Where are all the PCB salespeople?
A few years ago there were all kinds of sales people on the street. Good sales people; seasoned veterans with proven track records who had been victimized by first the stream of mergers that left them high and dry when the conquering company went with their sales force and let the victim company’s sales team go to avoid redundancy. Then we got hit with the great recession and shops went out of business and more sales people hit the street. But now business is back, people are investing in their companies again and now they are calling me looking for sales people because they’re having a hard time finding a few good men and women.
So where did they go these good and experienced sales people? Some have had it and have left our industry to find better and more stable positions. Others have just plain given up and settled for something in other fields altogether and then well some just got older and retired.
But for the rest of you out there and you know who you are; The ones who had a job once, were doing a pretty good job and still have the intoxicating thrill of the hunt flowing through your blood, where are you? The industry is looking for you to come home and start selling PCBs again. It’s time you looked up from whatever you’re doing and realize that the sound you hear is the whirring is that brand new Schmoll drill machine. The shops are running again and they need your help. They need you out there fighting for their company in this great new era of Board Wars.
Things are different now. Those company presidents and owners want you back, they are looking for you and they are ready to make some deals. Yes things have changed, companies are more flexible, they want more feet and the street and they are willing to make it work for you.
There are still the traditional deals. You go to work for a company and they give you a territory, a salary, some commission points and expenses and off you go, yes those jobs are out there right now. Then there are some more creative deals for those of you who want to me a little more independent. There are hybrid deals available. A hybrid deal is when a company is willing to pay a small retainer and reduced commissions to get you back in the field. They will do this for six months or a year depending on how long it will take you to get to a full annual revenue rate on your commissions alone. Now this is a pretty good deal for both parties. The company gets a seasoned sales professional at a reduced rate and they have more control over that person than if she were an independent rep. They can ask her to turn in reports, a forecast and attend meetings (at the company’s expense of course). It’s also a good deal for the hybrid sales person as he can represent other non-competing lines yes even other board shops if they complement one another rather than compete with one another. The sales person can even make several hybrid deals so that he has a pretty good monthly income coming in. In many cases this type of arrangement allows a sales person tom become a rep without going through his life savings in those first two years (assuming he has any life savings left). The hybrid deal works very well for sales people coming back into the industry as well as existing reps who want to take on new lines but need a little financial boost to help with that crucial first year of lead generation and prospecting.
Some companies are willing to turn over existing accounts. This is something that I highly recommend. Many reps wills and hybrid sales people are will to take a reduced commission rate to take over those current accounts. This only makes sense. When I’m working with companies helping them with their sales effort I always urge them to make this arrangement. First of all a real live sales person calling on an account is always better than one doing it over the phone and secondly the chances are growing that account beyond the current sales rate is far greater with a sales person, with skin in the game, trying to grow that account. It only makes sense.
So yes calling all sales people, come on back, there are good opportunities out there for the right experienced sales professionals…if you’re willing to put in the time and work you’re you know what off. Get out there and start looking, I know you want to, I know you can’t stay away, I know you just love the smell of solder mask in the morning. It’s only common sense.