The way you organize your sales team and structure their activities plays an integral role in the type of salesperson who will be successful in your firm. To maximize your chance of hiring a great representative, align your company’s organizational structure with its business model, and then hire candidates with the skills to match.
- Industry specialization- Organizing by industry specialization calls for an in-depth knowledge of the industry’s supply chain. A salesperson – perhaps a former manager in the sector – who can discuss ways his products add value to the manufacturing or distribution process presents an indispensable resource to the client. With this type of organization, the salesperson also can leverage sales to one customer to gain entree to others along the value chain – material suppliers, component manufacturers, wholesalers, etc.
Sales strategy may be structured along several specialties;
- Selling activity specialization – While it is easier and less costly to nurture and expand existing accounts, it is only natural that over time some clients will switch to competitors, go out of business, or otherwise no longer have a need of your products. If your most pressing need is for new business development, you should seek to hire sales professionals that are proficient in target identification, qualification, and other “hunting” skills. On the other hand, if your client base is solid, you should aim to hire people adept at the “farming” techniques of nurturing and expanding existing client relationships.
- Product specialization – Your salespeople should possess thorough knowledge of your products’ benefits, features, and uses. This may require specialization in one or a few offerings, even if they are not especially complicated. General Electric sells everything from light bulbs to washing machines to jet engines. It is unreasonable to think one salesperson could be conversant or effective in selling the company’s entire line. When hiring into a product-specialized sales force, look not only for product knowledge, but also an understanding of the problems, threats, and opportunities facing the sectors you’re selling to.
Ann Zaslow- Rethaber is President of International Search Consultants, a leader in Executive Search since 1999. Please reach out to ISC for any and all of your Sales hiring needs. Our team of experienced Sales Recruiters
are highly proficient at identifying and delivering high performing sales professionals to our Clients interview table.
Our Sales Recruiting division focuses on these 4 primary industries: Software Sales; Medical Device; Paints, Chemicals & Coatings; and Food & Beverage.