Right Person? Wrong Role? Don’t Set Your Team Up to Fail


Right Person in the Wrong Sales Role?Although virtually anyone can learn the principles of selling, not everyone can be a successful salesperson. Mastering techniques and principles is one thing; having the desire and drive to apply them is another. Joe may learn the fundamentals of selling—prospecting, building trust, analyzing customer needs, studying product lines, making presentations—but this is no guarantee that he will be an outstanding salesman. Joe might lack the necessary willingness and ambition; he might not be a “people person.”

Junior may inherit the family business, but distinctly lack the personality traits prerequisite to the sales profession. Furthermore, even if Junior is intelligent and outgoing, there is no reason to assume he is prepared to be a CEO. (The principle also applies in reverse: an outstanding, highly-accomplished CEO will not necessarily excel in outside sales.)

The sales profession is comprised of multiple positions, each with its own, unique responsibilities. Every position—CEO, sales manager, customer service, outside sales—requires certain characteristics and personality styles. Consequently, an excellent salesperson assigned to the wrong role is likely to struggle. Junior may be a superb, overachieving outside salesman, but fail spectacularly in a management position.

Competent individuals of many different personality styles can potentially succeed in sales, but they must be placed in the most appropriate position. If not, performance will suffer and morale will decline. In a management role, Junior is the proverbial “fish out of water”: great person, wrong role, bad outcome.

Susan may have the skill set to be a great sales professional, but struggle to develop outside prospects. This does not mean she is incompetent; she is being utilized in the wrong capacity. If she were moved to an account management position, she may very well prosper. Susan should be allowed to use her greatest strength: focus on the customer.

Perhaps Junior dislikes the routine tasks of desk-jockeys; by disposition, he is a “hunter” who belongs in outside sales. Susan, meanwhile, is outgoing and affable, but she doesn’t like rejection, negotiation, or dealing with conflict. Both have the potential to be tremendous assets to the enterprise, but they must be placed in positions that maximize their strengths.

Too often, the Juniors, Joes, and Susans of the world are simply declared unfit for the sales profession, and their careers come to a screeching halt. But they might only be miscast—asked to play roles for which they are not suited. By utilizing our sales assessments, you can identify the key strengths and motivators that your team members need for your specific sales and account management positions.

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