Companies seeking to hire direct sales pros were probably not surprised by the December 28 report on Americans filing for unemployment benefits. As the jobless rate has dropped to a 17-year low of 4.1%, the process of recruiting and hiring enterprise sales professionals is becoming more challenging.
According to a recent study by Impartner, a leading partner relationship management (PRM) solution provider, nine out of 10 hiring managers find it difficult to recruit and hire direct sales professionals, with more than half (57%) reporting that the problem has intensified over the past year and a half. Roughly three-quarters of those surveyed said the difficulty in staffing their sales organizations has directly prevented them from achieving sales goals.
Companies cited a number of problems caused by the shallow pool of available sales pros. Almost half (46%) of the respondents said there was a shortage of candidates with relevant experience. 22% said it was difficult to find candidates who understood the company’s solution.
Qualified candidates are taking themselves out of the running by demand high compensation packages, noted 16% of the respondents. An equal percentage said increased hiring competition from peer organizations is limiting their ability to staff up.
Hiring direct sales pros may become a lesser priority for companies as they recognize the business-boosting capabilities of indirect organizations. Channel Marketer Report has noted that a number of companies are shifting more revenue responsibilities to indirect sales teams. For example, Aptos, Inc. a market leader in retail technology solutions, predicts that over 30% of its global implements will be delivered with partners.
IBM initiated an overhaul of its massive partner organization when the company determined that 75% of the small and midsize business segment – a significant opportunity for the company’s growth – was served by indirect channel teams.
And in June, CMR reported that start-up companies participating in the 2017 MIT Sloan CIO Symposium’s Innovation Showcase said channel partners will play a key role in the sales of their products. While most new companies rely on direct sales teams out of the gate, more start-up firms are considering indirect channels much earlier in their development.
“The golden age of the channel has arrived,” said Dave R. Taylor, CMO of Impartner, in a press release. “In a business climate where qualified enterprise sales candidates are costly and in short supply, companies can’t put all their revenue eggs in the direct sales basket.”