Innovative technology businesses marketing software to enterprise organizations will do well to hire sales personnel with specific personality traits that have been shown to be conducive to selling complex solutions. Earlier in this blog we spent sometime discussing one of these personality traits — an ability to facilitate information gathering through conversations with contacts. Here we’d like to expand on this personality profile with two other character traits:
- an ability to research and plan activities thoroughly prior to engaging with prospects
- an aversion for reactive engagement with prospects
Selling Complex Solutions Requires Preliminary Research and Planning
Candidates with extensive educational experience in academic research make good candidates for complex sales jobs. These people understand how to utilize resources like the Internet to locate information about specific sales prospects. As well, these people have experience planning complex presentations — written and oral — that will likely be required throughout an engagement with a prospect. Finally, well educated candidates are generally comfortable with all types of communication and, therefore, can be counted upon to further promising conversations with contacts. We recommend keeping a lookout for candidates with an academic background in the Humanities who also present a strong understanding of computer science.
We worked with one client in the early 1990s who successfully recruited highly valuable personnel from MIT who, interestingly enough, spent most of their academic careers working with theater. These personnel were perfect for our client’s products which, back then, including Remedy’s Action Request System, Autosys, and, later, CheckPoint FireWall 1.
A Tendency to Engage Slowly with Contacts is Preferred
While reactive personality types are highly useful in entrepeneurial environments where decisions have to be made “on the fly,” they are not very useful for selling complex solutions. Of course, stumbling upon a rare person who can combine quick problem solving with a methodical, calculated approach to engaging with prospects should not be passed up. However, in our experience such a combination is very much a “blue rhino” type of find and far from the norm. We think businesses will do better to sacrifice quick problem solving for a tendency to slowly and carefully enter into interpersonal engagement. Complex selling is definitely the type of activity where it is far better to be the last to the party than the first.
If you are staffing your business with sales personnel and require a strong ability with complex sales, we’d like to hear from you. Please telephone Ira Michael “Mike” Blonder at +1 631-673-2929 to further a discussion. You may also email Mike at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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