PhilippoMarc Philippo, head of Inside Sales at Temenos
Communication is at the heart of sales and that’s why recruitment and training specialists Pareto Law decided to launch its Sales Leadership Forum as a platform to allow clients to ‘brainstorm’ their way to sales performance.
SI was lucky enough to sit in on the first forum held in the high-rise offices of the Sky Lounge at Double Tree Hilton with stunning views across the City of London.
But while the setting was lofty, the debate was right down at grass roots level exploring what works and what doesn’t when it comes to hiring graduates with the right qualities to drive sales forward.
Before the open debate, Pareto client Marc Philippo, head of Inside Sales at financial software specialists Temenos, walked fellow sales directors through his experiences of hiring candidates from the Pareto assessment process.
His is a business which needs multi-lingual talent and he found a selection of young sales candidates who married language skills with drive and ambition to succeed.
He said: “How do you get a young person of about 22-years-old with no experience of the banking world and get them comfortable talking business issues and keen to forge a career in it?”
Philippo highlighted the necessary steps that he took to achieve this through from initial assessment, hiring and training to building up what he termed an opportunity creation engine, motivation and measurement, integration and collaboration and, of course, a clear future career path.
He said the process was greatly enhanced with candidates from a wide-ranging international background including one who escaped from troubles in the West Bank, another who travelled to London from Toulouse for the day and one who fled war-torn Somalia with family.
“The real revelation was the effect their raw enthusiasm and eagerness to get involved had on the existing sales team,” said Philippo. “They really energised the atmosphere and got everyone excited!”
And he said this fun-factor became critical in developing the talent enhanced by a system of financial reward with every stage of the sales process achieved by the young professionals.
The second presentation came from Andy Eustace, account executive at Linkedin who revealed a path to an increased number of targeted leads through the social media site’s premium business products.
He emphasised the power of being able to filter through first, second and third level contacts to find the target audience a sales professional needs to reach. The premium level membership products even allow access to the full name of third level contacts hugely increasing potential pitch opportunities using Inmail as a direct messaging service.
He said: “Basically, a premium level account allows Linkedin to be your sales navigator reaching 10M people with specially deigned filters to tailor your search to increase sales performance.“
Both presentations sparked a lively debate with many clients complaining at the huge skills gap they struggle to fill with quality young talent hard to find even in the teeth of a double-dip recession. And several said Philippo’s lessons learned through experience they intended to take back and apply to their own new recruits.
The social media scene also caused some heated debate over whether trawling for targeted leads could open a sales force to competitors being able to plunder their own contacts. Some admitted to have staff contracts demanding Linkedin profiles are blocked to stop this, yet Eustace felt there was a bigger risk of missing sales opportunities than falling prey to competitors poaching leads.
What was obvious to SI that all the clients and Pareto Law representatives who attended the first forum were passionate about their field, came away with notebooks full of new ideas and were keen to know when there will be another one!