BLOGS:

Do you have the Right People Selling to the Midmarket?

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Psychological profiling of individuals – on your sales team, your target midmarket segment and target executives – gets superior sales results.  Buying and selling occurs between people, not companies.

Sales is a people-to-people activity.  Different individuals are better suited to certain roles within a company.  Similarly, different segments within the business community have different behavior profiles – millennial-led high tech businesses behave differently from boomer-led manufacturing businesses, startups, middle-aged service firms or foreigner-led companies operating.  And, a CEO has a different behavioral profile than a CFO or head of HR or the CIO.  Obviously, you know all that.  But, did you account for these differences when you hired personnel for your sales team, or assigned them to particular segments or executives within a prospect company?

Let’s start with hiring people for your sales team. Nearly all sales managers have hired people who looked great on paper and interviewed well, but some performed poorly in sales roles. These salespeople consistently trailed others in prospecting, and subsequently failed to meet sales goals required to grow the business. Would it be useful if you were able to identify the ‘sales duds’ before they became employees, weed out the ‘sales duds’ from your sales team or reassign them to more suitable roles for their individual personalities?

If they can’t prospect, they can’t sell

As you well know, consistent prospecting is an important component of successful selling. If you don’t fill the top of the sales funnel, there won’t be much coming out the bottom.  If salespeople can’t or won’t prospect - by whatever means necessary - to identify, isolate, and get in front of prospects, they may have trouble achieving their sales goals (read article in Enterpreneur magazine by Stephen Key, author of ‘One Simple Idea’ series). At best, the non-performing sales person becomes your ‘project’, taking up your time and causing endless frustration.  Why?

Prospecting is first and foremost, an emotional skill

Contrary to what most people believe, salespeople who are reluctant or hesitant to prospect aren’t resisting or giving you a hard time. They have emotional factors that prevent them from embracing prospecting.  It is manifested as ‘call reluctance’. These candidates have a dim view of the sales profession (that they are in).  Some also have low self-esteem.  These issues are almost impossible for even the best hiring managers to see during the interview; and, the candidates are often not aware of it themselves!

There are assessments (we use one based on 40 years of research) that can tell you if a particular candidate has the ‘markers’ that indicate sales reluctance – a willingness to do almost anything other than prospecting. If your sales effort requires prospecting and cold calling, can you afford another ‘project’?

I have heard some sales managers and business owners tell me that if they make a bid hire, they just release the person and that’s that…..as if the bad hire has no financial loss.  Just consider the time it takes a sales manager to screen, interview, and onboard a new salesperson. A manager’s time is worth at least $200 an hour, and it takes 10 hours or more to onboard a new salesperson – over $2000 in costs to the company, other costs aside. Studies have shown that call reluctance can quickly spread through an entire sales team, reducing productivity and sales.  Would you accept the unproductive sales or figure out a way to nip the sales imposter and increase the productivity of the sales team?

Selling is a developed skill; there aren’t many who were born with it. It takes a lot of effort to develop the ability to make highly targeted prospecting calls and identify prospects suitable for your product or service.

When sales managers hire non-performers, they cost the company money and reduced the productivity of the sales team.  They looked great on paper, interviewed well, but as employees, they treated prospecting like a terrible disease! They looked for every opportunity to avoid prospecting. They always looked busy, but they were not prospecting. Each time, the manager gets stressed and knows that sooner or later they had to fire them.

Every sales team needs a mix of people – prospectors, hunters, closers, support people, etc.  Do you have each person in the right role for the individual and have all roles staffed?

Wrong People Supporting the Prospectors & Hunters on the Sales Team

Every sales team needs a mix of people – prospectors, hunters, closers, support people, etc.  Is each person on your team in the right role for their personality?  There are assessments that can tell you what role a particular candidate is best suited for and where you have ‘holes’ on your sales team.  There are skilled people who can interpret the results of assessments and find ‘markers’ that indicate which person is suited for which role within a company. There are other sales experts who can speak to an individual over the phone and add depth and validation to the assessments, assessing each person as well as the overall team.  It is part-science and part-art.  Do you have each person in the right role for the individual and have all roles staffed? 

Every sales team can be improved.  When it comes to teams that sell to themidmarket, there are additional nuances that make some people and sales teams more suited (and successful) than others.  You need to define ‘your midmarket’ right (as there are ‘many midmarkets’); you need to have the right behavior profiles on your sales staff for the midmarket segment and the midmarket executive you are targeting; and then you must execute. We have behavior profiles for major segments in the midmarket as well as key executive roles in midmarket companies.  If you would like to have a detailed discussion to improve the hiring, retention and performance of your sales team that sells into the midmarket, do reach out to us by emailing us at info@midmarket.org or calling us.