With a looming recession, the market declining, oil prices and the cost of living on the rise, plus the aftermath of brexit and the pandemic, the Institute of Directors is warning of an economic downturn in 2022. This is impacting organisations’ investment decisions, from acquisitions and mergers, to staffing and training.
It’s a very uncertain market, so in this piece, I look at what leaders can do to tackle these challenges, specifically for sales and sales leadership roles.
Consider lifelong learning
Training isn’t just an investment in your people now; it’s an investment in retaining your people, too. It’s so crucial to have a sales team in place who have the right set of skills, especially when the market’s tough. Whilst the last couple of years have promoted a short-distance planning phase, don’t forget the longer term. You need to have the right shape, size and structure for your sales team. Carry out long-distance planning too, regardless of how uncertain things may be.
A recent Westminster hall debate discussed the importance of B2B selling. It’s critical to our economy, supporting 10 million jobs and at a value of £1.7 trillion. I’m certainly a strong advocate for B2B selling, but there’s a significant need for upskilling and training. This leads me to my next piece of guidance.
Optimise the apprenticeship levy
Apprenticeships weren’t traditionally seen as an effective way of training workers in sales roles. But the last few years have really flipped this view on its head. Now, people realise the appeal and value of a formal, recognised qualification, particularly in sales.
Using this levy is a good idea, though you need to have a plan in place. Ideally, the training will be customised, and much more aligned with your business and the individual’s requirements. I suggest having a development plan – and this goes for wherever your employees are located.
Onboard in person, if it works for you
Generally, I believe it’s better to onboard new hires in person, and then develop them remotely. Once they’re familiar with the company, it’s okay to let their hand loose with training. That being said, some would argue that you can recruit and bring people up to speed 100% remotely – and there’s no right or wrong answer.
There are businesses that might agree with me, but with hybrid working so popular, they think it’s easier to hire those with experience than risk having to train and develop. However, people need to remember ‘will over skill’. Employees should align with your values – this is better than experience in my opinion. Otherwise, they won’t be a culture fit, and you likely won’t retain them, which isn’t ideal in the current climate.
Discover BMS Progress training
We’re experiencing unusual times, but I strongly believe that long-term investment in your employees is the way forward, especially through bespoke training and apprenticeships.
This is something we offer at BMS Progress. We make sure our qualifications meet the business’ and the individual’s needs, so they get the most out of it. If you’d like to find out more about what we could do for you, speak to our friendly team today.