Most sales leader will be hit with a Hiring Freeze sometime in their career. Maybe you are dealing with one right now. After the initial cursing and panic subsides, it’s time to think of a plan. More than likely you have been in the process of interviewing candidates for open positions. Now you are wondering, “How am I going to hit my number?” Having a full team makes life easier for sales leaders. If you are hit with a hold on hiring, download The Hiring Freeze Success Guide. You will learn how to manage through it. You may also realize that this is a blessing in disguise.
Rally Your Team
Great sales leaders learn how to overcome challenges. Having less people on your team should not be an excuse for missing target. When faced with a freeze, you need to quickly pivot. The team needs to hear from you on how you are going to succeed. Pull them together and explain that there is a hiring freeze. Here are some pointers on how to communicate it:
- Honesty– Be as open and honest as you can. Talk to the team about how their efforts will benefit them and the team. Some reps will only worry about themselves. If you can get everyone to raise their game, the whole team wins.
- Speed– Rumors will spread quickly on why the hiring freeze is in place. Get out in front of it and start communicating your plan for success immediately.
The Success Guide outlines 10 key areas every sales leader should know. Below are 4 from that list and details on how to approach each:
- Coverage Plan– Make sure you have coverage for any open territories. You may have another sales rep cover in the interim. If so, ensure they are getting paid equally to their current territory. You don’t want their existing territory to suffer. Have well-defined compensation metrics, quota and KPIs that drive the right behavior. Be careful if you choose to have a manager cover an open territory. You have now taken them away from coaching and leading their team. Balance the trade-off between each scenario. You may realize the loss of a manager is too great on overall performance.
- Sales Management Cadence– Now it’s even more important for your managers to be engaged with their team. Have them set up regularly scheduled forecast and deal reviews. Then you take the time to review as entire management team. If you’ve had a regular deal cadence, you are ahead of the game. If not, start the process today. Here is some guidance on running a strong Sales Management Cadence.
- Gamification– If you can run a contest or game, do it. If budgets are tight, then look to do something that doesn’t cost money. I’ve seen managers wash cars of reps that hit their number. Have a cookout where the managers prepare the food if the team hits target. If you have budget, then look to run contests with gift cards or prizes. Put up a leaderboard to show progress. Keeping morale high during the freeze is very important.
- Virtual Bench– The hiring freeze will be over before you know it. Don’t get caught flat-footed with hiring. Continue to have your team recruit and build a virtual bench of candidates. This will allow you to pull the trigger when you get the green light. Here is a great article on Building a Virtual Bench.
Time for a Reset
This is a prime time to reevaluate how you are managing your business. Many sales leaders get caught up in strategy as they get promoted. They become disconnected from the business and rely on their managers too much. When you face an adversity like a freeze, it can be a leadership reset. Take the time to dig into the business and identify any gaps. Here are a few areas to examine:
- Sales Organization Review– Evaluate your organization and see if you should make any changes with reduced headcount. This may be the time to look at having generalists vs. product specialists. With less headcount, you may shift from a growth model to a cost model. Take a look at what may be the best model for your organization.
- Territory Design– With less headcount, you may need to look at rebalancing some territories. Be cautious, though, this can cause disruption to your team. If you know the freeze will last the remainder of the year, review now. You need to ensure you have optimized territories with less headcount.
- Big Deal Reviews– This is one of the most important measures of success. Pipeline and opportunity cadence needs to be enforced. As a sales leader the onus is on you to make this a priority. Conduct Big Deal reviews and Win Rooms to get laser focused on large opportunities. These deals will help you get to your number if managed correctly. Here are some best practices on Big Deals.
Hiring freezes can throw a wrench into your sales plan. How would you handle it if you get the call tomorrow? Don’t get caught asleep at the wheel. Download The Hiring Freeze Success Guide today.