The One Revenue Accelerator You Will Not Get in a New Star Salesperson
The subject of my last blog post was why finding the right salespeople is often difficult. Which makes revenue acceleration difficult – even when your company has a ground-breaking technology product.
We concluded that being a good salesperson takes an unusual stack of skills:
- Domain expertise in the prospect’s business to formulate and relate the challenge.
- Financial insight to demonstrate ROI (Return on Investment) if the problem is solved.
- Technical insight to understand how the product category solves the challenge.
- Product knowledge of the specific product to apply the relevant features, those that benefit the prospect in question, and only those, to the discussion.
- The visionary or “evangelical” personality skills to install confidence in the prospect.
- The “normal” sales skills to close a deal.
If your recruit is truly great, he or she will have items 1, 2, 5, and 6 covered. And the new salesperson might, via previous work or academic interest, have the technical insight mentioned in item 3.
But item 4, the specific product knowledge, is almost never covered. Indeed, such knowledge would only be possible in certain cases. For example if the new hire had worked on development of the new product. Or if there had been some kind of disclosure while the product was under development.
Yet, without this specific knowledge, even the greatest salesperson will almost certainly fail. And so will the company in this context.
Thus, it is on both your company and your new hire to make certain that this knowledge transfer takes place.
The transfer of knowledge is a two-way process
Throughout the process, market information will also flow back to product management. Information that will help the ongoing development of the product. And also of the company itself.
These efforts cannot be started too early. Any delay is a delay of potential incoming revenue – which was the reason for you hiring the salesperson in the first place. And, unless we are talking a large company, the transfer most likely involves resources from development, product management, and founders.
It is a resource-intensive, iterative and hence expensive process. Yet, it would be more expensive not to do it. You would then have wasted money on hiring and paying the salesperson. You would lose valuable market input. And even worse, it would have delayed getting the revenues that your new, ground-breaking product deserves.
Such a delay is revenue time that you never get back.