At the recent Local Search Association conference, one of the most informative sessions came from a team of presenters – Robert Hawthorne from Hawthorne Executive Search, and Michael Taylor from BIA/Kelsey.
The two covered results of a recent survey of media sales reps and shared their observations from the field. Hawthorne’s presentation was particular insightful because he covered six common employment myths in the marketplace.
Robert Hawthorne is an excellent speaker for this topic. In 2011, Hawthorne Search’s team of 6 full time sales recruiters placed over 150 local market sales reps. In 2012 YTD, the company has placed over 50 sales reps in 22 cities. Their client list spans local search, technology, media companies focused on SMB’s.
Here are the marketplace myth’s he covered
Myth #1: overall unemployment rate parallel with local market sales reps
- Reality: Even in the depths of recession, sales reps were still in demand
Myth #2: Reps are happy since my turnover is down
- Reality: Strong pent up demand as many reps chose to “ride out recession” and are now active interviewing
Myth #3: Base salaries haven’t increased due to economic conditions
- Reality: In Tier 1 markets, $60-65k base salaries common, Tier 2 $50k minimum, small markets $40-45k average
Myth #4: Local search companies need only worry about other Yellow Page industry companies poaching
- Reality: Yellow Pages/Local Search companies have been known for great training, coaching, sales development, many other factors which make your people VERY attractive to other industries.
Myth #5: If I lose sales staff, it will be easy to find a replacement
- Reality: In many markets, even large base salaries no guarantee of robust candidate supply. Simply put, there are only so many “top performers” available in any given market
Myth #6: Job ads on the boards will get me a replacement
- Reality: strong decrease in our posting results across all active job boards in past 2 years
In talking about the sales survey conducted, Hawthorne also covered “What Your Sales People Want”:
- Stability. Many reps will eschew the start up in social media if they think their company is stable
- Resume Builder. Does your company allow your rep to keep their resume “hot” Selling new technology a way to keep reps from leaving
- Flexibility. Work from home, flex hours, flex vacation, etc. particularly with young set very important
- What They Want to Earn — $80k minimum by year 2 with no less than 50% of that in base salary
On finding sales talent, Hawthorne had a couple of simple, basic fundamental suggestions:
- Jobs that don’t have minimum $40k base virtually impossible to recruit for
- Cell phone, laptop, paid expenses, etc. all very important to today’s rep. Sell the package, not just the base salary.
- Benefits important, be specific