A company’s sales plan is only as good as the people who execute it. Sales talent acquisition is an on-going problem for business owners. Too many companies have order takers who wait for the customer to call them, rather than professional salespeople who focus on lead generation.
Many business owners are unhappy with all things “sales” – people, plans, managers, volume, outcomes, efforts, lead generation, etc. Talent acquisition is an on-going problem and frustration for them. But, it does not have to be that way. The process of finding good salespeople can be easier if owners know what to look for.
There are non-professional salespeople and professional salespeople. The non-professionals are customer service reps and order takers who have the title of a salesperson. Here is the important take-away
Just because an employee has the title does not mean they are selling, want to sell or knows how to sell.
The dissatisfaction that owners have with sales comes from having order takers rather than professional salespeople. This is not a matter of wordplay. There is a difference in aptitude, attitude, and approach between the two, a difference which directly affects the bottom line. It is a simple formula – talent acquisition of professional salespeople equals lead generation, which means more sales. Let’s look at the characteristics of order takers vs. professional salespeople, the three A’s: Aptitude, Attitude, Approach.
Order Taker – An order taker often takes a sales job because it was available, not because she wanted it. She does not see it as a career or an opportunity to better her circumstances. It is “just a job,” a way to pay the bills. There is no personal buy-in for the products/services or customers, and little pride in her work.
Professional – A professional enjoys the selling process and sees it as is a career rather than a job. He enjoys the challenge and is motivated by the rewards it can provide. He chooses to do it and takes pride in his work. He gives good client service, knows the product and understands the benefits it brings to the customer.
Order Taker – He usually says his job is “okay.” His part in the sales process is passive – the customer gives the order, he puts it in, and they are done. He is irritated by having to deal with customer’s problems or concerns. He believes the paperwork is the job, not selling.
Professional – She likes her career and believes it is her responsibility to take an active role in the selling process. She is engaged with the customer and works with them to identify problems and find solutions.
Order Taker – He spends all day in the office waiting for orders to come in from conventional lead sources (i.e., RFP, incoming call, referral, web request), rather self-generating any. He resists ideas and suggestions for getting more sales, particularly if it requires real selling.
Professional – A salesperson enjoys talking to people, especially customers or prospects. He seeks out opportunities for lead generation (i.e., trade shows, face to face, social media, email, text, newsletters, seminars) with future and existing clients. He is interested in suggestions on how to sell better and smarter.
No wonder a lot of owners are frustrated; they have a sales department in name only. There are no actual salespeople, skilled in lead generation, in it. This is why strategic talent acquisition is so vital. Sales are too important to be in the hands of people who are unwilling or unable to make them. A sales plan is only as good as the people who are supposed to be following it.
At Cogent Analytics, we never stop looking for ways to improve your business and neither should you. So, check out some of our other posts for helpful business information: