I found myself in a heated debate last week with a headhunter about the value, and challenges of SME’s outsourcing the hiring of employees, particularly salespeople.

Her view: SME owners are so time constrained that anything not “core” to success should be outsourced, and left to professionals.

My view: If sales, or as I like to call it, Revenue generation, is not core to every SME, I do not know what is. Whilst it may be the product offering, that delivers the value, it is sales that delivers the opportunity to deliver that value, and therefore is the key role, and should warrant substantial attention. Picking those who will represent you with current and potential customers is much too important to be outsourced to “professionals” who get paid by delivering a body to a seat.

While there are exceptions at either end of the employee scale, casual factory workers are perhaps best outsourced, and  it is probably sensible to have a headhunter exercise their skills and networks to find a group of people who fill demanding profile when seeking a new CEO, from which a board can make a choice.

 However, this is not how it usually evolves. The usual is a harried, busy executive whose KPI’s have little to do with the quality of the team, and the individuals who make it up does not give adequate thought to the personal dynamics and capability requirements of the role, they just want a warm body that appears able to do the job in the seat ASAP.

Good salespeople make or break a business, the challenges in finding, keeping, and maximising their productivity are substantial, but are central to the success of the enterprise.