From manufacturing in automotive to food processing to transportation equipment production, last year, Canadian manufacturers employed more than 1.5 million Canadians—which represents nearly 10 per cent of total employment nationwide.1 And beyond these numbers, manufacturing sales have been on the rise across Canada, in every province with Quebec in the lead. With the job market opening up to new graduates in the next couple of months, a few companies are spending their time carefully looking for the right candidates to grow with them.
Bunzl, a leading national distributor of food and retail packaging, cleaning supplies, equipment, safety products and industrial packaging for more than 45,000 businesses in Canada, is looking forward to connecting with the next generation of Canadian sales professionals. “The manufacturing industry’s growth is impacting the Canadian labour market, which is why we are focusing our efforts on recruiting, hiring and training young sales talent for this segment,” says Margo Hunnisett, Senior Director, Marketing Communications at Bunzl.
Hunnisett sees the role of the salesperson as a strategic partner and consultant to the consumer and believes that companies should not only hire, but train young sales people accordingly. “This will be, for some businesses, a distinct shift in how they recruit, hire, train and develop young sales talent, but it’s vital to their success if they want to stay relevant in manufacturing or to manufacturers, in Canada.”
Opportunity to Grow and Succeed
Industries that rely on manufactured products and work closely with manufacturers are also focused on growing their sales talent. Recruitment Team Lead John Perry of Finning Canada, the world’s largest Cat® dealer that sells, rents and provides customer support services to multiple industrial sectors in Western Canada, emphasizes, “Sales is a critical role in any organization, especially those affiliated with the manufacturing sector. There are always opportunities, room to grow, and the possibility of career advancement, which is why we’re hopeful that young graduates will consider a sales career in our industry.”
Perry explains that an investment in a sales profession typically includes sales training for those with excellent technical knowledge; however, it also includes technical training for anyone wanting to learn and grow. Finning has developed a two-year sales intern program, providing young professionals with a solid understanding of the sales business, as well as opportunities to thrive in their craft. “Young people are dynamic, understand new technologies, more adaptable and aren’t afraid to try new things,” says Perry.
And at CP Railway, a provider of transportation services and supply chain expertise, the sentiment is shared. Shelly McInnis, Managing Director Human Resources adds that, “Working in a sales capacity across the broad manufacturing sector offers the opportunity to work directly with highly skilled individuals and learn from leaders who have years of experience and knowledge.” At CP, sales professionals can tap into commodity market intel and collaborate with a high performing marketing team, adding to skills earned and contributing to potential upwards or lateral movement within the organization.
Investing in Young Sales Talent
Together, all three companies feel strongly about investing in young sales talent and making the industry exciting again.
“Investing in young sales talent is important and an efficient means to strengthen our talent pipeline,” says Shelly McInnis. Adding that, “CP partners with post-secondary educational institutions across the country to attract, hire and develop our next generation of marketing and sales professionals as they are our future.”
CP Railway, Bunzl and Finning Canada are all participants in the Great Canadian Sales Competition (GCSC), a program that harnesses the sales skills of students and educates them about a career in sales. The competition also connects graduates with a variety of companies across various sectors throughout Canada, from manufacturing to tech/IT to foodservice and beyond, that are looking to hire and invest in their talented sales force. With the increase in student participation in programs like the GCSC, there is more opportunity today than ever before to practice and develop soft skills and see what a career in sales is really about.
Source: Canadian Manufacturing