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2020 was the year of adjustment. The Covid-19 pandemic taught us that nothing is for certain and that we must be agile in order to survive and thrive. Perhaps that is why the 50+ C-level staffing industry executives I have spoken with this year have all shared with me that they have numerous growth initiatives planned for 2021.
Staffing owners and CEO's face non-stop pressure to deliver above-market growth during the best of times. When the economy is weak, that demand grows even stronger. While mergers and acquisitions have the ability to generate growth, the fact remains that consistently beating the market requires more than that. It takes superior internal capabilities, especially in sales and recruiting. Hiring and developing talent is a key component, but in my experience, being a market leader requires a true commitment to leading organizational change.
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If you're like most staffing leaders than you're probably planning a skills improvement initiative for later this year or you're currently in the middle of sales and/or recruiter training program. Or, perhaps you’re in the midst of sustaining sales transformation initiative. Call it what you will but either way, your organization has launched a change management initiative. Asking employees to adopt new skills and behaviors means you're asking your employees to change their normal work routines and behaviors. let’s assume for a second that you did the hard work and created a world class strategy, built engaging training content, and you secured buy-in from the field. Let’s also assume you delivered a compelling learning experience for your employees in which employee feedback was overwhelmingly positive.
One area in which we invest a lot of time with our customers is educating them on the importance of change management and user adoption. Training, learning and development doesn’t end when the training program concludes; it’s only just begun. In fact, the real work, the heavy lifting, begins once your learner or learners have completed their training. Providing your learners, whether they be front line managers, salespeople or recruiters, with regular and consistent opportunities to practice applying the skills promotes retention. Learners only change their behavior if their direct managers understand how to effectively lead change and provide continual reinforcement through a user adoption plan that includes a series of communications, tasks, events and activities before, during and after the program concludes.
Regardless of how your sales and recruiting team has performed this year, it is likely your goals for the new year will be even higher. Many staffing companies plan an annual sales kickoff event to recap the current or previous selling period and prepare for the year ahead. This is the time for CEO's and staffing leaders including sales managers and recruiting managers to motivate and unite their teams to achieve the goals that they’ve set for the upcoming year.
As a business owner or sales and recruiter leader, the first hurdle you must overcome with your new hire on-boarding and training program is to capture and keep your learners attention. If you bore them, you will lose them. According to Xerox, 87% of sales training is forgotten after just one month of the training.
So your IT staffing firm has decided to launch a sales transformation initiative. Perhaps you went through a recent merger, launched a new service offering, opened a new market or are simply looking to revamp your sales organization. These are all common reasons for launching a sales transformation initiative. Let’s assume you’ve done the heavy lifting and have clear alignment across the entire executive leadership team including the CEO and down through the ranks of middle management. Let’s also assume you have consensus on a clear, unambiguous vision for the future and agreement on a clear and measurable definition for what success looks like. You have also mapped out your sales process, created sales tools and sales play books and are ready to launch sales training. In essence your organization is at the starting line about to begin the journey for leading change. The million-dollar question is, will there be lasting results?
In my blog post, A Primer on Sales Transformation for IT Staffing CEO’s & Sales Leaders I explained what sales transformation is and I highlighted some of the common business drivers that compel staffing CEO’s and sales leaders to launch a sales transformation initiative. I also pointed out that transformation means change. Leading an organizational transformation effort is all about operationalizing change into your day to day operations so that those changes become ingrained in your culture and how you do things. The challenge with all of this lies within the leadership team's ability to effectively lead change. Below is the sales leader and CEO's guide to sales transformation.
Transforming your staffing firm and specifically your sales organization is no small order nor is it for the faint of heart. It requires a clear vision, executive leadership including commitment from the CEO, careful and thoughtful planning, and a lot of hard work. Most of call, it requires the ability to effectively lead organizational change. But what exactly is sales transformation and how does one know if they need a sales transformation? In this blog post I'm going to share with you what sales transformation is and some sample use cases highlighting when and why a staffing firm would embark on a sales transformation initiative.
For those of you who know me, I vacation on Martha's Vineyard every summer, hence the name, Menemsha Group. A couple of years ago I decided to take a kite-boarding lesson. While it was fun and a great day on the water it actually surprised me with how much there is to know and do while navigating the kite/harness and maintaining your balance (and not letting the wind blow you into shore or Europe for that matter). Despite the fact that the instructor properly managed my expectations by telling me "plan on taking at least two lessons before you get up and get the hang of it," I returned to the house feeling frustrated and defeated. The problem was my expectations were completely out of whack! I was planning on catching 20 feet of air!