Playing to Your Sales Strengths
03.22.10 | Job Search & Career | Amanda Musto, Marketing Manager at Treeline Incorporated
Treeline, Inc. specializes in bringing together top sales talent to meet the needs of businesses. They understand the business goals of their clients and help them to compose sales teams that help them meet their organizational needs.
Different business goals require different candidate characteristics. If a business is focusing on increasing renewals to their services - they may wish to focus on hiring more sales "farmers" - sales teams that will naturally want to service an account for long-term account loyalty.
At times, when interviewing sales candidates, Treeline can "feel" a disconnect between how the candidate is "selling themselves" and their natural characteristics who they "really are".
As a sales candidate it's important to know yourself. What are your best characteristics? What are your strengths? What is an ideal environment to show off those strengths? When you posture and pretend, Treeline can tell and potential employers can tell.
- Do you prefer a strategic sale or an activity-driven sale?
- Do you" live" to uncover and seize new opportunities or are you better suited to cultivate and develop loyalty within an existing client base?
- Do you prefer selling in person or behind the scenes?
- Do you prefer selling with a team quota or as an individual performer?
- Do you prefer selling "direct" and to the end user customer or to a "channel" in an indirect model?
Target Teams has spent close to a decade learning to know businesses and their needs for a variety of sales candidates that help them accomplish their strategy. Of the variety of sales professionals, our extensive research has resulted in the following common traits of Sales Hunters and Sales Farmers.
Both are critical for business success. Be honest. Which one "fits" you more closely?
Extraordinary Sales "Farmer"
- Farmers tend to prefer a more team collaborative approach. The collaborative sales person wants to get a full picture of an opportunity prior to attacking it.
- Farmers like and are good at getting directives on priorities. Farmers enjoy collaboration and input from a manager, other team members or their client teams.
- Farmers prefer working on a few, longer-term, key projects. They excel at greater patience with the time it takes for some leads to close. They are comfortable working with situations that require nurturing.
- Farmers may excel at being more patient when it comes to deals that may have longer sales cycles.
- Farmers work well with more predictability in their accounts and their goals. They excel at creating bridges to help customers embrace change. Farmers have a longer-range approach.
- Farmers want to be paid well for their performance but they may enjoy more of a team quota, team approach or overlay position.
- They may recognize and appreciate the greater benefits provided by an organization and may be less focused exclusively on a financial compensation plan.
- Farmers enjoy understanding the needs of the customer and work to help them achieve their goals. These characteristics help the farmer create long-term, extremely loyal client relationships that extend into the future.
- Farmers love to help and support others. They enjoy taking the time to support clients and prospects even if pieces of that support do not directly impact their own personal sale - they see this as a long-term investment of time and resources.
- Farmers may sometimes be a little offended at the lengths the sales hunter needs to go to achieve their own goals. They may sometimes feel as if the sales hunter is a little selfish.
- Sales farmers may sometimes prefer selling using an indirect or "channel model".
Extraordinary Sales "Hunter"
- Hunters like to solve problems on their own and on the fly. The autonomous sales hunter wants to close deals with little outside collaboration.
- Hunters like to lead (by themselves) whatever projects are on their plates. They will successfully direct, lead and execute sales initiatives.
- They will want to direct a team of people to help them achieve their own goals.
- Hunters like working on a lot of different projects at the same time. They can tend to be more comfortable working on a greater volume of leads, territories and clients.
- Hunters have a very strong sense of urgency in everything they do. They want sales to close quickly (no prodding required from their management team to move more quickly).
- Hunters thirst for change. They immediately adapt to change whether it's ushered in by internal or external forces. They are spontaneous and don't mind if priorities shift as long as it benefits them in the end.
- Hunters want to be paid well financially for their individual, high performance. They would prefer to have their own quota and not a team quota or an overlay position.
- Hunters are naturally very competitive and politically savvy. They are superb at recognizing power players inside of an organization and winning them over in the pursuit of their career as well as closing the deal.
- Hunters love the game of competition.
- Hunters tend to focus on achieving their own goals.
- Hunters are systematic problem solvers. They are curious and ask questions making them an ideal consultative sales person.
- Hunters are thirsty to learn information. This information helps them as they sell - they are consultative sales professionals.
- Sales hunters are highly useful to colleagues, prospects and clients in breaking down and explaining complex topics and ensuring that the team and client has the information to either succeed in their job and/or make an informed purchasing decision.
- Sales hunters may sometimes feel as if the sales farmer gives too much away or over services the client.
To a large extent, you are who you are. During an interview, prospective employers can "see" you. When your resume paints you as someone "different" than what you present in person it causes confusion and they don't know which one is the real "you". Potential employers want clarity, safety and confidence.
We suggest you fully embrace who you are. Market yourself to your greatest advantage. Highlight your natural sales strengths. Play to your strengths - be proud of them. Write your resume to show off who you really are. Take away anything that may be confusing.
It might be useful to complete a quick online assessment to validate some personal characteristics about yourself.
Target Teams is providing a special $95 assessment for sales professionals. This personalized sales assessment will provide you with the following types of information:
- Clarify your resume
- Communicate more effectively in an interview
- Gain insight about your selling style
- Understand more about your approach to networking
- Hit the ground running in your new role
- Identify a business culture that rewards what is important to you.
- Learn about your selling and management style, to help you manage sales teams more effectively, build more effective sales teams in your next leadership role.
- Learn why you may prefer an individual performer sales role instead of a more sales leader sales operations role (or vice versa).
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to order your own assessment and validate personal characteristics to help you "sell yourself more effectively in your interview and in your new role.