Tech industry growth
The UK technology sector has grown, and is predicted to grow, exponentially over the coming years, having been described as a great British success story by Theresa May. Since 2011 £28bn has been invested in UK based technology businesses, with the tech sector currently growing faster than the UK economy.
Because of this, UK tech businesses are looking to grow their teams and many of these hires are often sales staff, enabling tech companies to take their product out to market and grow their market share. However a predicament a lot of companies face is the question of; ’should we look to grow our team with entry level sales people/ graduates or experienced billers?’
There are several pros and cons of the 2 different paths, which include:
Hiring driven but inexperienced candidates
- No bad habits. Candidates at this level are more easily moulded into your company culture and can be trained/ coached from a ’clean slate’ with no existing bad habits from a previous employer.
- Much more cost effective with a huge amount of potential to grow and develop their career and become a long-term asset to the business. This also makes the hire less of a financial risk for the business.
- Even though junior candidates may have limited or no experience, they have often recently left education and are therefore more accustomed to learning and absorbing information.
- Often they’re more driven to earn money. This is a bit of a generalisation however graduates and students are used to living on a limited budget and keen to move away from this. This usually means that they are more driven to pick up the phone and get selling.
- Finally, there are more of them! There is a talent crisis in the tech market with it hard to find good candidates with relevant experience and one way round this is to hire graduates and train & develop employees organically up through the business.
- Take longer to get up to speed! Without experience in the market, entry level staff won’t be able to hit the ground running from day one and are usually therefore a better long term option rather than short term fix.
- Take more resource and time from a management perspective to train the candidate.
- More of a risk in an ’unknown’ sense – with an experienced candidate, past performance is a good indicator of future performance, mitigating some of the risk. With an entry-level candidate you are often forced to make a decision purely on personality and perceived cultural fit.
Hiring experienced billers:
- Can hit the ground running. They will already have customers to call into, bringing in business much quicker than a novice with no experience in the market.
- Will have fresh and different ideas from different businesses they’ve worked with and experiences that they’ve had.
- It’s easier to reference and qualify past earnings (P60’s and pay slips etc.) with experienced candidates, mitigating the risk of making a bad hire.
- Why would a successful salesperson jump ship?! If a salesperson is doing well then unless a business is able to considerably increase their package or can vastly and clearly differentiate themselves in the market then why would a top performer leave?
- Can come with bad habits and not be a great culture fit. Company culture and values can vary hugely between businesses and is a key consideration when making a new hire. Therefore if a candidate is institutionalised into another business then it’s difficult for them to mould into another organisations culture.
- More expensive. Experienced candidates will demand a higher salary therefore it can be seen as a bigger risk if they weren’t to hit the ground running.
- Harder to find and can take months to get the role filled. Businesses therefore have to weigh up whether they’re willing to wait or take a shorter amount of time in finding someone with less experience and train them up.
To summarise, in the IT sales market, you need to be able to clearly differentiate yourself in order to even consider hiring experienced sales candidates otherwise you will just get poor performers.
This is particularly prevalent in the IT reseller market, with every reseller wanting experienced candidates with a book of business yet very few are able to properly differentiate themselves. Uncapped commission structure, X years of experience in the market and extra holiday is no longer a way of differentiating an organisation. If this is the case, companies are much better focussing their growth on training graduates and entry level sales candidates whilst still looking to consider taking an experienced candidate as and when they’re available.
Whatever way you look at it, if you’re able to attract top performing experienced hires then this is the best strategy for short-term growth however this is rarely as easy as it sounds and growing through entry level hires is often a better strategy for longer-term steady growth.