When the stock market fell off a cliff and credit was frozen and virtually impossible to find, companies moved aggressively to take shelter and weather the storm by cutting payroll and other expenses. Those who managed to survive and stay standing at the end of 2009 will see revenue growth in 2010. Those resilient companies will prosper on this long road to recovery throughout the coming years and they will create opportunities and focus on growth, not consolidation. The strong companies today are betting on their ability to bring in revenue and they are confident and see an incredible opportunity to grow their business. 2010 will be a building year, a year to focus on re-securing the footings and foundation in order to build a stronger more aggressive company in 2011. So what is the one job companies create when they are feeling confident in their ability to drive revenue? SALES JOBS!
Companies are now starting to see some relief. As credit continues to loosen, companies become more confident in their ability to bring back jobs. The first and most sought after jobs in 2010 will be sales. According to a report by Forbes.com*, two of the Top 10 most recession proof jobs are Financial Advisors (4th on the list) and Sales Representatives (6th on the list).
So why are sales roles considered more secure? Companies cut to the bone in 2009 due to the loss of revenue. Companies can often reduce workforce while increasing workload in every department across the enterprise, however the same is not true in the sales department. When companies reduce a sales force, they've reduced company revenue. Sales representatives can't cover 3 territories and produce the same combined revenue that their past counterparts produced. When sales representatives are overloaded they lose deals to the competition. As a result, companies are looking to hire and replenish their once prosperous sales force in order to regain market share and increase revenue. They have lost revenue over the past year and are at risk of losing top talent. The top sales professionals that have weathered the storm are starting to explore new opportunities. They are the reason that companies have survived and as the sales job market begins to open, more options are presented to them. They are no longer fearful of losing their job and are, in fact, more comfortable taking the chance to see what other options they have in the market.
Organizations must be on the offensive in 2010 to build and hire top producing sales forces while recognizing that they will see increased attrition as the market gains momentum. Therefore, many companies will be aggressively searching for talented sales professionals that can add value immediately. If a company is not recruiting top talent, you can bet that their competition is. Those companies that capitalize on this market and recruit the greatest sales talent in 2010 will see exponential growth in 2011.
Here at Treeline, we are seeing this exact trend. Our clients had more urgency in December of 2009 than the entire year. They are eager to get back to pre-recession revenues and growth and are betting on a talented sales force to get them there. That being said, companies are building more efficient and effective sales forces. Therefore, there is currently a movement transitioning from large field sales presences to larger inside sales presence. Consumers are more comfortable buying online and with a SAAS based software model, web demos and video conferences, companies can close large deals without setting foot in a prospect's office. Today, companies are preserving costs and doing business from one highly motivated, scalable and sustainable central location. The most aggressive of these companies are using many effective Sales 2.0 selling tools and are adapting quickly.
With the significant decline of many industries in 2009, many sales professionals are finding that it is time to re-invent themselves and build a skill set that is marketable for years to come. They find themselves burnt out and exploring new options. Many are looking back to the hottest industry in sales right now: the technology sector. We find that technology companies are adapting quickly to the Sales 2.0 methodology. They are focused on consistent revenue growth and are building sales forces with urgency. They are cutting costs by bringing their sales force inside and by using new technology solutions that help build pipelines and close business. They are consolidating their outside sales force by recognizing the needs of today's consumer and the new sales process. Therefore, they have identified how to increase the efficiency of their sales team by reducing costs and increasing revenue.
In short, we see the hottest job in 2010 to be sales jobs and the hottest industry to be technology. Companies can no longer afford to work with a skeleton crew and definitely cannot afford the risk of loosing a top performer to their competition. It is too great a risk for companies to sit idle when most of their competition is on the hunt. Companies are selective and will only hire those that have a proven track record of success. However, for sales professionals there will be many more options to choose from in 2010 than 2009. So for talented sales professionals, consider yourself lucky to be in a great career.
For both company and candidate, keep pushing aggressively in 2010 and get ready to enjoy the fruits of your labor.