I read with interest a recent article in USA Today about how hard some managers are struggling to fill sales jobs. The article lamented how “good help is hard to find” and stated that an amazing 35% of sales managers couldn’t find qualified applicants for open jobs last month.
Thirty-five percent! More than one-third of all sales jobs were unfilled because of unqualified applicants or the shortage of unqualified applicants? Wow. And, I would hazard to guess there are tens of thousands of extremely talented salespeople who are looking for those jobs!
And to think the industry has brought this on ourselves.
We really have. Think about it: if we were talking about a shortage of airline pilots or dentists or nurses or electricians, we’d simply start training more people in those fields, right?
Well, in my opinion, this is one of the main reasons we’re in this shape now: we don’t train our people. And when they don’t get training—or proper training, they tend to go find something else to do—a skill or a trade where they do get trained.
As I’ve said in this blog many times, we have got to train the people who are coming into this profession in order to give them the tools and the confidence to make it a career and not just a job—especially just a job until “something else comes along”.
Don’t get me wrong, the training should come from within our industry and not necessarily from outide.
The USA Today report stated that technical sales were especially hard hit because of the knowledge needed to sell in those fields. One of my main complaints is many of those fields require a four-year college degree before they’ll even talk to someone.
I’ve been extremely successful in the field of selling for more years than I care to count but if I were to put in a resume with one of those companies—I’d never make it to the interview process because I don’t have a college degree. What a loss—for them!
Our profession takes more than one can learn in college. Is a degree important? In some cases, absolutely. Should it be a deal-breaker for a great salesperson. Not in my opinion.
Until we start investing in training and create some legitimate certification courses (that even I could take) to open up hiring managers eyes to those with potential—we’re going to be stuck in this rut.
And to me, it’s a solvable problem.