Is it possible to hire a good salesperson?

Well, if You want my short answer based on my 12 years in IT Consulting sales I would answer:

– in B2B sales of IT Consulting Services, NO.

No, I believe it is not possible to go to the labor market (1) and hire a sales person (2) who could sell Your IT Consulting service to other companies (3).

– But IT Consulting companies do that all the time! – You could say

– No, again. IT Consulting companies do not do it, and specially not all time. What they do is only the first two steps:

  1. They go to the labor market.
  2. They hire a so called sales person (usually based on his/her CV)
  3. But that person is definitely not able to sell IT Consulting services to other companies.

Usually what happens is that the hired person inherits some warm leads and some accounts from the sales before him and he does what anybody from the labor market could do with some experience: performs a senior sales assistance. Which is enough to even close a deal in some cases, but it is not more then following a process. Yes, this is the maximum You could employ an IT Consulting Sales for: to be a Senior Sales Assistant.

Good news for the newly employed sales personnel that most of the managements could not tell the difference between a Sales Representative and a Senior Sales Assistant! 🙂 (It is sometimes even true about the multinational management environment. Not because they are not smart, but in most of the cases customers come to multinational companies for other reasons than good sales activities. Such other reasons could be: monopoly, bribery, marketing monopoly etc. so all they really need is senior sales assistance they just don’t call it on its name.)

But if the employment happens at a Small or Medium IT Consulting Company where sales results are expected and crucial then the newly employed sales person (and You who hire him) have got a problem.

Why?

The issue goes back to the customer. Specially to the customer profile. Companies rarely have precise target profile about their typical customer, more over about their typical decision-maker at customer.

But if they do it is very easy to see the problem:

The typical decision – maker at an IT-consulting-service customer is the managing director or even somebody higher then the MD! Try to imagine the director and Your sales person talking about high added-value services that would cost him a lot and would have a major impact on his whole organisation.

Is it possible that the target makes a decision persuaded by Your sales person? It just won’t happen. Unless Your sales guy is a decision-maker himself. Decision makers only negotiate (I don’t mean talk but really negotiate) with other decision makers.

If You read this much of my post, then You are likely to be a decision maker. Could You imagine Yourself making an important decision about a huge investment without talking to the real Decision Maker from the other side? It just won’t happen.

We are not talking about a supplier of copy-paper or selecting a restaurant for the Christmas-party. We are talking about a software implementation or a methodology implementation. Something that would fundamentally effect the customers company for the future. And if a decision maker will only make a decision after meeting the decision maker from the provider’s side then everybody else involved in the process before that point is an assistant of the process.

– So are we talking about terminology?

– Does it really matter how we call our sales people?

– No, not really. What is written on a business card could be a useful intangible but nothing crucial.

What really matters is what You expect from them. So this post is about Your expectation management meaning managing Your expectations regarding hiring sales people. Probably You think You need a good sales person to sell Your service but I think this is something You cannot get. At least not this way. All You can get from the labor market – IF You have the right sales-methodology implemented – is a senior sales assistant who could follow or even manage processes till the point where YOU need to step in to CLOSE THE DEAL.

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