Are we creating NEW jobs for salespeople?

What will it take to see growth in sales roles?

Some thought based on my personal history, experience and my observations from the media about why we may start to see growth in new sales roles.

“Too many eggs in one basket” Our culture is for some perhaps to driven by its Risk-averse nature there are occasions when the rails don’t run seem to run parallel.

COVID-19 has been extraordinarily damaging and devastating to individuals and businesses throughout the world. However, maybe some good come out of it for those in sales.

If there is one thing COVID 19 has brought to our attention, it is the constant referencing of companies needing to pivot. Please stay with me; we’ve all heard the word PIVOT a lot recently.

Please allow me to take you back you back some 40 years; as I left college life and moved into my work life my first position was a trainee manager on the production side with a knitwear company.  Based in Leicester the company manufactured knitwear for retail and wholesale supply chains within the UK.

It employed a full-time salesperson to support the larger accounts as well as build a network of market traders where they could sell surplus stock or slightly defective garments. (Seconds). He was supported in this endeavours by two freelance sales agents.

In those days, much of our products were manufacturing as we term in-country ‘Made in Britain.’ With the rise of exterior manufacture across the other side of the world. Where labour was plentiful and very cheap, ultimately those global manufactures my knitwear manufacturers closed down along with many others.

The door of opportunity!

My reasoning behind “The door of opportunity” heading is. You may have picked up in the text above is that the knitwear manufacturer employed a salesperson. They also had a couple of commission-only agents.

I am now seeing articles in the news feeds that countries such as France and others are already making decision’s and putting funding in place to move certain essential products manufacture back into France.  “Reduce the number of eggs in the basket.” A risk-averse action.

“Too many eggs in one basket.”  After all, a lorry of goods leaving a factory in Lyon can be in Paris in four-Six hours just the same as a similar lorry leaving a factory in Birmingham that the same truck can be in Central London in four hours.

Therefore compared with to a container of goods from across the globe with four-six weeks journey on a ship. Then followed by internal transport from the docks in the UK to its final destination.


Past, present and future!

For those Baby boomers, and Gen X and some of the early Millenials that watched the Troubleshooter a British reality television series produced and shown by the BBC in 1990 focusing on experienced business leaders visiting and advising small and often struggling UK businesses.

It first aired in 1990 with Sir John Harvey-Jones, formerly of ICI. After the series won a BAFTA, Harvey-Jones one newspaper called him the “most famous industrialist since Isambard Kingdom Brunel.

With the follow up a decade later “Back in Business” aired in the year 2000 and saw Sir John return to companies featured in the original series from a decade before. When Sir John returned to companies featured in the original series a decade earlier, looking at those that had changed and those that had not.


Information is power!

As Sir John returned to filming his follow up show “Back in business.”

The world of sales was also starting to change due to the growth of the internet. The balance of the power of information had begun to shift away from the salesperson forever.

With the shift from sales-centric to customer-centric the change was destined to challenge the many. Since the mid-1990s, the Internet has had a revolutionary impact on culture, commerce, and technology.

I often find my self in conversations about the significant change in sales with some sighting it as very recent, the reality like Sir John reality show, change and pivoting is part of the life of the business regardless of size and history.

And like Sir John’s businesses of the 1990s, the change in sales from sales-centric to customer-centric had its routes well established in the mid-1990s.

Turning the clock turning back to more straightforward times is not possible, in business or sales, we are where we are, in a recent conversation with one of my mentees. I reminded him that the DNA of the role of a salesperson has the genetic code for creating ‘CHANGE.’ within it.

Therefore if we like other nations, we decide to reduce risk cut the number of eggs in the basket. The resulting associated change or pivot then we might start seeing the creation of many new sales jobs working in the manufacturing sector!

As it says in the old sales anthem!

“Regardless of what is made, developed or created, someone has to go out and sell it otherwise no one gets paid.”