Increasingly, models of highly successful enterprise software sales talent are diverging from the traditional stereotypical sales person. Yesterday’s emphasis sales people with thick skins, who can take over a crowd, dripping high energy and the like is long gone. Now, the highly desirable personality type is a modern version of the personality included in M.C. Escher’s “Hand with Reflecting Sphere”, a studious type who is “all ears”, ever attentive to prospects, self critical and self motivating, with a memory to match. This personality type operates in a pronounced methodical and subdued manner. Finally, the best examples of this personality type are entirely well adjusted individuals who have overcome most of their neuroses; they can be trusted to correctly field outburst from prospects and customers without messy unconscious reactions getting in the way of progressing the deal.
It does not take much consideration to realize that good candidates for a career in enterprise software sales will be few and very hard to come by. Nevertheless, given the temper of our times we think that our brief description of the personality type rings true. Enterprise software sales has become highly complex and fragile. Assertive personalities (the traditional stereotype) that border on aggressive have a very difficult time succeeding in this marketplace. The early stages of enterprise sales opportunities are characterized by sales personnel make lots of effort to play the role of facilitator with prospects, to create venues and conversations that will afford prospects an opportunity to freely offer credible information. Of course, sales personnel must exercise some leadership through these early opportunities to engage with prospects, but the specific type of leadership required is, once again, very much the leadership demonstrated by facilitators (even therapists) who collect lots of information while strictly refraining from presenting products, solutions, etc.
We think it is incumbent for management at early stage businesses selling enterprise software to burn this personality type into memory and to hire appropriately. Certainly there are talented individuals who may demonstrate an understanding of the importance of these features, but fall short of a display of the precise personality combination who can succeed at this game, but they will need to be coached along for some period of time prior to producing meaningful results.
If you find our position on this point to be plausible and care to speak directly with us about your interest, please do let us know. Please contact Ira Michael Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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