How to Use IT Hiring Patterns to Better Target Software Sales

By Geoffrey James
If you want to know whether a potential customer is about to buy more software, find out whom they’re looking to hire. Many corporate Websites have an employment opportunities section they use as a recruiting tool. Posted job descriptions often contain quite specific information about the needs and problems of the company’s IT organization, as well as the skills they’re looking to hire.
If a company is staffing up on IT, they’re either in the middle of a major IT project or about to launch one. Either way you have an opportunity to make additional sales. So if your organization has services or expertise in the areas where the customer is looking to hire, you’re in a good position to make a sale. This is particularly timely advice because there’s growing evidence of a surge in IT hiring that will drive corporations to spend more on software applications and infrastructure. 
The world’s largest high-tech market research firm, Gartner, regularly tracks strategic information on IT human capital management practices in areas such as recruitment, retention, reward, recognition, work/life balance, career development and training. The most recent Gartner study, released in July of this year, contains important data that can help you align your sales efforts over the next 12 months. Here are some highlights:

  • The study revealed that IT employment opportunities are increasing in 2005 with 66% of organizations expecting some level of increase in IT staffing over the next 12 months. This is good news because it means money is flowing into your customers’ budgets.

  • The financial services sector is expected to be most active in IT recruiting with 63% of those companies projecting some level of increase in IT and 22% anticipating an increase of more than 10%. Similarly the public, nonprofit market is expected to be the second most active sector, with 62% of companies projecting IT headcount increases.

  • The most difficult-to-hire positions for IT organizations include project manager, Web applications programmer, security analyst, database administrator and network engineer. The demand for project managers suggests that companies are starting to focus on managing and prioritizing projects that can deliver a competitive advantage for their business.

  • The skills that IT organizations report having the greatest difficulty recruiting are PeopleSoft, J2EE Microsoft.Net, Java, Oracle, Visual C#.Net, SAP, XML and XML Web Services.

    All of the above offers software sales reps an extraordinary opportunity for strategic partnering with customer firms in your area. If your search of a Website reveals that a company is searching for expertise in an area such as XML that’s in high demand, you might be able to craft your selling approach to emphasize software and services that will help them cope with their momentary lack of expertise in this area.