Tag Archives: Performer

How Has Sales Evolved In The Last Four Years?

Interview with Michael Griego, CEO, MXL Partners

Situation: Sales technique is constantly evolving. Based on research completed by the Sales Executive Council, this evolution has accelerated since 2008. The implications for selecting, training and retaining top sales reps are significant. How has sales evolved in the last four years?

Advice from Michael Griego:

  • A 2009 study by the Sales Executive Council (SEC) – Replicating the New High Performer– studied 6,000 international sales representatives from 90 companies comparing top sales performers with core sales reps across 44 attributes.
    • The study found that Challenger sales reps represented the largest cohort (39%) of the most successful sales reps, followed by Lone Wolf (25%), Hard Worker (17%), Reaction Problem Solver (12%), and Relationship Builder (7%) sales reps.
    • The Challenger sales rep is best suited for a complex sales environment, while the Hard Worker is best for less complex enterprise sales or sales of off-the shelf products.
  • Identify the characteristics required for your sale. In addition, identify the mix of sales people currently on your team – from young, eager people just out of school to seasoned vets who can be realigned to current methodologies.
  • Selection should focus on the prior experience of the candidate. What have they have sold in the past? Ask for details of sales situations. How do they usually open a sales conversation? How did they adjust their sales pitch to different audiences? Were they hunters or farmers? Top talent reps can deftly go both ways.
  • Training involves reinforcing sales fundamentals plus the modern application of provocative consultative selling where salespeople provide true insight and challenge customers well beyond feature/function/benefit selling.
    • SEC study results indicate that if you are involved in a complex sale you need to identify the challenges, acknowledge what is happening in your client’s market and the challenges that they face, quantify the implications, and position potential solutions for exploration; all of this occurs BEFORE you start selling your specific solution.
  • Retaining the best sales reps fundamentally takes good sales management.
    • Pay special attention to top performers, while attending to all your reps and treating them fairly.
    • Challenge them to be better in areas that will enhance their success.
    • Recognition is a great motivator. Make them an internal mentoring resource for the rest of the team.
    • Identify your core (average) players and train them to act like your top players.
    • If you do these things they won’t be attracted to the shiny objects dangled by head hunters.

You can contact Michael Griego at mike@mxlpartners.com.

What Are Best Practices for Selecting Business Development Staff? Four Thoughts

Situation: A company wants to expand its business development staff. What is your experience, and what has worked best for you in selecting among business development candidates?

Advice from the CEOs:

  • Your first priority is your compensation plan for the new person. There are three basic compensation schemes:
    1. High Base/Low Commission
    2. Medium Base/Medium Commission
    3. Low to No Base/High Commission
  • Choice between these options depends on your own philosophy, as well as common practice within your industry. Compensation is central to candidate selection. The CEOs recommend asking candidates about their own preferences for compensation.
    • If they prefer Option 1, don’t hire them – they either lack experience or confidence.
    • They ideally prefer Option 3 – they can make more money, but cost you little unless they perform.
    • If they prefer Option 2, probe. They may be good but face personal obligations that make it difficult to choose the high risk/high reward option. Ask about past compensation and performance. Verify any claims made during the interview.
  • You want to structure sales compensation so that non-performers leave of their own accord – without costing you dearly in time or money.
  • What are the most important traits to seek in a good B.D. candidate?
    1. Understanding of customer’s requirements as well as purchase behavior.
    2. Understanding of your product or service.
  • How do you find candidates?
    • Use a Head Hunter who knows your industry and competitors.
    • Use written tests to evaluate the individual’s traits.
    • Let the recruiter find and screen prospects and present the top 2-3 to you.

Key Words: Business Development, Candidate, Compensation, Experience, Traits, Evaluation, Base, Draw, Commission, Industry Practice, Verification, Performer, Non-Performer, Selection, Head Hunter, Personnel, Recruiter, Test