How do you find the best people for your sales organization? What has changed over the past several years in sales and business development? How do you find your next great sales hire?
I was at the IoT Emerge event last week in Chicago. It gave me an opportunity to touch base with many new potential clients and partner organizations. I appeared on several panels with many great leaders, both industry experts and potential market leaders. I will be sharing what I learned over the coming weeks.
The way my schedule was set up, I had a chance to spend time talking with many sales leaders in the emerging field of Industrial Internet of Things. The one item that was on all of these leaders’ minds was where they were going to find their next great sales hire.
The IoT (Internet of Things) market is just starting to heat up, but many leaders I talked with believe we may be 12-36 months out before we see IoT move into many of their better long term clients. Many sales executives feel that their next great sales hire will be dealing with a significantly different marketplace. One that requires different skills than earlier generations of sales professionals. I thought I might share several qualities that your next great sales hire will possess.
The first quality of your next great sales hire is a high level of emotional intelligence. Successful IoT programs require dealing with a wide range of stakeholders and constituencies. Sales professionals need to better understand change management processes when talking with clients about potential IoT projects. These sales professionals help clients co-create a vision of their future organization and industry.
Emotional intelligence is the foundation of creating more trusted relationships with both clients and partners in your ecosystems. Because of the size and scope of many of these early projects, your next great sales hire will work hard to earn and keep trust with everyone they work with.
The second quality of your next great sales hire is a high level of client nurturing capabilities. Longer sales cycles require successful sales professionals to become better at client nurturing. In the past, sales executives would manage between 10-15 accounts during the early stage of client development. To build a successful revenue stream these sales executives need to manage a larger number of clients for a longer time.
The good news is there are many tools available to the business development team that help you stay in front of your clients. I also believe that your next great sales hire will be digital natives. This expertise allows people to collaborate more closely with their customers and their ecosystems. IoT is designed to help create a more transparent digital supply chain. I believe this new capability will change the business model and value proposition for many new IoT organizations.
The third quality of your next great sales hire is going to be working and managing your business development team. Your next great sales hire will have a better understanding of how to influence others both inside and outside the organization. I believe we will see many more pilots for IoT projects. Depending on the size of potential clients, I see part of what the sales professional sells is the ability to provide project management and training to help increase adoption of new IoT technologies.
Many of the organizations I talked with sell hardware and software when selling in IoT. This requires leveraging the people who are capable of selling services into their best clients.
The final quality of your next great sales hire is to be lifetime learners. New HR technologies are going to not only help identify the best people for your role, but also a development plan to help bring them up to speed. Sales executives will coach their team members to get better, more consistent performance from their sales teams.
I believe ongoing education will be critical for sales professionals moving forward. This is not a new idea for sales professionals, but I can see sales training and development become a way of attracting the best people to your organization. Millennials place a high value on training and coaching when choosing where they go to work.
Your next great sales hire will want to have a career plan and access to new opportunities within your organization. This requires better managers and leaders for your organizations.
Successful organizations will develop key relationships with successful individuals to help provide their clients with the best solution available in their markets. Leveraging key external talent changes the way you go to market in IoT. I’d love to hear your thoughts on how this trend is changing how you lead and do business.
Starting next week I will begin a series of blogs about your sales and business development career. I think you’ll find this series helpful as you plan to make 2017 your best year ever.
See you next week.