Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is.

Check out these choice quotes from an article by Jeremy Langley of Brassring.com

Ask a random sample of senior managers in large companies to name their most important asset and, chances are, the majority will unhesitatingly place their people in pole position. They will say, “We are nothing without our people...

....there is massive contradiction between the ideal candidate experience and reality. On one hand, company chiefs fall over each other to say how important their people are to them. But on the other, they preside over outdated and under-funded recruitment processes that are damaging their relationships with their own staff and their reputation among quality people in the employment market.

It is sadly true. A good example is sales people; they are the revenue generators for all companies. Yet if you talk to any company about their policy over paying recruiters fees for sales people you will often find that they insist on paying ridiculously low fees for sales professionals. In a recent conversation I had with a president of a company I was told that they would happily take on a retained search firm to fill a 60-80k marketing role and pay a fee of 15-20k for the privilege.

However they were unwilling to pay anymore than a five thousand dollar flat fee for a sales rep. And an average sales rep in this firm will bring in over 1 Million dollars in sales per year.

Do the math. For over 1 Million in sales you are unwilling to pay more than 5k but for a non revenue generating position you are willing to pay 3-4 times as much?

There is a definite disconnect here.


David said...

Probably this has something to do with the fact that sales reps tend to exist in much larger numbers than (say) marketing people...so if you're paying $20k per search for 100 sales reps, you're talking $2 million, where if you pay the same amount for 5 marketing people, you're talking only $100K. Sales is basically a variable cost with revenue, whereas marketing is closer to a fixed cost.

Maybe a partial solution is for headhunters to offer an 'umbrella' deal covering N salespeople over the next X years.

I also think there's a certain snob factor that partially explains the undervaluing of the sales role in many companies. Arthur Miller has something to answer for here; the general overemphasis on theoretical/academic knowledge also plays a role.


Anonymous said...

Good point -

Also there is the fact that hiring a sales rep can be less of a risk - more often sales reps are compensated based on volumes, so if they don't perform, they don't get paid.

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