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Recession? They think it's all over – it isn't now!

Further signs that the UK economy may be heading into a double-dip recession. After mentioning on Friday that we had a senior/experienced legal sales person looking for a new job, the Orange Rag office has been approached by more sales-staff over the weekend. All are in the same boat: wanting to jump before they are pushed by their current suppliers in the next round of economising.

We've already seen a number of law firms – small, medium and at least one very large practice – wielding the knife with fresh job-cuts at the end of last year/early this year, and now it looks as if it is spreading to legal IT suppliers. Well, at least some IT suppliers – typically those who lived off their reserves last year and now are facing the prospect of another year of empty order-books. On the other hand, last Friday's note immediately prompted a response from three different vendors who are actively looking to recruit staff to deal with the growing demand for their company's products and services. So, perhaps the impact of the recession is not endemic but merely life-threatening to suppliers with already failing health?

For the record, the Orange Rag is not a recruitment agency and is not charging any fees for the introductions we've been making – it's just another free service to our readers.

4 replies on “Recession? They think it's all over – it isn't now!”

So, some hiring, some firing and some jumping ship.
On the face of it we can interpret this as indication that some suppliers are doing well at the moment and others being less so – in other words quite highly polarised performance in the current climate.
I'm sure that some of this is due to the economy, demand for product (based on the product itself) and client experience of the suppliers in question. And this begs the question regarding the future of some suppliers’ viability if they are getting rid of staff again.
But I suspect that there is more happening here than meets the eye, and most of us realise this. After all, if the market is so polarised, then we would be seeing more suppliers failing, rather than just hiring and firing sales staff.
The truth is that when things are not going too well within sales then some organisations will be 'shooting the messenger'; in other words getting rid of the existing sales force because they allegedly 'cannot sell'.
Whilst this might be true in some cases, in others this will certainly be a matter of senior management ensuring that they are being 'seen to act' by getting rid of people in order to move the spotlight away from themselves. When, in fact, it should be the business itself that is under scrutiny, including such senior management.
In addition, when senior management change happens we also have the 'new broom' scenario. I'm certainly aware of very good sales people being swept out, merely because the new brooms want to sweep the floor in their own image. Yes, a mixed metaphor, I know…
We all know that ‘sales’ is pretty cut throat and political, full of type ‘A’ egotists, that some organisations are ‘blame cultures’ and that handcuff agreements and payoffs are commonplace. None of this is news to anyone who has been at the sharp end.
So I don’t think we can draw any economic conclusions from movements in the sales arena, we’re just seeing the merry-go-round effect of what always happens when things get tougher than they used to be.
My point …
That if we start seeing changes (hiring, firing or jumping) in the often unreported ‘engine rooms’ of suppliers (specialist support staff, technical staff and consultants) then I think we have a more diagnostic indicator of performance and viability… the rest is just sales fluff that sales people like to talk about.

LexisNexis come to mind, just before Christmas they got rid of two people in new business sales. Both of these people were long standing members of Visualfiles sales team. At the moment they are no longer actively selling Visualfiles despite what LexisNexis say. They also got rid of few consultants and are not replacing anyone that leaves.

“In addition, when senior management change happens we also have the 'new broom' scenario. I'm certainly aware of very good sales people being swept out, merely because the new brooms want to sweep the floor in their own image.”
– Andy, I don't think you could had put a thinner veil over your description of the goings-on at Aderant

For the record, these leavers are not coming out of Iris, LexisNexis or any of the usual suspects but the smaller vendors with legacy products, for whom the only light at the end of the tunnel is the express train coming towards them – CC

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