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How do you find the perfect salesperson? That’s like saying what’s the perfect food? If you’re on a kosher or halal diet, your perfect food might be different than a North Carolina Pork BBQ fan. The perfect profile for a salesperson is highly dependent on the type of product. The perfect door-to-door salesperson won’t be the perfect commercial jet sales professional.

The traits, skills, and experience required are dependent on many factors, including:

  • Length of the sales cycle – Buying a mobile phone could be a single-step, 30-minute sales cycle while deciding between a Boeing 777 or an Airbus Dreamliner might take a little more time and deliberation than Apple or Android. The top Airbus salesperson probably wouldn’t last a day working in a Verizon store.
  • Product cost – Think about how you buy a cup of coffee versus how you buy a home. Coffee buying factors are simple and involve just a few factors may include cost, taste, and location. A home buying decision will include many more factors like location, school district, design, size, configuration, financing, price, neighbors, negotiable price and terms, and many more.
  • B2B or B2C – Does the salesperson have the patience, project management, and analytical skills to navigate the politics, the needs, and wants of all the stakeholders of a large complex organization like a beurocratic federal agency?
  • Product or Service – Products are sold based on factors that include value provided by their features, price, and reliability. and their perceived reliability. Most services are less concrete and more amorphous than most products. Selling physical things is different than selling intangible services.
  • Product Complexity – Is it something highly technical like a Triverdonent-Occilator or is simple like a spoon (did you look up Triverdonent-Occilator)?
  • Company Reputation – Selling a new product from a new underdog competitor requires a totally different skill than selling a well-known product from a highly regarded company.

Research says that skill and personality trait requirements differ based on product or service. For instance, the kind of tenacity, required to break down a door in an opening cold call is different and often incompatible with the personality make-up of the person who can plan, manage, and execute a complex selling process. This is why many companies separate their salesforce into 3 distinct roles.

  1. Sales Development Rep (SDR) – The hunter who opens doors and turns suspects into prospects.
  2. Account Manager (AM) – The person who manages the team and the process that turns prospects into customers and lands the deal.
  3. Customer Success Rep (CSR) – The person responsible for the expansion phase of land and expand process.

Factors to ask yourself about your sales process and the factors that would make a successful sales representative for your company:

  1. Empathic – how well does the candidate read, relate to, and understand the needs of prospective clients?
  2. Driven – how competitive is the candidate and how much of their ego is invested in a win?
  3. Grit – how well does this person deal with setbacks?
  4. Desire – do they have a strong drive to succeed in sales and are they drawn to the financial rewards of successfully selling?
  5. Commitment – Will they do what it takes?
  6. Outlook – Do they want to understand the needs of clients and do they believe that your company’s products and/or services satisfy a real need?
  7. Responsible – Do they own the process and will they take responsibility for setbacks as well as wins?
  8. Need to be Liked – Do they need to be liked, are they easily put off by rejection, and are they willing to ask hard questions?
  9. Self-Limiting Beliefs – We all have self-limiting beliefs, that can sabotage our effectiveness. Does this candidate have a belief system that would be antithetical to success? For instance, do they avoid confrontation or are they afraid of failure?
  10. Analytical or Emotional – Do they have the ability to stay in the moment or can they be distracted by emotional responses?
  11. Can’t Ask The Tough Questions – Can they ask, what’s your budget, what are your decision criteria, for the order?

These are just some of the many factors that can affect the success of a salesperson. Not all factors may be important for selling for your company. There are over 40 factors that would make the perfect salesperson for every type of sale. Each factor will have a different weight depending on your situation.

One company, Objective Management Group (OMG), developed a salesperson assessment tool that analyzes the traits required to successfully sell your company’s products and services and matches those requirements to a candidate’s assessment. To find out more about the OMG, you can contact Andy Miller, of BigSwiftKick. Andy is an authorized OMG sales consultant.

I’m an executive coach, I often work with CEOs on their sales hiring, compensation, and sales management issues. If you’d like to experience what it’s like to work with an executive coach, you can schedule a complimentary one-hour coaching session here.