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Lets talk about Sales baby….lets talk about selling apprenticeships to Levy and SME! (sorry).

14 January 2021

By Stuart Duffey

Lets talk about Sales baby….lets talk about selling apprenticeships to Levy and SME! (sorry).

Filling the skills gap in sales across apprenticeships and wider FE!

 

A reoccurring dilemma recruiting into your team people from within sector or looking at fresh talent from other area's plagues providers and collages on a consistent basis.

Consultative sales, relationship building, trusted partner status, product knowledge, internal stakeholder management with operations and quality and many other considerations are major objections to providers not bringing in people from the sector. I get it! I’ve bloody well been there when as a hiring manager myself at a provider telling my internal and external recruitment partners “ if they’ve not demonstrated getting apprenticeship starts, I don’t want to see their CV”.

We need to have a re-think.

Currently Coyne Recruitment have 28 live vacancies within Sales from £25k- £55k. On top of this I know of 6 other large providers working with their recruitment partners or directly to recruit a further 19 vacancies within the same salary banding. Throw in AEB providers and the highly anticipated need for employer engagement from traineeship providers about to hit, the need for talent is front and centre!

 

Talent attraction for those with experience.

Good sales/business development/account manager candidates are earning good basic and commission. To attract them what as a provider are you offering that makes you a career destination of choice?

Good candidates are risk averse at present due to the pandemic they have been supported and looked after by their company, what are you offering to break that sense of loyalty?

 Good candidates know their targets inside and out they know their key performance indicators and their sales funnel to overachieve. What can you offer that helps them bring that element of control with them to a new business? Training providers are great at identifying their need when hiring but what are the prospective needs of the candidates you are looking to attract likely to be?

 Make sure you are always taking stock of the market use the likes of myself or your recruitment partner to assess trends, salaries, commission structures of competitors and new entrants to your markets. Market intel is key not only when planning to add talent to the team but also retaining existing talent in your own teams.

 

Risk to looking over the fence into other sectors.

 In operations and delivery, its pretty much common place now to recruit skills coaches with no assessor or teaching qualifications. Providers are confident that during induction and on the job, they can get these excellent assets up to speed and effectively managing and administrating their caseloads.

 My advice interview from outside of the sector – again use external specialist recruitment partners to do the heavy lifting and sell the sector as a career opportunity as well as your organisation. Let them screen the talent and present the reasoning why they could transition into our sector. If the candidate turns up under prepared wrap the interview up in 10- 15 minutes and put your recruitment partner on the spot. Trust me the best recruiters in our market are driven by their reputation, relationship status and offering solutions rather than a fee and if they are not then they aren’t the specialists they profess to be!

The risk: 15-minute interview and 10-minute call with your recruiter. The same amount of time it takes us to figure out we are on mute on a Zoom call.

I am not saying we should look to fill all the 47 live vacancies mentioned above with talent from outside, but it is a solution I would encourage providers to do more of particularly in such a job led market. I also do think providers need think of their attraction strategy. Solutions are not always money orientated i.e., basic salary or bonus potential although they are important in this type of market. Think about training and development, work life balance, the tools such as marketing and branding a salesperson needs to succeed. What is your differentiator/USP to your customers? Why are you not using it on attracting and retaining people in your organisation?

With all those jobs to fill and interviews to arrange for the candidates currently searching I need to wrap this up. But discussing your recruitment needs within your sales team please do book in a call or Teams with me.

 

Stu

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