Recap: Headlight looks back on 2020 in sales and recruitment

April 17, 2022 - min. read

Dear reader,

This won’t shock you, but 2020 was a tough year for sales and a tough year for recruitment. But we’re grateful and proud to say that we managed to continue our growth, despite the economic uncertainties.

With the end of 2020 in sight, I would like to take a moment to look back on an unusual year and look forward to a new and exciting one. Will you read along?

Our takeaways from 2020

A moment of reflection

During the first lockdown, just about everybody had a major moment of reflection regarding their career and their work-life balance. How important was their career to them and which place did it take in their life?

Personally, I had my moment when I sat down to write an article on LinkedIn titled ‘7 weeks, 7 lessons’. The many reactions it got, showed me that we were all in this difficult situation together.

What 2020 meant for sales

Over the past few decades, sales has evolved into a challenging and intellectually stimulating profession. The pandemic was the final straw for the ‘old way’ of doing sales – the slick car salesman is dead!

In 2020, successful companies were companies with a proactive approach to sales based on analysis and proven tools and techniques. Companies that still approached sales reactively had to suddenly shift towards this new, proactive way.

Finally, marketing proved itself once and for all as the primary sales tool. Video and other types of online content were massively used to spark the interest of potential clients. 2020 was a real gamechanger for video and podcast. (Michael Humblet was everywhere!)

What 2020 meant for Headlight

Contrary to the above, a lot of companies’ initial reaction to the lockdown was to cut down on marketing and sales. Headlight decided to invest in it instead. It turned out to be a very smart decision.

Recruitment is a people business. So when people suddenly couldn’t meet each other face to face, it got really tough. But by taking the long view and investing in marketing, we managed to continue growing. Not a small feat in 2020.

Finally, we are truly happy to see that more companies than ever chose niche recruitment in 2020. And there’s a simple explanation for that: a strong focus leads to big results. Or what else would you call our 97% success rate?

Looking forward to 2021

What we wish for our candidates in 2021

Sales is difficult – and a lot less fun! – if you can’t do it in person. Candidates are tired of using video call as the primary mode of contact for sales and networking. We truly hope that in 2021 we can meet face to face again!

Candidates have also become increasingly critical of their employers in 2020 – and rightly so. We expect that the way a company handled the pandemic will become an important factor in deciding which company to work for.

Furthermore, the flexibility a company offers will become increasingly important for candidates, as well as the connection they feel to its management and how futureproof their products and services are.

So in 2021 tech start-ups and scale-ups might be gaining in popularity over the big corporations, despite the idée fixe of looking for a ‘safe haven’.

What we wish for our clients in 2021

The tech market is booming and the corona crisis hasn’t stopped investors from investing in innovative technology and promising entrepreneurs. We are convinced that they will continue to do so in 2021.

Furthermore, despite the panic, lots of tech companies were able to adapt to new situations and even take advantage of the pandemic. With the lessons they learned in 2020, tech companies will continue to blossom in 2021.

Finally, companies that decided to focus on cost cutting, will start investing in sales and marketing again in 2021. If 2020 made anything clear, it’s that this is the only way to grow in the long run.

What we wish for Headlight in 2021

Firstly, just like our candidates, Headlight works better when we are together. So we hope that in 2021 we can spend more time at the office and less time at the home office.

We are also looking forward to finding not 1 but 2 awesome new colleagues! Are you our new Sales Recruitment Advisor or do you know somebody who might be? Let us know!

Last but not least, niche recruitment is here to stay and so is Headlight. More and more companies are choosing our expertise above general recruitment. We are on track for even more growth in 2021 and look forward to hearing you say ‘I normally don’t like recruiters, but …’!

Want to grow together?

We want to take a moment to thank our amazing clients for the opportunities they gave us in 2020 and look forward to keep growing together in 2021!

Are you convinced that a proactive and structured sales approach is the way to grow in 2021 and are you looking for the right tech sales professionals to make it happen? Get in touch! Pandemic or not, we are here to help you.

I wish you all a healthy and successful new year!

Alexander Goovaerts
Founder and CEO of Headlight