Sales Coaching and the Challenges of Different Types of Salespeople

1
273 views

Share on LinkedIn

When (other) articles and Blogs contain sales statistics, they are often made up.  For example, Andy Rudin wrote this article about made up sales statistics and I recently read this article by Stewart Rogers about made up statistics.  Infographics and videos are two more sources of statistics that are often based more on fiction than fact, yet they still have value, even if the numbers aren’t correct.  Here’s a new infographic which has useful information, even if the purpose is to promote Fatstax.  Recently a reader directed me to a video on the Harvard Business Review site.  They rarely have accurate, relevant sales-specific information there so I clicked over with great anticipation.I watched the video on 8 types of salespeople and while I don’t agree with there being 8 types, their statistics were fairly consistent with the science and data from Objective Management Group (OMG) which states that there is an elite 6%, 20% that are strong, and everyone else – the bottom 74% – who basically suck.

If you are a fan of the Challenger Sale, the Challenger is one of 5 types of salespeople according to its authors.  In OMG language, the Challenger is one of the elite 6%, with a Sales Quotient of 140 (SQ ranges to 173) or higher and Sales DNA of 83 (ranges up to 100) or higher.  Practically speaking, it means that 94% of salespeople don’t have the Sales DNA or Sales Capabilities to sell like a Challenger.

Chuck Mache, says that there are 4 types of salespeople.  While Chuck recommends the Professional for B2B sales, his types are based on personality traits so there is only a one way correlation.  Someone who has the traits of the Professional is not necessarily a great salesperson, but some great salespeople have the traits of the Professional.  To make that a little easier to understand, a Winter storm does not always consist of snow (it could be ice, a wintry mix, or even rain) but snow always comes from a winter storm.

OMG measures 21 Sales Core Competencies, including a salesperson’s Will to Sell (4 competencies), Sales DNA (6 Competencies), Sales Capabilities ( 8 competencies) and Systems and Processes (3 Competencies).  When viewed through these lenses, personality traits don’t play a part in determining sales success.  If we look at the competencies consisting of only the 8 Sales Capabilities, there are 109,600 possible combinations.  And after factoring in the Will to Sell and Sales DNA, the possible combinations exceed one million.  What I’m saying is that there are more than 4 or 5 or 8 or 12 types of salespeople.  

However, when someone insists that there are a certain types of salespeople, I can offer you this.  I have found that when it comes to coaching salespeople, we can place them into one of 11 categories.  Keep in mind that while I can categorize them for coaching purposes, this does not define them as salespeople, and does not correlate to how they approach selling – only how sales managers should approach coaching them.  Here they are:

Talking Tammy – Tammy needs to talk for the first 20 minutes before we can provide 10 minutes of powerful coaching.

Fast Frank – Frank wants only a single question answered in each session and wants to get off the phone ASAP.

Take Away Tom – Tom needs just one take away to feel there was value.

Hit Me Hank – Hank needs to be whacked over the head at some point during each coaching session.

Do it Don – Don must be told what to do and then he’ll do it.

Validation Vicky – Vicky tells us what she wants to do and then needs us to validate that it’s the right approach.

Successful Sandra – Sandra wants us to tweak what already works in order to achieve marginal improvement.

Know-it-All Norm – Norm does not want to be told anything at all.  He needs to figure it out himself.

Timid Tim – Tim needs to have his self-worth validated.

Show Me Shelly – Shelly needs to have her current skill-gap demonstrated.

Broadway Betty – Betty needs to role play.

I wrote a rebuttal to my 11 types of salespeople that sales coaches encounter.  There is no science to this.  No data.  No statistics.  Like the authors I have criticized over the years, I simply reviewed the files of thousands of salespeople I have coached in the past 30 years, and grouped them into categories based on the types of sales coaching they required. It is purely anecdotal.  And although it makes sense and can be quite useful, it is entirely lacking in science.  These 11 types are completely unlike what Objective Management Group provides to us.  OMG provides us with the data from the evaluations and assessments of more than 1 million salespeople – a very significant sample size.  And OMG measures so many sales specific findings that together, they always tell a story about a sales candidate, a salesperson, a sales team, and an entire company.  The story itself isn’t science, but the science helps us to tell a story.

While types are entertaining and generally somewhat useful to be aware of, there is no substitute – ever – for real science.

If you want to use science that makes sales selection accurate and predictive, check out OMG’s Sales Candidate Assessments.

If you want to use science to identify the changes that will significantly grow sales revenue from your existing sales force, check out OMG’s Sales Force Evaluation.

Finally, check out cartoonist Stu Heineke’s new book, How to Get a Meeting with Anyone.  A number of sales experts, including me were quoted and there are some great tips, stories and of course, cartoons!

1 COMMENT

  1. Hi Dave: First, thanks for mentioning my article, 78% of All Sales Statistics Are Made Up. It was fun to write.

    In this blog, you’ve cited some different numbers of salesperson archetypes that people have developed:

    4 – Chuck Mache
    5 – Challenger
    8 – HBR
    11 – you

    Thankfully, these are integers, and not fractions!

    For several reasons, I don’t endorse stereotyping, but I understand its appeal. Stereotyping takes a messy, hard-to-define universe of people or events, neatly classifies them, and makes it possible to assign broad, if unproven, conclusions. It also obviates the need for people to think deeper or to apply imagination. “I’ve discovered all I really need to know.” That’s an important and useful convenience for the stereotyp-er, but is unfair to the stereotypee.

    As high-minded as I’d like to think I am on this topic, I recognize that stereotyping is part of being human. mea culpa. But I draw the line at designing it into my business processes.

    Notably, many years ago, I took sales training titled Versatile Salesperson that categorized four archetypes of people: Drivers, Expressives, Amiables, and Analyticals. The archetypes are organized around how people think, and how they express themselves. Though they are not the only dimensions of the human personality, they are two of the most important for salespeople to understand. The overarching message from the training was the importance for salespeople to adapt to the buyer’s archetype. That required picking up on behavioral cues – something that many people struggle with, not just salespeople.

    In the 30 years since I was introduced to that program, I’ve learned that all behavior doesn’t perfectly cohere to these archetypes, and I’ve developed valuable new understandings. But every so often in a hurried moment, I still think, ‘that person is an off-the-chart analytical.’ . . .

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here