This might have happened to you or someone you know: great care is expended to hire a salesperson for the purpose of landing new clients. Anticipating great success, management even developed a plan for spending the surplus revenue generated by the new customers the salesperson will bring in! But then…the results aren’t what management expected and everyone is disappointed.
Of course finger-pointing takes place. But, it won’t bring back the opportunities that were missed (sometimes more than $1m worth), the time wasted (sometimes more than a year), and the spent resources (hiring, onboarding, training, managing, rehiring–time that management certainly didn’t have–along with the failed salesperson’s salary and benefits).
Such an event inevitably leads to serious scratching of heads by company leadership who desperately wants to avoid repeating the same mistake–but who still need new clients.
Why Does This Happen?
Openers vs Closers. If it is an “Opener” that is required, but “Closer” is hired, results can suffer. I’ll explain. All sales hunters–those who bring in new business–are not created equally. This is not only a major blind spot for managers but also a key source of mis-hires. There are some hunters who are great at bringing relationships with prospects from the initial meeting to the finish line; these are “Closers.” Yet other hunters excel at creating new relationships where none existed before; these would be “Openers.” Finding a salesperson who is equally talented in both Opening and Closing is quite rare. Managers needing their Closers to Open are often frustrated by lack of results. These managers will try almost anything to get their Closers to Open including adding incentives and performance improvement plans. Other managers just yell!
Unfortunately, these unsuccessful actions lead to short bursts of activity but not to ongoing results. Most Closers won’t consistently and effectively Open for long periods no matter what.
How can companies achieve long-term accelerated growth, avoid pipeline peaks and valleys while also leveraging the talent of their Closers?
The Solution Which Works
One solution which works like a charm is pairing a great Closer with a great Opener. This successful method leverages the talents of both kinds of hunters. Sellers who do what they do best are happier and also require very little supervision! Three options to accomplish this:
1. Hire an Opener – Openers are rare and hard to find. The right job description and interview questions are critical. We have our Door Openers® interview our Door Opener candidates. They know the BS from what’s real because they do this job daily.
2. Move a current employee into an Opener role – To ensure success, provide documented and proven sales messaging, guidance regarding role structure and compensation/incentive aligning with an Opener role. Importantly, interview your employee to be sure he/she is an Opener.
3. Outsource the role of Opener – use a company which specializes in door opening. Two pointers for choosing the right partner.
a. Right Message – Your partner must have a robust and proven method for developing sales messaging. The right words said to the right prospects opens doors. The wrong words go nowhere.
b. Right level door opener – Senior level prospect doors are most successfully opened by senior level business developers. Check the minimum experience requirement for the individual representing you (not the supervisor). Your reputation is at stake.
The key to a consistently fruitful pipeline with maximum success is keeping the Opener and Closer roles filled with the right people doing the right work. It’s also the best way to ensure hunters hunt.
What successes has your company had in arranging openers and closers? Leave a comment and let us know.
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