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Recruiting employees is difficult, and recruiting sales people is even harder. According to the Manpower Global Talent Shortage Survey it is the fourth most difficult profession in the world to recruit, right next to engineers and technicians. Given the difficulty of finding the right people, it is also important to secure development of existing employees. Three aspects are in our view important to consider when it comes to recruitment and development of salespeople:

model the personality and competence needed for different sales roles

Finding sales people with the right attitudes, qualities, skills and knowledge is crucial. But “right” differs between different sales roles. ProSales has found in previous studies that traditional and complex sales roles require different capabilities. We have also identified that B2B customers’ changing buying habits create additional boundary sales and marketing roles, also with specific capabilities. It is difficult to formulate a general answer to the question what capabilities sellers should have. Instead, every business needs to identify what type of sales they conduct, and carefully define the success profiles that apply to various sales roles.

plan for sales people’s competence development

Given the difficulties in recruiting sales people, it is important to ensure that each sales persons individual capability is continously developed. This ensures that every salesperson stays in their current role, and builds capability for filling more senior positions. Both ways, this helps to reduce the need for new recruitment. With an individual plan for each vendor competence, you can ensure that the right activities are planned, and that they are implemented.

sales training is not the solution

Competence development may both take place on-the-job and through targeted training. The patent solution for sales organizations that do not work, is to invest in sales training. Our studies show that traditional sales training is not the factor that contributes the most to sales effectiveness. Instead, we have found that other forms of training has greater effect on sales effectiveness, for exampel training in the company’s products and services, project management or leadership. The explanation is that most types of B2B deals today are so advanced that understanding of the offer and the ability to coordinate and lead the sales and delivery process becomes much more important than traditional sales methods.