Our booming economy is providing all executives with a key challenge—-where to find good help. While I would love to have the answer for all of you (would be worth more than winning this week’s NJ Power Lottery of $300 Million- wish me luck), I do have some insights that you should use for guidance.
The biggest mistake manager’s make is not knowing what to look for. Over and over again I have Sales VP’s wondering why their industry experts are not breaking down doors and uncovering new opportunities. When I was in computer sales management in the early 80’s, many of my colleagues thought the software guru’s would make great sales people because of their technical skills. Not so! The behavior and values one needs to excel in software development are completely different than what’s needed to succeed in opening new territories and expanding existing ones. While technical experience does help sales people, it is not the driver for their success.
If you were to ask me what I would look for in a salesperson, it would be a polished, hard charging individual who doesn’t live by the words it can’t be done. I want someone who will break down doors and sniff out new opportunities. Someone who is secure in their ability to communicate with senior executives, which most sales people do not do today because of their insecurity and lack of experience. Calling at high levels is crucial in most cases for achieving
Oh, as for the technical experience, no problem. The person I just described is secure in the knowledge that if she needs assistance, there is a technical expert who can assist her. She is being paid not because of her technical Ph.D. She is being paid to uncover and close deals.
Now each sales position in each industry is different. Some sales positions are more sophisticated than others. Whatever the scenario is, each sales position has a model of what it takes to succeed. Before you choose your next hire, make sure you know the behaviors, values and skills that are critical for the new hire’s success. Then use the interview to see how well they fit the model you are looking for.