This is a Guest Blog Post by Nicolas Woirhaye
I just came through a fantastic study conducted by Corporate Executive Board. They interviewed 6’000 sales reps to find out the most effective sales profiles.
The study concludes that there are 5 typical profiles of sales people:
- The Hard Workers: early at the office until late in the evening, placing more calls and making more meetings.
- The Lone Wolves: they have a lot of self-confidence and do things their own way without bothering about processes, CRM, training.
- The Reactive Problem Solvers: they are at the disposal of clients, digging in details and solving any issue/request that can arise. They are highly involved in post-sales follow-up.
- The Relationship Builders: they develop strong personal and professional relationships across the client organization. They multiply points of contacts at all levels of the hierarchy to ensure that the deal is secure.
- The Challengers : they are the ones with deep understanding of the industry challenges and competitors of their prospects. They challenge the thinking of their clients, even using controversial and pushy views. They play the same game internally with their CSO.
While most sales trainers usually focus on the value of relationship between the sales rep and the client, the study highlights that the most effective profile is the Challenger. By far. All five profiles are distributed evenly across the 6’000 sales reps studied (20% each). 40% of the sales rock stars (most performing) belong to the Challenger style. The second most effective profile is the Relationship Builder.
What makes Challengers so effective?
Challengers keep level of contacts high: not spending time down the hierarchy, coming back with new and different things to top decision makers. They both have sales intelligence plus their brain to show their industry knowledge and personal views to top executives.
Challengers keep the perceptions wide: at time goes by, the client only recalls a part of your offerings, and one day can see one of your competitor because he doesn’t know you were capable of responding to this sideway need. Challengers constantly enlarge the client’s perception of their capabilities.
Challengers make client want to talk to them first: If you constantly come to the customer with new ideas, you are the person the customer wants to talk to first. And whoever the client talks to first has a disproportionate impact on who wins the deal at the end.
The study underlines the great driver of building strong relationships in sales but also shows that the next step in efficiency is to leverage your knowledge of the client challenges to develop your advisor/consultant DNA to close large deals.
One final tip I loved from this research:
About the Author
Nicolas Woirhaye is co-founder of IKO System