In the lightning fast-paced world of today, it's crucial to have a solid sales team driving revenue and growth, but building one comes with challenges. One of the problems that many organizations run into is the challenge of the hiring lag – the time it takes to identify, attract, and onboard new sales reps and get them up to speed.
Understanding Hiring Lag
Hiring lag can have a significant impact on a team's ability to hit commercial revenue targets, either through not having enough capacity to close or simply not hiring at the right times, putting pressure on the wider team. To get around it, you need to understand all of the components that come into play - The challenge comes from both quantifying each of the lagging factors and building them into an accurate plan.
Whilst it's a common issue for many organizations, the hiring lag problem can happen for a variety of reasons such as lengthy recruitment processes, a lack of qualified candidates in the market, or simply a slow onboarding process.
These lags can have a significant impact on your team's ability to hit their targets, as well as on the overall morale of your existing sales reps. Additionally, there are a few other lags that organizations face:
The lag between when new reps begin working and when they start generating leads
The lag between when new reps begin qualifying leads into opportunities
The lag between when opportunities can be qualified and when they managed through the process into closed deals
The impact of hiring lag and the other lags can be felt throughout your organization, with the risk of your sales team struggling to hit their targets, leading to disappointment and frustration. This is especially true of revenue closing roles (like in businesses with Account Executive style roles who are fed leads from Sales/Business Development teams), where without the amount of leads needed to hit goal, can leave them unable to reach targets (and bonusses).
It can even extend to areas like customer relationships, with your team potentially unable to provide the level of service that your clients & prospects expect. Additionally, your existing sales reps may feel overworked and undervalued, which can lead to a high turnover rate. All of these factors can add up to a significant loss of revenue and a negative impact on your bottom line.
Fortunately, there are ways to counter the hiring lag problem and the other lags. The key is to be proactive in your capacity planning, and to make sure that you have a solid plan in place for bringing on new sales reps and for managing the other lags.
Shortening the Recruitment Process
One of the biggest causes of hiring lag is a lengthy recruitment process. By streamlining your process and making sure that you have a clear and efficient way of evaluating candidates, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to bring on new sales reps. This may include:
Evaluating candidates more efficiently, reducing the number of interview rounds
Using technology to automate certain parts of the process, such as scheduling interviews
Having a clear job description and requirements, so that you attract the right candidates
Proactively Seeking Out Qualified Candidates
Another way to counter the hiring lag is to be proactive in your candidate search. Don't wait for candidates to come to you – actively seek out qualified candidates and make sure that your job listing is reaching the right people. This may include:
Posting job listings on relevant job boards
Networking with industry professionals
Reaching out to potential candidates directly
Implementing a Strong Onboarding Process
Once you have new sales reps in place, it's important to get them up to speed as quickly as possible. By implementing a strong onboarding process, you can ensure that your new reps are ready to hit the ground running, including:
Providing training on your products or services
Setting clear expectations
Providing support and guidance as they get up to speed
Having a mentor or buddy system in place for new reps to turn to for guidance
Strong onboarding has a huge impact on the lag, which is directly related to the ramp - We've previously talked about the power of great onboarding & ramping
Managing the Other Lags
In addition to the hiring lag, organizations also face the lag between when new reps begin working and when they start generating leads, and the lag between when leads are generated and when they turn into closed deals. It's important to take these lags into account when planning for your sales team's capacity.
Managing the "Lead Generation Lag"
To manage the lag between when new reps begin working and when they start generating leads, consider the following:
Providing additional training and resources on lead generation techniques
Implementing a lead generation plan and setting clear goals for new reps
Measuring and tracking progress to ensure that new reps are meeting their lead generation goals
Managing the "Closed Deal Lag"
To manage the lag between when leads are generated and when they turn into closed deals, consider the following:
Providing additional training and resources on closing deals
Measuring and tracking progress to ensure that new reps are meeting their closed deal goals
Implementing a sales pipeline to help new reps understand the sales process and what's needed to close a deal
Getting it under control
The hiring lag problem and the other lags can have a significant impact on a sales team's ability to achieve their commercial revenue targets. By being proactive in your capacity planning, shortening the recruitment process, proactively seeking out qualified candidates, implementing a strong onboarding process, managing the lead generation and closed deal lags, you can help mitigate the impact of these lags and keep your sales team on track. Remember, it's important to regularly communicate with your sales team, understand their needs and adapt your plan accordingly.
Planning around the lags and challenges of hiring can be a planning nightmare, and one that at Clevenue we believe can't be properly done in a spreadsheet.
Using technology to better predict all of the moving parts in sales capacity & hiring planning can help elevate business growth and profitablility.
Q: How can I quantify the lags in my sales team?
A: By tracking and measuring progress, you can quantify the lags in your sales team. This may include tracking the time it takes to hire new reps, the length of the onboarding process, the time it takes for new reps to start generating leads, and the time it takes for leads to turn into closed deals.
Q: How can I build the lags into my capacity plan?
A: By understanding the lags in your sales team and quantifying them, you can build them into your capacity plan. This may include accounting for the lead generation and closed deal lags in your hiring and onboarding plans, and making sure that you have the right number of reps in place to support them.
Q: How often should I review and adjust my capacity plan?
A: It's important to regularly review and adjust your capacity plan to make sure that it's still accurate and effective. This may include reviewing the plan quarterly or semi-annually, and making adjustments as needed to account for any changes in your sales team or the market.