The changing sales landscape

In my 50 years of distribution sales and sales management, I have worked with all types of sales reps. By nature, I am a relationship builder. As a Chief Sales Officer, I tended to be most comfortable working with other relationship builders. For me, the time and marketplace favored this model and yielded successful results. The sales landscape is constantly changing, however, and recently, at an accelerated rate. To build a successful sales organization in today’s complex marketplace you need a mixture of sales types. Sales managers need a balanced sales team made up of individuals who can address varied needs.

Which type of rep are you?

In their book, “The Challenger Sale, Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, describe five types of sales reps. Take a minute and see which one best describes you.

  1. The Hard Worker – These “nose to the grindstone” sellers are always willing to go the extra mile. They will make more calls, send more texts and emails, and respond to all RFQs (request for quotes). They are self-motivated. To the hard worker, sales is a numbers game.
  2. The ChallengerChallengers are assertive. They tend to “press” customers as well as their own managers and senior leaders. They look for a deep understanding of the complex issues at hand and will push customers to think outside the box. A challenger can teach a customer how their company can compete more effectively.
  3. The Relationship BuilderThese are natural networkers. They build and nurture strong personal and professional relationships. Relationship builders will advocate across the customer organization and are generous with their time.
  4. The Lone Wolf –These reps are self-confident, don’t like paperwork, and are difficult to control. They are loners but diligent in the pursuit of their goals and tend to be very successful.
  5. The Reactive Problem Solver – Detailed problem solvers fit into this group. Every organization needs them. Reactive problem solvers are more concerned with solutions than sales results, but they keep you out of trouble.

Achieving Balance on Your Sales Team

Each type of sales rep brings a particular strength to a sales organization. In a rapidly changing marketplace, a mixture of talent provides balance and the ability to meet new sales demands. Examine your sales profile to determine how you can make the most effective contribution to your team.

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