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Sales Training: Challenging Salesperson

Category: Sales Training  |  Permalink

Published: Friday, October 14, 2011

Sales Training Insight: Effective Salespeople Aren't Afraid to Challenge Customers (Part One)

Published by the Harvard Business Review (HBR Blog Network), Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson

Ask any sales leader how selling has changed in the past decade, and you'll hear a lot of answers but only one recurring theme: It's a lot harder. Yet even in these difficult times, every sales organization has a few stellar performers. Who are these people? How can we bottle their magic?

To understand what sets apart this special group of sales reps, the Sales Executive Council launched a global study of sales rep productivity three years ago involving more than 6,000 reps across nearly 100 companies in multiple industries.

We now have an answer, which we've captured in the following three insights:

1. Every sales professional falls into one of five distinct profiles.

Quantitatively speaking, just about every B2B sales rep in the world is one of the following types, characterized by a specific set of skills and behaviors that defines the rep's primary mode of interacting with customers:

  • Relationship Builders focus on developing strong personal and professional relationships and advocates across the customer organization. They are generous with their time, strive to meet customers' every need, and work hard to resolve tensions in the commercial relationship.
  • Hard Workers show up early, stay late, and always go the extra mile. They'll make more calls in an hour and conduct more visits in a week than just about anyone else on the team.
  • Lone Wolves are the deeply self-confident, the rule-breaking cowboys of the sales force who do things their way or not at all.
  • Reactive Problem Solvers are, from the customers' standpoint, highly reliable and detail-oriented. They focus on post-sales follow-up, ensuring that service issues related to implementation and execution are addressed quickly and thoroughly.
  • Challengers use their deep understanding of their customers' business to push their thinking and take control of the sales conversation. They're not afraid to share even potentially controversial views and are assertive - with both their customers and bosses.

2. Challengers dramatically outperform the other profiles, particularly Relationship Builders.

When we look at average reps, we find a fairly even distribution across all five of these profiles. But while there may be five ways to be average, there's only one way to be a star. We found that Challenger reps dominate the high-performer population, making up close to 40% of star reps in our study.

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What makes the Challenger approach different? The data tell us that these reps are defined by three key capabilities...

Stay tuned for the continuation of this post on Monday!

Posted by: Dean
Tuesday, January 17, 2012 @ 1:59:13 PM

Nice layout of personalities. Being on a sales team can be fun in the right environment. What I like about sales is you will usually find the most positive outgoing people in that profession. To improve sales skills and to be up on the latest techniques check out the University of San Francisco's <a href="http://www.usanfranonline.com/sales-management-training">sales management training</a> curriculum.


Posted by: seoexpertsacademyreview
Monday, October 17, 2011 @ 9:33:42 PM

Wonderful tips from the experts! good article.

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