Friday, March 04, 2011

2 Types of Sales Forces

Sales forces come in all sorts. Most are a blend of several of these two types. As with most types, one is not right and the other wrong - rather, they are just alternatives and either can work.

Straight Commission VS Straight Salary

Sales forces can be either. The different approaches attract different personalities. The straight commission people tend to be mavericks. They think they work for themselves (not the company). They tend to not like rules and can be tough to get to follow the rules. Much is about "what is in it for them".

Straight commission organizations need to focus on compensation systems that are simple enough to understand but detailed enough to get the behavior needed.

Straight salary tends to attract company loyalists. People with high security needs. Companies in this category should focus on making sure they actually do offer the stability the candidates seek.

My experience is most companies are a mix of both salary and commission.

Hunters VS Gatherers

Hunters do not mind going to a prospect they have never met. They like cold calling. They are excited by the first wins. They can tire of the "maintenance" required to keep customers long term. They crave the "new". They easily shake off rejection.

Gatherers like to have a long term relationships with customers. They love to service a client. They like customers to welcome them.

Many organizations expect a sales person to be both. One model I have seen work well is to have hunters that make the first few sales then pass the clients to gatherers.

Shooters VS Trainees

One philosophy can be to only hire the most seasoned sales reps who already have a rolodex. Ones with deep experience selling. Success in this category comes from vetting people well before hiring and making sure the hires are good cultural fits for the organization. The risk is higher since the cost is high. Hiring mistakes are expensive.

Another philosophy can be to coach, train and mentor entry level people. Work with them to teach them. Organizations in this category should focus on training and mentoring systems. Success lies in that process.

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I read a short self help book by Takumi Yamazaki called "Shift - 33 Exercises to Make You Who You Want to be".

I have read so many self help books (figure I needed them) that I had seen many of the exercises (or variations of them).

Some of my favourite reminders included self talk like:

"It's not like me to..." rather than "I am always..."

Rather than say "I can't find time to do ..." Say "I don't want to find time to do ..." This drives home that how you spend you time is actually your choice.

And there was a chapter on Perseverance. "maintain a purpose in spite of difficulty, obstacles or discouragement" Mirriam-Webster


Like any "exercises" book - it would work best if you actually did the exercises.

Good book. One of the best collections of self help exercises I have come across.

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