White Paper Series: Sales & Hiring Best Practices
The First Step to Sales Success
“Today’s complex sales environment requires sales leaders to focus more closely on the act of selling rather than the end result.
But first you must define sales productivity as something more than the measurement of revenue – this requires you to have a clear
understanding of what it takes for your sales professionals to identify, execute and close an opportunity.”
Measuring Success – An After Thought, SiriusDecisions, www.siriusdecisions.com
Sales Dynamic Variable Higher % Prospecting Lower % Prospecting
Missionary Sales X
Transactional Sales (lower average sales price) X
New Customer Sales Focus (“Hunter”) X
Mature, Established Market Sales X
Existing Customer Sales Focus (“Farmer”) X
Enterprise Sales (higher average selling price) X
Personality, temperament, philosophy, etc.,
that fits the corporate culture, management
style, and team dynamics.
The behavioral attributes (motivations, The resume, job history, education,
drives and skills) required to training & credentialing that leads
“get the job done.” In short, talent. to faster productivity.
The Effect of Other Traits
! Behavioral traits do not operate in a vacuum. Different traits interact, influence and affect others. While we
! are focused on Prospector it’s important to note that other traits may support or assist the rep in their
prospecting activities and may also affect their work style or approach. For instance, Proactivity, Discerner
! and Assertor, may also play a role in how a sales rep builds their pipeline. The definition of the Prospector
! trait assumes a degree of organization and discipline that may not be outwardly apparent. It’s plausible that
! a sales rep can be a very effective prospector and yet appear very unorganized. Many sales reps possess
a high-degree of intuition and may be able to effectively organize a territory and size-up opportunities
! without meticulously following a process. This less systematic approach may still produce the desired
! results but it may run afoul of the management or company culture and therefore be unacceptable. On the
! other hand, some candidates may be strict adherents to a system but their approach maybe too mechanical
and lacking in the intuitive feel that could reveal opportunities that may not be evident just by methodically
! following a process and checking the boxes. Perhaps a blend of both styles represents the ideal but either
! way it reinforces the need to understand your environment and expectations and to gear your interviewing
! process to identifying the desired attributes.
DESCRIBE HOW YOU GENERATE LEADS. HOW DO YOU PRIORITIZE AND FOLLOW UP ON LEADS
+ Demonstrates a well thought out and thorough approach to generating and prioritizing leads. Has a variety of criteria
used in qualifying or disqualifying opportunities.
-/? Doesn’t give evidence of having a well thought out and analytical approach to generating and sorting leads. General or
scattered in approach to generating new leads.
TELL ME HOW YOU QUALIFY PROSPECTS? WHAT KEY AREAS DO YOU INQUIRE ABOUT OR DIG INTO? CAN YOU GIVE
ME A RECENT EXAMPLE OR TWO?
+ Has specific information they seek to identify in the qualification process and is able to give a specific example(s) dem-
onstrating their ability to do so.
-/? Doesn’t appear to have a structured approach to account qualification or gives general criteria and no example.
WHAT FACTORS WOULD YOU CONSIDER IN QUALIFYING A POTENTIAL CUSTOMER?
+ Response indicates looking at customer's need, budget, timeframes, driving mechanisms, and/or how the product will
solve a problem they have. Researching and finding that similar companies use their products.
-/? Gives a general or unspecific criteria, i.e., "I look to see if they are currently evaluating any solutions.
SOME PEOPLE FEEL THAT IT’S MARKETING’S JOB TO FIND WAYS TO FIND NEW OPPORTUNITIES OTHERS FEEL IT MAY
BE THE JOB OF PRODUCT MANAGEMENT OR DEVELOPMENT TO PROVIDE NEW AND COMPELLING PRODUCTS AND
FEATURES. WHO DO YOU FEEL IS RESPONSIBLE FOR FINDING NEW OPPORTUNITIES? WHY DO YOU SAY THAT?
+ Takes ownership. May still talk about the importance of other departments and their respective roles but sees them-
selves as responsible and takes the initiative for account penetration showing a desire to control their own destiny.
-/? States that they believe that someone, other than themselves, should assume primary (or sole) ownership for account
penetration whether it’s marketing, product management/marketing, development, etc.
IN DETERMINING A PROSPECT'S NEED FOR NEW OR ADDITIONAL PRODUCTS WOULD YOU WANT TO HAVE A SET OF
SPECIFIC QUESTIONS TO ASK OR WOULD YOU TRY TO GET THE CUSTOMER TO TALK IN GENERAL TERMS ABOUT
THEIR NEEDS? WHY IS THAT?
+ Favors process over winging it. Indicates they use a specific set of questions or outline to uncover a prospect's needs
and their ability to use new or additional products.
-/? Indicates no directed technique to get at needs, wants, usability, etc. or provides a general response, i.e., "Just know-
ing my customer allows me to know what’s going on” but doesn’t offer elaboration.
TELL ME ABOUT A LEAD YOU DISCOVERED WHILE PARTICIPATING IN A BUSINESS EVENT (TRADE SHOW, USER CON-
FERENCE, ETC.) OR FROM A CONVERSATION THAT DEVELOPED WITH SOMEONE YOU HAD JUST MET. WHAT ACTION
DID YOU TAKE ON THE LEAD AND WHAT BUSINESS DID IT GENERATE?
+ Gives an example that clearly demonstrates attentiveness to opportunities and follow through by listening and eliciting
helpful information. Ask about similar examples that may suggest this candidate commonly uses such techniques to find
-/? Is unable to provide a suitable example. Cannot cite examples where being alert to opportunities has produced results.!