 25 years as a sales executive and hiring leader. From high-end sub-components and complex engineering to data-management solutions and HR-tech HCM solutions, I sold a diverse mix of technologies. At corporations like PTC, from the top down I heard philosophies like these every day:
This ethos was widespread–all the companies with which I have worked understood that the quality of their hires determined the organization’s success. At Bullhorn, I saw how enormous the recruiting industry had grown. Later, while running the US division of the largest job board in the UK, I identified a gap between what machines could do and what humans could accomplish in matching talent with the right opportunities.
When presented with the opportunity to become a partner at Bespoke Talent, it felt like a departure from my decades long sales experience. But I was mistaken. As I reflect on that phase of my career, the selling skills I developed then couldn’t be more important now in finding and selling talent, and working with hiring managers, universally challenged by making the right hire. With innumerable competing software vendors, ever-increasing quarterly pressures, and more demanding customers, the pressure to find the talent to compete in today’s highly intense sales environment is greater than ever.
Meanwhile, organizations are trimming recruiting expenses. They’re SDR-itizing talent lead generation, saddling hiring leaders with time-consuming candidate-qualification responsibilities, and leaving them less time for the sales coaching essential to team success. Hiring leaders, pulled between finding talent for their teams and delivering their numbers, may end up choosing the best candidates from the wrong pool, or worse, selecting a “good-enough” hire to stop the bleeding.
Even with an A-player on the hook, candidates, like your customers, have multiple options and high expectations. For candidates, the stakes are higher. Hiring managers’ decision time frame, inversely, is shorter. To put it into perspective, a career decision with 3- to 5-year consequences is frequently wedged into a 3- to 4-week sales cycle coupled with 2 or 3 competing offers. One recent candidate shared his feelings with me during a decision point, stating,
Indeed, these micro-complex sales processes can produce outcomes of either a huge reward or, on the flip side, detrimental exposure. An experienced mediator who bridges the gap between talent and the hiring team often determines your hiring or losing that A-Player.
Clearly, the recruiting game has changed. It requires field experience to communicate (and sell!) these technologies’ values. It demands the ability to argue the merits of great opportunities. One must know the difference between early-stage sellers and seasoned athletes who can execute on pre-defined plays. Once the right candidate is identified, it requires continual mediation between multiple stakeholders with personal and professional agendas, all within a tight time frame and likely strong competition. This is complex selling.
It’s time to run hiring engagements like the complex sales campaigns that they are. This is what we do. It’s why our clients say we’re different. It’s why I joined Bespoke. We’re software salespeople who find the right people to sell yours.