Experience Vs. Education – Where Is The Sweet Spot?

Experience V EducationThe hiring of effective salespeople can save a sales management team a significant amount of effort due to the amount of time that is spent on coaching their representatives.

A sales management team has to determine the type of role that their representatives will be entering, and identify how important education and experience are for the position.

According to Heather Kivett, president of Resolution Systems, Inc., while education and experience are important for establishing a foundation for beginning a career, finding the right personality is often more important for managers.

“It depends on the particular role, whether it is telesales, in a call center, outside sales, major account enterprise, it can vary,” said the executive. “The roles can range from highly transactional that deal with small purchases but more numbers to a major account that could take 18 months to land a massive payout for the company.”

The management team can develop benchmarks for each role that exists, in order to help representatives achieve certain goals.

Most needed salesperson for managers

A colleague of Kivett wrote the book “Blue Print of a Sales Champion” to help sales management teams identify the best candidates for the largest category of salespeople that are needed. These tend to be the representatives who find new business in a more traditional fashion.

“The most common rep is the proactive, new business development hunter,” said Kivett. “Major account sales is a small group of people compared to your mid-market, regular guy on the street selling products and services within a particluar territory. This individual makes their sales through networking and hand shaking and cold calling. This is the largest group of salespeople that managers need to find.”

This group of “hunters” that people are looking for are the hardest to find, manage and keep. That unique wiring and skill set are tough to find and maintain. The book targets this specific type of perfomer, how to identify this individual and bring them to their full potential, according to the executive.

Identifying these individuals

“The most effective “hunter” salespeople typically need to have a type A personality,” said Kivett. “The trend is a dynamic outgoing aggressive personality type. They have to be highly economically driven and independent. These individuals are utilitarian in the sense that if they invest their time and effort into something it will yield a greater return.”

They want to be out there in the field and set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. These individuals want to call their own shots. They have the ability to read people very well while at the same time maintain an emotional distance.

“Resolution systems measures over 70 cognitive attributes,” Kivett noted. “There is a lot to this, as they have to be able to handle rejection, connect the dots, have a systemic way of thinking and organizing thoughts, posses self belief but not in a narcissitic way and have a constant connection between present self and future self.”

The further you go from this, it is likely the less productivity you are going to get out of the salesperson. Although other things like the type of product or service or the industry can effect the efficiency of that person, it is mostly based on their personality.

“You can’t get this info through a reference check, resume, interview,” said Kivett.

Managers need to have a scientific methodology by which they can objectively acquire this info.

Education is almost irrelevant for these individuals. Just because they have a masters degree doesn’t mean that they have a good work ethic. Smart people can do dumb things.

“A degree doesn’t guarantee success in the world of sales,” said the executive.