As we approach the mother of all month ends, it reminds me of those slog overs in cricket. The last 6 balls and you need 10 runs to win. I see the same with the Sales team of any organization. They are usually competitive, passionate and driven taking on the challenge of tough markets and beating their competition.
Yet most HR professionals will agree with me that hiring Sales staff is like finding a groom in your 30s, the ones you want are already taken and the ones who are pursuing you are irrelevant.
I was recently interviewing one of my Bank’s sales staff who was interested in moving to an operations role. When asked her the reason, she said it’s because I want to do a banking job. My eyes dilated by a few cms and so did my co-panelist’s. Are you doing banking only when you are dealing with documents and approving notes? Why is there no pride in acquiring customers?
Marketing ≠ Sales
Business without sales is not a reality, then why do Business Schools run without a Sales specialization. I would be most interested in hiring students who have done their Masters in Sales. They will of course be taught marketing, but they will come with clear focus and skills to SELL. Invariably B Schools tend to undermine the Sales function. It remains a small section of the otherwise very elaborate curriculum in marketing. Thus students graduate thinking marketing is more their league than Sales.
I can’t do sales because I can’t lie
It’s a misconception that sales can be done only if you are pushy. Sales can be done by Introverts and Extroverts. Introverts bring in a very important skill to the sales process. They listen. They have the ability to truly probe and understand the real need of the customer. And if you got that right, you can sell.
I want a stable job
Even in times of recession, most organizations continue to hire and grow their front-line sales staff. No job comes with a security, but atleast this one comes with several opportunities.
You are fired
We recently did a deep-dive into analyzing our high performing sales staff. Of course the best were those that had stayed with us the longest. When we explored further, we realized that the time when they were hired, we were selling a product that was relatively easy and didn’t really require outstanding selling skills. Thus they got enough time to hone their skills and now have become experts at selling. Unfortunately today organizations don’t have the time. They want their men to board fast-moving trains, the ones that make it are heroes and the rest are simply left behind.
So sales is not for the faint hearted.. It’s a job for the bold, for the ones who are passionate, for those who don’t worry about hiding their failures and for those who want a challenge. My blog post is dedicated to all those who chose to be in Sales… A big salute. The irony though is that its March end and I know they aren’t reading a blog.
Very well written once again….having been a salesperson…it wouldn’t be wrong to say that most sales guys are the supermen for business be it month end or from a business sustainance and growth point of view. The pure presence of mind and street smartness sets them apart from others as important.
Piyush Sandhane said:
Corporate required skills clearly specified (at least when it comes to sales function). Master in Sales —Interesting! Setting right expectations of Marketing students in B-Schools with a tweak in training methods and real time projects may contribute.
Very good point on Introverts/Extroverts. The common misconception is that a sales guys need to be flamboyant, gregarious and aggressive. IT sales/BPO sales is all about consultative selling.
KK pandey said:
ummmmm….one of the few good write up i have read in long time, liked groom and introvert/extrovert insight. I have lived this Life for a long time and its the ONLY life to live and whats more exciting than starting the day with nothing in your hand except few stray thoughts, couple of well heeled idea, though bit worn out by age/time, blackness in pit of your stomach and ability to die hard. Sales is a continuum in an age old trend of eastern UP people coming to party in bigger cities. They are hard, uber cool in their ability to strike conversations with strangers, take that disdain and mocking look in their strides and effortlessly waft to next bloke with the same old trick, this routine gets repeated till the first strike for the day has been made. This monolithic story seems to be entering in its final leg as i see marked shift towards non sales in this part of the world. As i meet/interact, engage in last few days i see more movement towards non sales service sector, for ex; fast food joints, banking that is operation focussed, stores, lifestyles addas etc.The glut of information has lead to ways of making end meet by doing not core job of any organisation but its appendage. The smart living has replaced hard work existence. For sales its not a good news. This age old institution is built on edifice of working in a black hole and finding meaning to it. What many are missing out is ” any absence of more than 15 days from field” leads to automatic trasnferrrence of skill and insights to another set of sales man who was present in that time, place. Any absence of insight leads to arm chair understandng of market,leading to aborted products pregnant with failed possibilities. Insights are food for any organisation DNA and the food comes from sales as sole repository of insight is prospects. So if sales is what sales is and if few and fewer are keen to take this mantle, who in turn will feed companies from what does a market demand?
I have in my such a short career got innumerable request for moving people out of sales as they are not able to get married since sales is attached to their designation. For large mass ” Salesman” is a loose character, lurking in corners, shady type, an ever evolving conmen to whome there daughters cant be given. This country works on contradictions where to exist you have to accept reverse and front with equal felicity, but when it comes to sales, we are rigid, tough, unyielding, uncompromising, uncouth, difficult, demanding,stiff, inflexible whereas we should be proud, happy, glad, alive, pleased, content, satisfied, contented, cheerful, carefree, exuberant that we have sales man amidst us. Wet in torrential rain, deeply clutching cell phone wrapped in cheap plastic is the same man who have taken your co-ordinates for getting you your new cell number, with face black as charcoal, spirit charred by continous disdain but still standing in front of with his spine intact, being howled over for the mistake committed by other division, being deriled, abused, shouted at and complained at, yet calling you back the nest day with new effervesence in his voice, squeezed among millions of sweat drenched bodies in trains, overcrowded buses, yet post getting off removing dirt from his shoes by slyly moving them against inner of pants is your most hated SALEAMAN. Yet most of us forget that for being a sales man one has to have courage of conviction and should be ambitious, sedulous, gritty, determined, hungry,persistent, aggressive, heroic, vigorous, i dont know how many of us with the exception of sales have so many qualities at one time. Guess what – none except sales. I will be too proud to marry my daughter to salesman, will you?
Ashu Sawhney said:
KK, good thoughts…but do u have a daughter :-)….ummmm?
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