June 17, 2024

Big Sales Hiring Classes Are Out- Does That Mean Great Sales Training Is Out Too?


Episode Highlights

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The times of hiring 5-10+ salespeople together to be onboard and trained in classes together are behind us. Big hiring classes used to mean in-depth onboarding and sales training programs and camaraderie amongst new employees. Emily and Ryan sit down to discuss how the decline of big hiring classes has affected the investment in onboarding and training and therefore overall company loyalty and retention.

Episode Transcript

I’m your host, Ryan Brown, Vice President of our Corporate Functions team, and this is my co-host. I’m Emily Goor, Director on our Go-To-Market recruiting team. The Hirewell Update is a weekly show that covers the latest talent insights, monthly placement overviews, talent solutions, and the hottest jobs we’re working on, all brought to you by us, your market experts here at Hirewell.

Before we kick off the show, you can find all of our content at talentinsights.hirewell.com. Or if you’d like to learn more about Hirewell and our service offerings, check out our website, www.hirewell.com. We might as well just get into it already and talk about some talent insights today. Yes. Talent insights today. I’m excited to chat about this. I think overall, it’s the idea that hiring classes are out, right? And we want to talk about kind of what that means for onboarding.

So we were having a discussion. I’ve actually had this discussion a few times recently, but I think it really pertains to sales recruiting a lot. And we were having this discussion on my team the other day. Just about how much has changed in our business. And one of the things that specifically came up was this topic about how we now very rarely, like honestly, if ever, it’s been a minute, are engaged by clients to hire for what companies used to refer to as like hiring or training classes, like a hiring class.

Companies used to hire anywhere, I mean, It varied, but anywhere I’d say between 3 to 10, maybe sometimes even like 15 on the high side, salespeople, account executives, or SDRs, sales development representatives is where we’d see it the most. And those groups, those hiring classes would all start the same day.

Right? So they could onboard together. They would train together. Nowadays we mostly honestly see like one off roles. Like we’re hiring one AE. We’re hiring one BDR. I mean, sometimes two. But very, very rarely are we seeing these hiring classes. Yeah, that’s an interesting shift for sure. I mean, I remember even just from context outside of your group hearing about hiring classes all the time.

You know, we’ve discussed in previous shows how companies are trying to do more with less people. So this shift honestly makes sense knowing that context. I’m not surprised that companies that were previously hiring 5 to 10 people for the same role are just hiring maybe one or two max. Based off of that, what were the benefits that hiring or training classes previously brought?

I think firstly, just the training programs in general was like a huge benefit. Like companies were really investing in training their salespeople. Oftentimes they’d go through and you probably, I know in Chicago, there’s a few, like very specific companies I can think of, everyone knew about them, these training programs.

And honestly, like they were intense. Very intense, like sometimes they were grind. You’d hear those salespeople talk about them. Like, oh, I went through this six week classroom training program. But anyone that’s been through one of these sales training programs will tell you how intense they were. Not always the most fun, right?

Like they were grind, like I said. But in hindsight, gave them a really, really incredible sales foundation, right? I’ll talk to candidates all the time that are like, I went through this classroom training. Like, it wasn’t fun, but like, in hindsight. I learned so much from that. It kind of kicked off my career.

I would say next on top of just how strong the training programs were, just the camaraderie, right? Like these training programs were grind. So how nice is it to be able to look and have somebody next to you? You know, they say misery loves company, but you know, have a group to go through this with and kind of share the experience with, I think made it a lot more bearable and like gave people a really positive experience, coming into a new company, like having a group that you can automatically, you know, maybe you won’t be best friends with all 10 people, but like-

Right, you build relationships. Yeah. So I think like the training, the camaraderie, two things I can think of kind of right off the bat. Yeah. And you know, those pieces aren’t necessarily new topics either to the Hirewell Update.

I mean, we’ve discussed, we always bring it back. This is a full circle show. We’re always going to talk about topics that relate, but we’ve discussed at length, frankly, in the past, how important onboarding, training, pieces are to retention. We actually did this, like, I don’t know, maybe two months ago when we really dug into retention and that sort of thing.

And we’ve also discussed the idea that people are more likely to stay at an organization because of their loyalty to the people that they work with and not necessarily to the company itself. So I’m curious, do you feel like. You know, those in depth sales trainings are still happening at companies now that they’re hiring AEs and SDRs, yeah. SDRs, thank you. I got you. I’m the sales lead here. You’re the expert. And the ones and twos compared to those larger groups. Yeah, those are really good points that you made. Like we’ve talked about like people loyalty, right? Like if you have so many friends at your company, even if you don’t feel super loyal to the company, like you want to stay with your people.

So those are good points. I know you asked, like, if I still feel like those in depth sales trainings are happening. Honestly, no. Wow. Don’t come for me. Okay. Don’t come for me. If you’re watching and you’re like, well, my company has a great sales training and it’s in depth and it’s, I’m talking in general.

Okay, so. In a volume sense. Of course there are exceptions. I am sure that there are companies who are still doing this and like, who are still having investing and onboarding and training up front. I’m saying a general trend. I think it’s happening less so than it used to. I truly do not think companies are investing as much in the training and onboarding of their salespeople.

I might make the bolder statement. I’m already scared because I feel like people are going to come for me, but fine. Hot takes today on the Hirewell update. Hot takes, always. I mean, it wouldn’t be the first time that’s happened on this show. So we’re built for it at this point. It’s true. Been doing this a long time.

I’ll make the bolder statement that I don’t think companies are investing in the training of their new employees in general. Sales people are not. Period. Period. Period on that sentence for sure. I think I agree in many senses. And the reason why I say that, I’m going to give a different lens and perspective to this conversation.

Obviously I’m on the corporate functions team that incorporates HR. And within HR, typically lives learning and development. I can say this for a fact this year, we’re halfway through June at this point, we have not seen one position in the learning and development space all year. We’ve talked about doing more with less, maybe that’s living with an HR generalist or manager or whoever it may be.

But also I know we’re not seeing as many sales training positions across our practices either. And those are typically the people that would be responsible for onboarding and training of these groups. So I feel like in general, when we look at training, we’re seeing not only a decline in these roles, but also the decline in these hiring classes, which honestly makes me think that companies are likely investing less in training and development than they used to in general.

Yeah. I’m on the same page as you. We used to fill a ton of sales trainers, sales enablement. We see some sales enablement roles still. And like, sometimes when we talk to new clients, we’ll be like, why should salespeople be excited to work at your company? They’re like, well, we have a head of sales enablement, as if it’s like something to brag about, which it is, it’s great. Right. Brag away. It’s a great thing to attract sales people to your company. But I don’t know when it became something to brag about, it used to just be like, well, yeah, everyone has sales enablement and sales trainers. Of course we do. We used to work on like a sales enablement role like monthly and now, like you said, certainly a decline.

We want to give you ideas, right? If you’re watching this as a company and you’re struggling with retention, onboarding and training is like a huge, huge piece. Like successful onboarding is great for retaining your employees. The way that companies are investing less in their onboarding and their training, we’re also seeing it affect interview processes.

Hiring requirements have become a lot more specific in terms of sales. Maybe it’s like they need experience in the industry selling to the same target persona, you know, selling the same exact deal sizes with this experience quota, like it’s becoming very specific and hiring managers are saying to us, we need all of these X, Y, and Z requirements in a candidate because we don’t have the bandwidth to train.

To train, yup. I do not want to spend months training this person. I need them to ramp up quickly. I need them to have a quick ramp period. I need basically like a plug and play. I need to be able to plug this person in because we don’t have a ton of bandwidth to train, so they need experience. I don’t have time to teach them the industry.

I don’t have time to teach them the regulations happening in the industry. They need to have sold something like this to the same target persona in the same industry, because I can’t train them. Exactly. This is, I mean, not shocking to hear at all. I think across the market, that’s information that we’re hearing.

And honestly, it makes sense because if there’s not an investment in training and onboarding, and there’s not room for hiring managers or other folks internally to take on the burden of doing that, because listen, like, training is not something that anybody off the street can do. It’s not something that necessarily like a hiring manager is equipped to do.

It’s a very specialized skill set. And that’s why we have specializations like learning and development, like sales training, like sales enablement, because those are folks that have the experience to be able to then, you know, lean into folks that maybe don’t have every single qualification, but help them get to the point that they will.

So it makes a lot of sense to me that this is what we’re seeing happening in the market. I mean, I can give an example, you know, in the past month, I’ve probably had five to six of the longstanding relationships of folks in the L and D space, reach out to me recently and say, “Hey, I think I need to get on the job market. There’s some rumblings that maybe, you know, our company is going to be divesting in learning and development.” We’re seeing this kind of across the market and listen and all, you know, impacts one another, this is truly tied together. So it’s disappointing to hear for sure, because as we know, Em like, these are really important pieces that all play together, especially from a retention standpoint.

And it’s already challenging to hire in this market. But when we’re looking at very specific profiles with absolutely no wiggle room to make exceptions or allow someone the ability to learn. That’s when, you know, we start to find a lot of struggles. Yeah. So it’s interesting. It’s always interesting to look back at, you know, how much has changed in the last few years in the space.

Well, I’m interested to see how the rest of the year plays out though. Like, you know, obviously we take market insights and reevaluate them on a quarterly basis, sometimes a monthly basis, depending on how quickly things are moving, but it’ll be interesting to see later this year, if there’s going to be some repercussion for, you know, a lack of investment in training.

Yeah, and I’m curious, like, which industries will continue to do well. I’m thinking about certain industries that still do like hiring classes and like sales training in the classroom for six weeks. A lot of industries where this is, like, still happening.

So I’m curious how, you know, if those industries will continue to thrive. Time will tell. Time will tell that is for sure. Well, thanks. Em, this was a good chat today. We’ll, you know, keep an eye on what the market’s voting and what direction things start to go. But if you are an employer listening, please, please, please invest in training your employees.

It goes so long from a retention standpoint. Again, mic drop, that’s it. If you just saw that, that’s the message. That’s it for sure. That’s a wrap for this week’s episode of the Hirewell Update. Thank you all so much for joining us. As a reminder, you can find all of our content at talentinsights.hirewell.Com. Or if you’d like to learn more about Hirewell and our service offerings, check out our website. It’s www.hirewell.com. We’ll see you all then. Have a great week, everyone.

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