There are lots of people in sales roles, but not all will or should be the salesperson you recruit.
Recruitment takes your time, effort and money. So how do you ensure that the right salesperson joins your business? ‘Sales’ is an all encompassing generalised term, but look closer and the distinctions between sales roles are significant. Not every salesperson is equipped to perform every sales role.
Recruiting begins by knowing what you need and not by settling for what you can get.
The ‘WHAT’ you need and not ‘who’ you need, is a very deliberate distinction!
The impact of covid on sales
You won’t need reminding of how 2020 went for businesses everywhere.
What’s become apparent by the move to on-line, virtual selling is that the traditional distinction between sales roles that hunted for brand new clients and those who were better able to grow and nurture existing clients has blurred.
Hunting, Nurturing or Hybrid salesperson
There’s now more talk of using Hybrid sales roles. A recent HubSpot survey suggested that 68% of sales leaders plan to recruit and implement a hybrid or remote sales model for 2021.
Is this role the joyous combination of the best skills both Hunter and Nurturer offer? Or is it a Dr Doolittle Pushmi-Pullyu? A mash-up of both roles with a dodgy join in the middle?
“Yes”… to both!
When does a Hybrid sales role work?
If you recruit well, onboard well and support well, it can offer you a great addition to your business. You’ll get a salesperson able to engage and attract new prospective clients via social media and networking – going on to convert them for you into brand new business.
The same someone will also be able to develop these clients, significantly enhance their total lifetime value to you, and ensure the churn rate you experience is low.
If you are a start-up or scaling up this can be the perfect role to keep your sales operation simple. It enables your sales team to look for business across new leads and within existing clients. When one source of opportunities is not so forthcoming, they can look elsewhere. A great recruit.
A Marvel® super-hero in one super-selling salesperson.
It also makes planning and rewarding success more straightforward because everyone is able to look everywhere for viable sales opportunities. Therefore, everyone can be targeted, measured and rewarded within the same goals and commission scheme.
As long as you’re certain this is the best fit and actually what you need? And, you understand the attributes and capabilities you’re recruiting for.
But this can also become a Pushmi-Pullyu. When you need something else entirely, and recruit this fabulous creature by accident, seduced by four ears and eight hooves.
Which salesperson do you need?
Two questions to ask yourself:
Which roles do you have already in your business and how are they performing?
If you are the entire sales team right now; will this role replace you, or will it be doubling the sales team to two of you and be doing something different?
If you have a larger team, what are you trying to do with this new role? Leverage a new opportunity? Break into a new market or sector? Replicate what you already have? Plug a gap in what you’re doing? Ensure your existing clients get great service and account management?
Where does your business come from now – what’s the lead source that generates the most sales revenue and opportunities for you?
If it’s from referrals, existing customers and word of mouth, then a Nurturing role will be needed. If it’s from new lead generation activity aimed at attracting brand new target prospects, then a Hunting role is better.
If it’s truly a mix of both – then consider a Hybrid.
Recruiting a salesperson – the attributes required.
Common to all sales roles should be the desire to achieve results. The specifics will differ between Hunter, Nurturer or Hybrid. But a desire to do this and deliver is a pre-requisite for a successful salesperson. Underpinning this sit perseverance and resilience.
The roles have other attributes in common too – listening, questioning, problem-solving, communication, inter-personal skills and proactivity to name a few. The exact recipe for each role will change, but they will all be required at some level.
The Nurturing salesperson will be paying attention to long-term value.
Their focus is relationships, service, partnership, and strategy with your clients. Concentrating on customer retention, integration and problem-solving over months and years. They may forego a short-term win for the sake of a longer-term goal. Trust is really important.
The Hunting salesperson will be seeking out new opportunities.
Which means in turn, there’s more rejection to deal with. More silence, more “No”, more doubt. However, salespeople who excel in this role recover quickly, and know it’s not personal. They are energised by the scent of a new opportunity and a sniff of interest. And will rejoice in every new win.
However, it’s much less likely that your Hunter will enjoy your brief that asks them to develop that new client for the next three years. It just not where they get their kicks!
And they’ll be bored, long before you notice that someone else should be looking after your client.
The Hybrid salesperson is a mix of Nurturer and Hunter.
Therefore, the mix of attributes and the proportion of each that you need in that role should reflect the specifics of what you actually want the person to spend their time doing.
Recruiting a Hybrid salesperson who is going to spend more time hunting will require a higher dose of resilience and need to be great at establishing rapport very quickly than one mainly biased towards working with your existing clients.
As final food for thought.
Working out the exact recipe you require before you begin your search will help you enormously. It’s easy to recruit any salesperson. But even the highest achieving Nurturer will struggle if you accidentally appoint them into a Hunting role. And vice versa.
If you need a Hybrid, then recruit that salesperson deliberately. If you don’t, be certain what you do need instead and then search hard for the best talent you can find. No mash-ups. No settling for just being available.
And not a Pushmi-Pullyu in sight!