The majority of all B2B Sales start with a meeting. In person, phone or virtual. And most of the time nothing happens until the meeting is set. So, should sales teams be divided into specific areas. I believe so when possible. Here are areas I’ve identified.
Business Development…the hunter. The person who can make an initial meeting happen. This person has no problem cold calling and prospecting. Without this person the sales process never gets started. They form the relationship and obtain the 1st meetings before hand-off. They usually know enough about the product or service to be dangerous. They view no matter how technical the product or service is…they can open the door. They learn more and more as times passes and improve. They can turn a suspect into a qualified prospect. Giving the sale a starting point. They enjoy networking, collaboration and social settings. They can approach anyone and strike up a conversation. To them setting a meeting is a sales process all on its own. Their job is to sell the meeting. They have an Entrepreneurial spirit.
Technical Expert…this is the Subject Matter Expert (SME). The person who knows the product or service inside out. They may have a technical degree in a field. Either way this person can demonstrate the technical aspects of the products and services. They can talk with the best and answer any questions about the prospect may have. This person is usually brought in to preform an assessment or in-depth customer analysis and can design a turn key solution. They may also possess the skills to install necessary equipment, software or training, etc. They are very proud of their work upon completion. They would rather discuss data and specs over cold calling for a meeting anytime.
Closer…this person can handle objections, discuss pricing, finalize the proposal, terms and conditions. They work with the prospect towards a win, win final solution. They usually like to get right to the point and enjoy the negotiation process. They can also have technical skills but usually don’t like cold calling or prospecting. They work well with The Business Development and Technical Advisor (SME) for the final solution. To them… this is how it should be done. I don’t have time for cold calling mentality. Hand me the lead and I’ll close the deal. They also possess customer skills, can read prospects a mile away and have a firm handshake.
In some cases, 1 person is doing it all the work. Business Development, Technical, Closer and Service or Install. A unique individual indeed. Usually titled as an Account Executive or Account Manager. This person usually prefers not to waste time cold calling and prospecting but loves the sale. Most do not like paperwork or to be monitored by activity, but they understand the necessary evil. They also have a closer mentality and excellent customers skills. At the end of they day they would also rather close deals Vs pick up the phone or cold call suspects to get a meeting. Many times, they are bogged down by the need to keep the sales funnel full, managing accounts, closing deals and following up on service related problems. They have a very tough job.
Each one plays a vital role for business every day. It’s important for all individuals to have sales skills. We’re always selling no matter what we think. However, dividing up the roles can solve many problems. As I have identified in the various roles its usually the AE or Account Executive that is tasked with completing the entire sales process and usually get bogged down managing everything.
If they are short on quota they are usually put on a performance improvement plan. Vs identify their weaknesses and strengths. They are usually asked to pick it up and do more sales prospecting. This is where someone who really enjoys prospecting can help. and vice versa.
They may have a great record of closing deals but fall short on adding new leads. And the same goes true for the opposite. Someone may have excellent prospecting skills but don’t want to be bogged down with paperwork, keeping track of closing deals and service issues. When this is the case I’d suggest separating the roles if possible. I realize small business and startups; the founder or owner are doing all the work. They try to prospect, close deals and are the technical person. Not to mention the bookkeeper and human resources.
It would be a better use of time to hire or outsource the Lead Generation or Business Development in this case. There are many online studies on the cost of lead generation Vs direct hire or the use of time as an owner operator. Seek a professional or organization that have the reputation and testimonials to show they are successful. Outsourcing can be a life saver for many organizations. Short Term, Long term, Special Projects, Product Launch or the need for a quick staff change.
For references on outsourcing feel free to reach out. Happy Selling.