A Big Mistake — Only Looking for Sales Reps with Specific Industry Experience
When it comes to hiring for specific sales roles and building a high-performing sales team, Jennifer Terrell does not believe it is necessary to look for specific industry experience. The only exception to this rule is when your organization is so niche that you need a Rolodex to be successful.
For the most part, you should worry about the target market you are going to aim your marketing and sales efforts to. You should look for sales reps who have a background either selling to the same market, or who have some other experience or background in this market. Jennifer Terrell adds that an easy approach to this is to hire experienced individuals who would fall into the target market, it is always easier to sell a product when you can relate to the buyer.
A Comparison of Two Markets
As an example, if you are selling a booking software platform to clients in the health and beauty market, your target decision maker is typically the owner of beauty salons who may or may not be tech-savvy and know little about marketing. As a salesperson, your goal would be to educate them about the product that you’re offering, but it goes beyond that. You’ll also need to teach them about the marketplace in which you work with or your industry.
Jennifer Terrell explains that the perfect profile for that role tends to be charismatic, trustworthy, capable of instantly building rapport with the client, can articulate your offering concisely in an impactful manner, and comfortable with a short sales cycle.
You also need somebody who is able to play the numbers game. Because the number of hair and beauty salons are virtually endless, your potential sales person needs to be comfortable doing several calls over and over again and constantly moving on to the next lead.
Let’s put this in contrast with a salesperson who is selling enterprise software packages. The target audience, in this case, would be much different from the beauty industry — decision makers in this industry are much more tech-savvy and don’t need as much education about their industry or marketplace. They’re mostly looking for a partner and consultant.
Additionally, this industry requires much longer sales cycles. This means the perfect sales rep must have the ability to penetrate large accounts, cut through the red tape, and establish strong and long-lasting relationships.
The Bottom Line — Establish the Right Profile
This profile is much different than the previous sales rep. This means you must be able to figure out what profile your company needs when you set out to build your sales team. The profile should be based on your target market and not necessarily be industry specific.
Jennifer Terrell also states that once you establish this profile, you should not deviate from it. It can be tempting to hire a charismatic salesperson who claims to be able to morph into the profile you need, but that is a big mistake!
Once you have these type of people into your organization, be sure to nurture this profile and grow it. You’ll want to multiply this profile across your sales team for the best results.