There’s been plenty of noise in the media of late talking of another downturn. This can make business leaders nervous and can influence the level of aggression and optimism we take into our decision making which can flow on to create a hesitance in investment decisions and a conservative financial management outlook. Retail spending figures among others are a little scary right now. However unemployment rates remain at record low’s (currently 4.9% in Australia).

Is it time to hand the reigns of business back to the CFO’s and arm them with a machete?  Or in reality should we be investing further to take advantage of a buoyant business environment? Let’s see. We asked some of our readers to participate in this quick poll to gauge the sales results of the last financial year compared to the year prior. Are sales results growing or shrinking? Here is the results:

So it seems based on the results of last financial year, businesses in the B2B environment in Australia are doing quite well overall, with 64% of respondants seeing a rise in revenue year on year, 15% are within 3% year on year and 21% seeing a fall in their revenue year on year.  These numbers are consistant with what I’m hearing from sales directors and business owners around Australia within our client base.  On the hole, most companies we are partnered with are increasing revenue and are growing their sales force on the back of it.  Thanks for your participation everyone!

P.S. – For more sales insights, SUBSCRIBE for email updates.

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What a year 2010 has been for the sales profession and for business throughout Australia. 

‘Twas the year when the reins of businesses were passed back from the Financial Controllers and CFO’s; the brave defenders of our businesses throughout the GFC, and returned to the entrepreneurs, visionaries and drivers of innovation and business growth as the economic outlook has improved.  As we’ve started to reinvest in our businesses, sales and marketing has returned to its rightful place as the ultimate driver of business success. 

It’s also been the year we began this blog and the Australian HG Network of sales and marketing experts on Linkedin.  We’re up to almost 900 members now by the way.  It’s been great to have a place where we can speak about local topics and share relevant ideas with local Australian sales and marketing professionals.  Thank you all for your participation this year. 

I’d also like to take this opportunity to thank all our valued clients we’ve worked with throughout the year.  Thank you for your business and our valued relationship.  On behalf of the Harlow Group team, we wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a safe and relaxing break.  Our offices will be closed on Friday the 24th of December, re-opening on Tuesday the 4th of January.  In the meantime, let’s enjoy some well earned time off with our families and friends and try not to think about work for a bit.  See you all in the New Year.  As momentum builds in our economy, it’s bound to be an even bigger one.

P.S. – For more sales insights, SUBSCRIBE for email updates.

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Now’s the time to pick up some great executive talent!

I’m often asked from my clients, “How’s the candidate market?  Is their some good talent out there at the moment?”  Well the market for employers seeking talented executives is very interesting right now.

The past two years have seen many companies let go of top performers indiscriminately due to CFO’s being given the reins who have focussed on cost cutting in order to enable companies to either survive or maintain a profit.  In the recovery, CEO’s are taking back the reins and looking for growth opportunity.  But where has this left Australia’s top performing executives?

Displaced; “I’ve taken this job that I’m overqualified for.  It’s beneath me, but I needed to pay the bills.”

Dissatisfied; “I’ve had to take this job because I was made redundant in my last job and there wasn’t anything else available at the time.  It doesn’t suit me; I just took it because it was a job.” 

Underappreciated; “Gee, I’ve battled through this GFC, I’ve been asked to deliver the impossible, I’ve been threatened with my job, I’ve delivered and survived!  Phew…  Has anyone recognised any of this?”

Looking backwards; “This place has lost the positive culture it once had.  It will never be the same; a shadow of its former self.  And all my mates are gone.  Not sure I like this place anymore.”

Lacking direction; “All of the middle management has been culled over the past two years.  This place has no direction anymore.”

Exhausted; “Gee I’ve done it hard over the past two years.  I’m spent and over it.  Time for something new to recharge my batteries.” 

Free Interview Coaching DowloadMany of these people have felt this way for some time, but have held onto their positions out of fear, concluding: “Elsewhere is not likely to be any better. Any new job may not be secure with the current market conditions.”  So they’ve reluctantly held on to what they’ve got for now.  Many of these executives are now experiencing the effect of the recovery, feeling that perhaps now is a better time to look for that next career opportunity.

The Minefield

Two years ago, if someone had a ratio of one job per year in recent times, they were almost instantly dismissed by discerning employers and recruiters, concluding that these people have been pushed out of their positions due to underperformance or just don’t stick around in jobs for longer than a year.  Many of these professionals have continued to job hop throughout the GFC and by virtue of their nature, they are sending you their CV right now.  But the GFC has spawned a new breed of job hopping executives.  Those that were once stable in their career have found themselves with two or three jobs on their CV in the space of two years.  This is due to people being placed in difficult and sometimes hemorrhaging environments and often unsustainable positions where professionals are either highly unsatisfied and leave, or they become the victim of another round of job cuts as the GFC deepened it’s bite on corporate Australia.

So today, as employers and recruiters sift through CV’s, where they once could dismiss the job hopper as… a job hopper, today’s candidate market has changed and the waters have become murky.  Closer attention needs to be given to the ‘job hoppers’, as this is where the gold may lie.  This is where things can get dangerous, as employers and recruiters need to distinguish the inherent job hopper from the displaced, highly capable executive.  Get it wrong and you’re left replacing the candidate a year in; a very costly mistake.

So, is now a good time to be hiring from a ‘talent availability’ perspective?  Absolutely it is.  However a keen eye for talent is required and a willingness to investigate where you may have previously dismissed.  What’s more essential is an ability to question your long-list in a way that enables you to distinguish the rare talent from the rest.  A CV without further investigation in 2012 will tell you far less than it did in 2008.

Now is the time to seize the opportunity to pick up some great talent!

P.S. – For more sales insights, SUBSCRIBE for email updates.

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