What is a Salesperson Exactly?

27 Mar

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I was having coffee with someone last week that does online sales assessments. We started to break down what a B2B salesperson really means in 2018. I tend to oversimplify and think of salespeople as an inside or outside employee. Smaller companies tend to only have those two positions – but let’s break down the roles into individual sales skills sets (this blog will not cover the growing list of marketing & social media roles).

In an ideal situation, you have all these people on your team. If not, it’s important to think of these nine roles and who takes on these responsibilities inside your sales team. Some people can do 2-3 of these positions, but almost no one is very good at more than a couple.

  1. Sales Leadership: it could be more than one role depending on the size of your organization.
  2. Sales Trainer: someone in the company that teaches the product or service (and company culture) to the sales team. Typically, “how to sell” (and close) is still taught by the manager.
  3. Sales Admin: they are the organizer and support for all the roles on this list.
  4. Sales Channel Manager: this position focuses on managing and selling to distributors. Many companies obviously don’t need this title depending on how their product or service is sold.
  5. Account Manager: I have a hard time calling this a sales position unless they are servicing and focused on account penetration (or else this is simply customer service). They typically work full time at a desk. In many companies, the inside salesperson has this responsibility.
  6. Inside Salesperson: works the phone and email and converts conversations into appointments or demos. They focus on generating leads at the top of the sales funnel.
  7. Technical Salesperson or Sales Engineer: they are the topic expert. In software, they do the demos and discuss content. In other technology companies, this is the Sales Engineer.
  8. Outside Salesperson: someone that opens the door to a proposal stage. They work the entire sales funnel from lead to close.
  9. Closer: sometimes it’s the sales leader that comes in to help close all the deals. Often it is the responsibility of the outside salesperson. Regardless, closing is a trait that many do not have and separating this role should be considered.

It starts at the top. Many companies end up promoting their best salespeople into sales leadership. I’m guessing a promotion to Sales Manager/Director/VP is successful half the time at best (unless the executives above are matching their other abilities to the position). Sometimes effective sales leaders are only average salespeople, but they understand the science of sales and how to motivate a team.

Regardless of how many different sales titles you have in your organization, it starts with the sales leader. He or she is going to have a lot of input into how these roles are divided. In an ideal scenario, they look at every individual on the sales team and place them in the right role to suit their talents.

I’m a big believer in Jim Collins’ Hedgehog Concept; there are 3 circles for defining what someone is best at: (a) Passion (b) Skills and (c) Money. If you are skilled and passionate about a certain area of sales, that is where you will have the most value. Understanding someone’s passion, skill set and economic engine lead to more success and less stress. These three circles help define where someone best fits into a sales team.

There are a lot of assessment tools that I use for hiring but start with the Hedgehog Concept and you have a quick litmus test of how to design your sales team.

Forward, never straight~ Drew

drew@blueoctopusllc.com

http://www.blueoctopusllc.com

Better sales recruitment. Better sales coaching. Better sales. 

It’s time to grow faster.

 

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