When you’re developing a high-performing sales team, there are lots of ways to go about it. But one that’s often overlooked is the use of a graduate sales programme.


Many larger companies run graduate programmes, aware of the benefits of recruiting and training some of the best-educated candidates around. By engaging graduates when they first enter the world of work, they can choose from a pool of energetic, willing and driven jobseekers who can be moulded into tomorrow’s sales superstars.


Such programmes are less common for SMEs. Yet if you’re eager to boost your sales performance and scale a high-performing sales team, it’s an option you can’t afford to ignore. Here’s why.


They’re a cheaper alternative to experienced hires

Graduates taking their first steps into the working world can’t command huge salaries. So, as well as being eager and driven to succeed, they provide a cheaper alternative to established salespeople.


Delving deeper, it’s hard for businesses to attract the top sales performers in their industry. Not only will they be earning enviable salaries in their current roles, but they’ll need a significant wage hike to be coaxed from these roles.


Looking beyond the top performers, you’ll find experienced and more expensive sales personnel who lack historical high performance and carry much more of a risk factor. With this in mind, graduates can offer a far more flexible and economically friendly solution, provided your product or service isn’t too complex. Of course, if your offering is a complex, multinational one, then graduates are still great at lead generation.


You can hire graduates in bulk

It takes time and resources to find and recruit a senior salesperson. But graduate recruits, who are also more accessible, can be hired in bulk, allowing you to rapidly build and scale your sales operation. Correlating with this, inexperienced and budding graduates need a support system from fellow peers. Starting in the trenches as part of a team of graduates going through the same trials and tribulations will inevitably help during those tough times.


Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency [hyperlink to https://www.hesa.ac.uk/data-and-analysis/students/whos-in-he] show that in 2016/17 there were more than half a million first year, first degree student enrolments. That’s a huge pool of potential candidates when you’re scaling your sales operation.


Graduates are easily trained

The majority of graduates leave higher education seeking a career that offers them opportunities to progress and the ability to boost their earning power. With fewer roles already under their belt, they’re also more easily trained to sell the way your company needs them to. Not only are they malleable, but they inject a new energy into the business. Much like a Premier League football club hiring a new manager, this tends to boost company performance.


You’ll develop future leaders

Graduates are also the future leaders of your business, who will learn from the ground up. Working for a smaller company provides opportunities they may not get in a larger firm, and offers them a clear and rewarding path towards becoming the leaders of tomorrow. All businesses are searching for their next superstar; why not make yours a graduate?


Building your graduate sales programme

By developing your own graduate sales programme, you can put your business in the enviable position of having talented, educated and eager candidates queuing up to work for you.


So make this the year you commit to setting up a graduate sales programme, and set your business up for sales success for years to come.

Something to remember – 

Few SMEs take the time to develop a graduate sales programme. Yet if you’re eager to boost your sales performance, hiring graduates is an option you can no longer afford to ignore.

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