domingo, 21 de abril de 2013

Contratando el equipo de ventas

“We have two kinds of sales people: rich and new.” Through the Looking Glass: Hiring Sales People // ben's blog

"… A good sales interview is the opposite. You can quiz them on hard sales problems all day long, but only a horrible sales rep won’t be able to bluff her way through the most intricate quiz on how to sell a complex account. On the other hand, great sales people tend to have very specific personality traits. Specifically, great sales people must be courageous, competitive and hungry. They also need enough intelligence to get the job done. That’s the magic formula. Hire engineers with that profile and you’ll fail. Hire sales people who are really smart problem solvers, but lack courage, hunger and competitiveness, and your company will go out of business.
Dick Harrison, CEO of Parametric Technologies, home of perhaps the greatest enterprise sales force ever built, interviewed Mark Cranney, the greatest sales manager I have ever met, as follows:
Dick: “I’ll bet you got into a lot of fights when you were a youth didn’t you?”
Mark: “Well yes, Dick, I did get into a few.”Dick: “Well, how’d you do?”Mark: “Well, I was about 35-1.”Dick: “Tell me about the 1.”Mark tells him the story, which Dick enjoys immensely.Dick: “Do you think you could kick my ass?”Mark pauses and asks himself: “Is Dick questioning my courage or my intelligence?” Then replies: “Could or would?”

Dick hires Mark on the spot.
Ask an engineer that same set of questions and at best she’d be confused and at worst she’d be horrified. By asking Mark those questions, Dick quickly found out:

  • If Mark had the courage to stay in the box and not get flustered
  • That Mark came from a rough environment and was plenty hungry
  • That Mark was super competitive, but smart enough to calculate his answer

Hiring sales people is different.
In contrast, anybody with a pulse can sell a massively winning product like Google Ads or VMware hypervisors, but people who consistently sold Lanier copiers against Xerox were elite. In fact, it might be a good sign that a sales rep was successful at a bad company. To succeed at selling a losing product, you must develop seriously superior sales techniques. In addition, you have to be massively competitive and incredibly hungry to survive in that environment.

The Cost of Making a Mistake

Great engineering organizations strive never to make hiring mistakes as hiring mistakes can be very costly. Not only do you lose the productivity that you might have gained from the hire, but you might well incur severe technical debt. To make matters worse, even when an engineering manager recognizes she’s made a mistake, she’s often slow to correct it, leading to more debt and delay. In addition, building an engineering organization too quickly will cause all kinds of communication issues, which makes slow hiring in engineering a really smart thing to do.
On the other hand, you often can’t afford to build out your sales force too slowly, especially if you have significant competition. Sales people, when compared to engineers, work in relative isolation, so there’s productivity loss, but relatively little long-term debt or fast growth issues. Sales managers generally don’t have issues with firing poor performers, so sales people go fast. I have a friend who was fond of saying, “We have two kinds of sales people: rich and new. …”

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