Recently, we were asked to fill a temporary staffing position for a sales role. This request had never come up before. This was a reasonably well-paid job that the employer was looking to us as a staffing company to find, hire, and payroll a sales person to sell their product. In analyzing this situation, we developed 5 reasons temporary staffing sales positions will not work.
Our team met to discuss how best to respond. We are in business of saying yes to client requests. We provide temporary staff members regardless of the job and role. However, sometimes it is in the best interest of everyone (client, agency and temporary employee) to advise a client against their initial direction, even if it means saying no to business.
Here are the core reasons why Sales roles should not be engaged through temporary staffing:
- Turnover. If you are unwilling to invest in a full-time hire for sales, expect the first job offer from another company to lure and hire the sales person away from a temporary role, to the other company’s secure role.
- Training. Sales people need to learn your product. Engaging temporary staff sales people results in higher training costs when turnover does occur. Any efficiencies will be lost through retraining costs.
- Ownership. Great sales people often convey a sense of belonging and ownership for the products they sell and with their employer. They will feel un-invested if engaged as a temporary role.
- Customers. Perception in your customer base will be hard to hide. Customers may doubt the viability of your product if the sales account management lacks ownership by the sales team serving them.
- Accountability. Sales people who are temporary will be hard to hold accountable for achieving results. Looking for a stronger employer relationship distracts from producing immediate results.
What To Do Instead
Consider instead, hiring an effective sales manager, and allow him to hire and train new sales people. Put clear milestones down that have to be reached in terms of 15, 30, 60 and 90 days, manage your sales hires to meet those expectations and promptly address shortcomings. This approach will give your organization a much better outcome while ensuring the same benefits that temporary agencies deliver with staff members in other operational roles.
Reasonable Logic Misdirected
We can see the logic, this senior HR person had an objective to find ways to optimize operations for the company. And, temporary staffing has been a great tool for many other positions that helped them cut costs in the past. It was logical to consider Sales, an operations position in their organization under the COO.
In some organizations, telemarketing professionals are considered sales, and engaged as temporary. Others, like retail, will hire demonstration sales people to support the sales process. But this is really a customer service role, as it involves outreach, interaction and opportunistic connections. A telemarketing call center may well be outsourced, but probably better sent to a firm that has professionals that do this – and put under a clear contract for results.
Leverage Your Staffing Partner
Regardless of how you get to this same conclusion that temporary staffing sales will not work, consider your temporary staffing firm as your partner. They can guide you and help understand what roles are best under temporary staffing, and which may have greater risk than others.