Your Present and Future – Business Development & The Graduate Recruitment Marketplace
COVID-19, Lockdown, Furlough and the changing winds of Government policy
It’s hard to get away from the obvious. Whether it’s pushing out content online to provoke discussion, or through more direct customer outreach, you can be certain that these subjects have featured heavily in the communications of most companies over the last couple of months.
We’re not suggesting that they be omitted from marketing collateral entirely, they’re inescapable features of all of our lives right now. The trick is to avoid reliance on them – businesses need to get smart. They’re to be used as subtle foils to cast a favourable light on your offering, rather than battering rams used to brusquely introduce your services. It has been interesting to track how companies have awakened to this realization.
Your Business Development & Immediate Challenges
A lot of online discourse has been around the morality of selling in the current climate. A lot of businesses across different sectors are struggling, with a lot of prospects under severe pressure. A terse, blunt response is a more than understandable one right now. Especially if you fail to balance your need for commitment with empathy.
A careless salesperson tailors their approach too infrequently. With businesses struggling, there is a clear surge in desperate opens. The temptation is there to bypass vital steps: careful research into companies and decision makers, social selling, building rapport in a more organic fashion or through creative means – many have thrown these out of the window in a flight of panic.
But don’t be disheartened if prospects question why you’re selling, or attempt to shame you for doing so. It’s not a question of whether to sell, but more a question of how to. Business empathy and sensitivity are key attributes of any good salesperson – and they’re even more important now.
Here’s some advice from one of our Sales Directors, Gabrielle Crofts following on from a recent Pareto Sales Surgery with LinkedIn’s Top Sales Voice of 2019 - Trish Bertuzzi:
“As sales people we need to demonstrate true understanding whilst also gaining commitment at each stage of the sales cycle. Think of earnest questions that go further in involving your prospects. Trish gave us two excellent examples –
1. On a scale of 1-4 how likely is it we will be able to launch this project/ do business this quarter? 2. What do you see as a likely next step? How can we make that happen?
Balance empathy with closing business – you can’t have one without the other.”
Klaus Schwab, the Executive Chairman of the World Economic Forum, claimed that “in the new world, it is not the big fish which eats the small fish, it’s the fast fish which eats the slow fish” back in 2015. His words have proven to be alarmingly prescient.
As with any company right now, ours has adapted. Lucky enough that we have plenty of existing customers in these areas, we have pivoted further into sectors where hiring demand has increased, be it Tech, Logistics or FMCG. Our Sales Teams are working flat out to uncover emerging hiring patterns as dictated by the crisis; using this information to sell into businesses with success.
The Future of Graduate and Apprenticeship Recruitment
Thinking further ahead, how do the next 12-18 months pan out in the graduate and apprenticeship recruitment markets, and what does it mean for candidates?
There’s the doomsday scenario being espoused, with many believing that there will be a return to market behaviors seen in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. It’s likely that it will be at least one quarter, in all probability more, before the recruitment sector begins to bounce. The Resolution Foundation Think Tank warned last week that in the absence of government and higher education intervention, unemployed under the age of 25 will see a rise of 600,000 before the end of the year.
Immediately then, businesses are closing ranks, pausing their graduate and apprenticeship schemes. However, some industries are not slowing – and what happens when the economy recovers? The bottleneck on recruitment will loosen and the need will be greater than ever.
With second and third jobbers flooding into the market, and the power very much in the hands of companies that survive and grow despite prevailing conditions, the future is tough for those graduating. It’s likely that Hiring Managers will feel sympathy for emerging graduates in 6 or 12 months’ time. But they need to mitigate risk, and the value of candidate experience and employability skills will be ratcheted up that much more.