Author Archives: Sarah Conlon

Going online: Is there still a need for physical salespeople?

Every day, it feels like more of our world moves online. In a very weird 2020, it seems this is more pronounced than ever, and people are questioning whether we’ll ever go back to the old ‘norm’.

For salespeople, it has been a strange change to our lives. Pitching via video has become the norm, as have video interviews in recruitment, as we move to less face-to-face and more face-to-screen.

I’ve heard it before and, given the changes this year, it’s raised its head again; people questioning the future of the sales profession in an online everything world.

Will we need a sales role into the future? Or are we destined to be replaced by a virtual AI, data-driven computer sales ‘person’? My answer is…sales people are needed more than ever!

People like dealing with people

How often do we hear people bemoaning the loss of being able to speak to a ‘real’ person? In customer service, it happens all the time and has been a source of pain for the profession in the past. In my opinion, it’s no different for salespeople.

I’m a passionate believer in the rule that ‘people buy from people they like’. The ability for a great salesperson to build a strong relationship with their client, built on mutual respect and trust, is still one of the core tenets of business. Sure the role has changed, but the fundamentals remain the same.

Will the human race ever deal people out of the equation? I don’t think so. Sure, some roles will change but, ultimately, working with another human being is so much more satisfying than interacting with AI. I believe we will always have sales roles as a part of the process, we’ll just be armed with more data about our clients than ever before.

It’s just a change to the role

The best sales people are already utilising technology to better complete their role. We all use social media now as a standard business practice, and that’s just one example. Granted, there are plenty of salespeople that could up their social media game and not just use it as a ‘fire at will’ blast that annoys your clients more than it helps them, but that will continue to evolve and change for the better in my view.

Savvy sales professionals see data and technology as their friends in the sales battle. The more armed you are with data, the better. Our role has already adapted through the Internet age, as clients needed less product information from us – Google makes that easy to find. Instead, salespeople became more of a guide through the process of optimising the sale, helping clients make the right choices around their options on a product or service.

A great sales person is a game changer

Ultimately, businesses and clients alike value a great salesperson. It’s why my role in finding the best talent is so rewarding; we can literally change a company’s performance by helping them build a modern, high performing team.

So, are salespeople on the way out? Hell no! It’s never been a better time to be in sales and I think the profession is set for a strong 2021 as businesses rebound and we start to focus back on the future.

What are your thoughts? I’m keen to hear what you think. Email me at sarah@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.

Struggling to hire the right sales people? Here are three tips to turn it around!

Selling is often described as a bit of a dark art. You’ll hear people throw around terms like “some people can just sell”, and ‘gun’ salespeople do have a certain mystique to them.

While there’s plenty of debate on what makes a good salesperson (we can debate that in another post at another time!), one thing I have noticed that is often raised with me is the that companies struggle to hire the ‘right’ sales people. For me that’s a very different conversation than good vs. bad.

The right salesperson is simply one that works for you and your business. Sounds simplistic and at face level it is, but there is an art to finding the right person to fit the right role. So here are my top three reasons why you might be hiring the wrong sales people…and my tips to avoid it!

Don’t go off the CV alone

First off, we all know the starting point in the hiring process is selecting the right candidates and it’s here where I often see businesses start off on the wrong foot.

For a sales role, the CV is only one input. The challenge for hiring managers is that they often have preconceived ideas of what they want and if the CV doesn’t fit those preconceptions, it’s out. This is why I believe the issue businesses face is not lacking enough good candidates, it’s more that they bin good ones without ever meeting them!

For example, don’t just look at experience and time in your industry. Experience doesn’t always equal skill and success. Nor does miles on the clock in a certain industry. Sometimes looking outside the square at someone from a related industry, or even someone completely left field will actually be a good option. They’ll be fresh, have no preconceived ideas about the industry and its dynamics, and will be more willing to prove themselves.

Really understand the type of salesperson you’re after

Which brings me to my second point. Point one often happens because a business is looking for a ‘gun’ salesperson and is under pressure to find them. What they haven’t done is really work out what type of salesperson fits their clients and their business.

What type of person suits your business? For example, we know the sales profession is heavily based on relationships, but do you need some one who is a relationship builder alone? Or is the role more suited to an aggressive challenger style of sales rep? Selling to an IT person requires a different skills set than selling to say a HR role, as an example.

You really need to understand what suits your business first. It can be a tough question to answer and it’s why having an expert help you to make those calls can be really beneficial.

Arm them with knowledge early

Once into the recruitment process, my number one tip is don’t just expect them to understand your business. Sure, brushing up on their knowledge of your organisation is a core interview skill in any occupation, but sometimes a little background on your business and the type of person/skill set you want can help qualify candidates in or out. It also helps them give you a better understanding of whether they can work with you or not.

So don’t be afraid to share info upfront. Just letting them come into the interview cold isn’t always the best approach. Changing your thinking can also help you improve the hiring process.

What are your thoughts? I’m keen to hear what you think. DM me here or email me at sarah@projectprofessionalservices.com.au.