Ask any talent acquisition company or sales recruiting agency, “When is the best time to hire?” and you might be frustrated by the answer.
See, the ideal time is before you have an urgent need.
When you’re scrambling to fill major gaps on your team, the stakes are high. Every day you don’t have a salesperson in a revenue-generating role costs you potential new business opportunities. Other team members can’t focus solely on their own projects as they pitch in to cover the gaps.
It’s better to avoid that scenario and look for sales talent before the alarm bells start ringing.
But how do you get the timing right? You watch out for these 7 warning signs that you’re on the path toward being understaffed.
7 Warning Signs That You’re Short-Staffed
1. Your sales reps are stressed
Stress is already rampant in the workplace. According to employee wellbeing data compiled by Gallup, 48% of American regularly stress at work.
When asked about specific feelings the previous day, respondents said they were:
- Stressed – 48%
- Worried – 39%
- Sad – 21%
- Angry – 17%
How to tell if stress is related to being understaffed
Asking your employees if they have too much on their plate is the most direct way to figure out if their workload is overwhelming.
Objectively review their timesheets and weekly tasks
Are they consistently working overtime? Have you set unrealistic expectations for what can be completed in a week?
2. Projects fall behind
Missing a deadline every now and then is understandable.
Constantly being late with deliverables for clients and partners will eventually damage your relationship with them. They will view you as unreliable and seek a new provider.
3. Client attrition increases
A great salesperson not only gets you new clients, they help you keep them, too.
But if your team is juggling too many tasks, they won’t focus on maintaining or strengthening relationships with your current customers.
Eventually, this leads to attrition. To keep your finances healthy, always know exactly how much you’re losing and compare it to adding new members to your team.
Formula: What losing clients costs you
1. Look back at your metrics and see how many clients you lost, on average, each month
2. Take your customer acquisition cost and apply it to the average number of clients lost
3. Answer this question: Can you afford to not have the right sales support staff in place so you stop losing clients?
4. Qualified sales opportunities aren’t closing
Ideally, your reps promptly and persistently follow up with every qualified opportunity until the prospect becomes a client.
But when you don’t have enough sales support staff, reps can’t reach out to everyone quickly. Or they only follow up a few times. Their close rate drops as they’re stretched too thin and leads flow to your competitors.
5. You can’t take on new clients
No one wants to turn away new business opportunities. If you’ve told sales to be less active and talk to fewer prospects, you have major gaps in your team.
Before you go out and hire, think through which new position would create the most ROI for your business.
We know this can be difficult to do objectively on your own
One of our close partners helps businesses determine which positions they should hire for right now. Reach out to us and we’ll share their contact information.
6. Strategic initiatives are on hold
When you don’t have enough employees, everyone starts wearing more hats, including the executive team.
As leaders get into the weeds of everyday tasks, big-picture, strategic projects are relegated to the back burner.
This slows growth and delivers an advantage to your peers who can focus on improving operations, adding new tools and creating opportunities.
7. Skills gaps widen
When every minute of an employee’s day is focused on keeping their head above water, they can’t make time for continuing education or professional development.
Upskilling makes your team more efficient
Employees who learn new skills typically become more efficient at their current jobs. They learn the latest industry best practices and give you a competitive edge.
Offering professional development helps you retain employees
58% of survey takers told the Conference Board they’d look for a new job if their organization did not offer learning and development.
Eliminate Excuses and False Barriers to Hiring
Unfortunately, even if you are understaffed, you can’t hire if you don’t have the budget or resources to support a new employee.
Those are valid reasons.
Using the calendar to justify a delay is not a legitimate “reason”
If you let the time of year dictate your hiring strategy, you’ll never add a single rep to your team.
Let’s say you have a goal to hire 2 new reps next year …
You know it will take time to post the job, screen candidates and train your new hire. As you look at your January calendar, you tell yourself it’s impossible to hire in Q1, you’ll be too busy trying to get back into the swing of work after the holidays. You have goals to hit and can’t train new employees.
Then in Q2 and Q3, you’re focused on staying on track and taking time off for spring and summer vacations.
Once it’s Q4, you’re juggling year-end goals and an endless parade of holiday parties.
Suddenly the year is over
You didn’t make a single hire and being understaffed is taking its toll on your company.
Hiring doesn’t have to be this complicated
ProActivate is a Talent Acquisition Company Specializing in Sales Recruiting
When companies manage hiring on their own, they typically spend 109 days on the process. If you’re understaffed, losing that much time to finding new employees exacerbates the issue.
At ProActivate, we’ve developed a proven process that makes it easy for any company to add first-class talent to their teams.
You won’t write a job description or do initial candidate screenings.
You will only interview thoroughly vetted, working and winning candidates.
Ready to get started?
Yes, I want to talk to working and winning sales candidates. Call Today
Originally published in 2022, this post was updated in 2023.