Having worked with thousands of sales people at hundreds of B2B sales organizations; some who sell multi-million dollar solutions, and others who sell $30 deposable commodities, you end up having some unique litmus tests for understanding who the good sales people are. When I say good, I want to take the broad view, not just simply who is “good at the craft of selling”, but who is good, exceptional at driving good for their company, their customers, and good for themselves.
One test that has stood up regardless of the product or service involved, comes down to who the sales rep is spending time selling. Are they spending time with prospects, engaging and working on defining requirements and value, maximizing the return for the customer while driving revenues for their company? Or are they spending time selling their manager and company why they should cut a deal to this customer, why the offering is deficient, and why they can’t make quota given the market, pricing, product, and the location of their parking spot.
There are a number of sales people who find it easier to spend time with internal people explaining why the product needs tweaking, pricing needs to be adjusted, and their territory needs to be altered. While not all things are perfect, and think about it, if it were, would they need sales people? If it was easy they would not need us. Part of the job is to create that fit by working with the buyer to define requirements, help them understand the value of doing things a certain way, and then presenting the right product/service.
Yes this will involve some feedback to internal people, outlining changes and potential enhancements to the product based on market input. Even pricing is open for discussion in certain circumstances with the right parameters. All that however is very different than what I see all too many sales people doing, which is spending some real time and genuine skill and effort, selling their company what they can’t make a sales, when it should be the other way around. They should be selling to the market and customers.
Over time, I learned that if you observe how much time, effort, energy and resources a sales person spend selling in-market vs. In-house, you will know who the good sales people are vs. The also-rans. It is easier to sell in house than in market. It makes for a more profitable and enduring career selling in-market. It may alls sound obvious, but take a look around.
What’s in Your Pipeline?