Not every sales professional is well-suited for every sales role. Hiring managers and employers must keep this in mind while hiring, and also when determining the appropriate compensation structure.
To get the best performance and retention, you must select the right type of salesperson for the specific sales role, and set compensation accordingly.
The three main categories of sales positions are:
Naturally, there is a great degree of overlap; a specific sales position may be somewhere in between competitive and relationship sales, for example.
The Sales Professional Continuum is a helpful way to conceptualize the differences between salespeople and sales roles. It is a continuum because, as discussed above, many sales roles don’t fall completely into one category or another.
As you can see, competitive sales and relationship sales are linked in the continuum, demonstrating the potential nuances of sales positions between the two types; however, service is at the other end after a break.
From our research, we have discovered that the people best suited for service roles – those who are likely to perform well and stay in the job – are very different from those suited for sales roles (whether competitive or relationship). The skills needed for a service role are dissimilar as well, requiring someone who can help clients and fix issues rather than sell. We have found that attempting to transition someone suited for a service role to a sales role – even a relationship sales role – is not effective.
While in reality we see a continuum between competitive and relationship sales, it is valuable to examine each as a distinctive type. From this analysis, we can better understand what makes a successful sales professional in each type of role, which allows us to select salespeople effectively and compensate them in the way that motivates them most.
Our 35+ years of historical data and predictive analytics allows us to accurately pinpoint the characteristics of successful competitive and relationship salespeople. We also have research which establishes the ideal compensation structure for both.
As we discussed in detail in a previous post, the top three characteristics of successful competitive salespeople are:
With these characteristics, competitive salespeople are proactive, high energy, and very independent. In some cases, they may be willing to sacrifice the relationship with the client in order to close the sale.
These people are attracted to, and thrive in, a compensation structure that does not include a base salary.
Click here to see the research showing that a base salary does not outperform pure commission when attracting and retaining top performing competitive salespeople.
People suited for relationship sales roles have similar characteristics to those suited for competitive sales – after all, they are both salespeople. Relationship salespeople differ in small degrees from competitive salespeople, as they have more of a focus on the ‘people’ or ‘client’ side of the sales process.
The nuances for each of the three characteristics are as follows:
Relationship salespeople should not be quite as strong in self management as their competitive counterparts, as they generally have prospects coming to them rather than having to seek them out.
In fact, our data shows that it can be difficult to retain a salesperson in a relationship sales role who is too high on self management. They will want to generate prospects and move prospects along faster than the relationship allows.
While competitive salespeople are motivated primarily by money/challenge, relationship salespeople are motivated primarily by people service/recognition. This usually manifests in a warm personality and a stronger focus on nurturing the relationship with the prospect or client.
Their job is to build a relationship and develop trust with the prospect. They do not focus as heavily on closing and will never sacrifice their relationship with the prospect for the sake of a sale. When they build an ongoing relationship with clients, they earn the right to cross-sell, upsell, and keep the customer coming back.
Relationship salespeople tend to be slightly less independent than competitive salespeople, which makes them more comfortable in the types of structured environments where the customers come to them.
The best relationship sales people often add a bit of their own prospecting and front-end generation of traffic to this mix, moving a small degree toward “competitive sales” on the continuum.
These people are typically best compensated with a base pay supplemented by a bonus or commission override. Relationship salespeople are more risk averse than competitive salespeople, and are therefore not as attracted to or comfortable in roles with a commission-only salary.
To achieve the best performance and retention from your sales professionals, you must first understand where along the continuum the role falls (fully competitive selling, somewhere in the middle, fully relationship selling?) and select the candidate with the most suitable attributes, characteristics, and fit with your company.
SMG has over 35 years of data and research on the characteristics of top performers, particularly in sales roles. Our popular POP™ profile is designed specifically to select successful sales candidates. Contact us to learn more.
Download a sample POP™ profile.
Publish Date: February 12, 2016 5:00 AM
|1.)||Call Center Studio|
Call Center Studio
Call Center Studio is the world’s first call center built on Google and is one of the most secure and stable systems with some of the industry’s best reporting. It is one of the most full-featured enterprise grade systems (with the most calling features, one of the best call distribution, outbound dialing features and integrations—including IVR, AI Speech Recognition, blended inbound/outbound calling and includes Google’s new Dialogflow and Speech API. Call Center Studio is the absolute easiest to use (with a 10 minute setup), and is the price performance leader with lower equipment cost and less setup time.
PH: +1 512-872-7565
Microsoft Teams Cloud Recording Service
Geomant offers a fully managed recording service for those organisations who need to address compliance or quality management while working on Teams. The Service utilises Verint’s market leading recording technology and is hosted by Geomant in Microsoft Azure. Our managed service approach is unique in that it allows organisations to benefit from advanced recording features, all while being free from any technical infrastructure or maintenance requirements that come with a traditional on-premises set up.
PH: 01789 387900
|3.)||Lieber & Associates|
Recording System Consulting
L&A provides vendor-independent consulting services to select, contract for, test, and implement contact center recording systems. The firm's consultants specialize in contact center I.T. and have several decades of experience each with all major and many smaller makers of phone and call recording systems.
Oreka TR total recorder includes all of the call recording capabilities you will need, at about half the cost of competing for call recorder solutions, including screen recording, mobile phone recording, live monitoring, on-demand recording, multi-tenancy, multi-site recording, audit trail, call exporting, retention management, auto-tagging (for speech analytics and phrase spotting) and so much more.
|Positive People = Positive Performance||August 16, 2016 5:00 AM|
|Succession: Who Is the Best Match for Your Business?||May 10, 2016 5:00 AM|
|5 Simple Steps to Effective Talent Sourcing||March 8, 2016 5:00 AM|
|The Art and Science of Selecting Sales Professionals (HBR Has It Wrong!)||February 24, 2016 5:00 AM|
|Selecting Salespeople: How to Select and Set Compensation to the Specific Sales Position||February 12, 2016 5:00 AM|
|How A+ Leaders Leverage Their Top Four Strengths||January 8, 2016 5:00 AM|
|Did You Just Lose a Great Salesperson and Gain a Bad Sales Manager?||November 12, 2015 5:00 AM|
|30 Questions Suggesting It’s Time for an Employee Survey||October 26, 2015 5:00 AM|
|Dr. Richard Earle Brings Expertise on Stress and Capacity-for-Change to SMG||October 9, 2015 5:00 AM|