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Brains vs brawn in business development

Brains vs brawn in business developmentIn a market where sales teams are shrinking yet prospecting is as crucial to the bottom line as ever, who are our most valued sales people? Are they the brawn, the doers of the group who get out there and chase chase chase? Or are they the brains, those who spend more time researching and developing before approaching?

When it comes to getting things done, your brawn employees are all over it. They’re unafraid to call or talk to anyone, they have an answer for every question and they believe in your product or service one hundred percent.

These all seem like promising characteristics of a sales person. Where trouble stems in the brawn department, is in their lack of strategy. Typical of a brawn employee are generic emails to your entire database, time wasting approaches to dud prospects and client complaints about promised services that you did not deliver on. Why does this happen? Too much time dedicated to convincing the fish to eat the bait, rather than understanding the bait the fish will bite. Your brawn will reel the sales in, but chances are you’ll have a misinformed, ill fitting, demanding client as a result.

The brains on your sales team, now they’re some savvy opportunity spotters. They don’t believe in hit and miss, they’re dedicated to research and development for the purpose of a qualified prospect. These guys spend a vast amount of time identifying relevant prospects, where your services will be of value. The result- they rarely miss. You have a well informed client with realistic expectations of your service, who completely trusts you. Sounds superb, what’s the catch? The amount of time your brain employees spend on research and development will result in great clients, just not that many.

As a business owner who has recruited sales people for over 15 years, I realise that we are often drawn to brawn like characteristics for their fearless, energetic and always optimistic attitude. They seem like the type of people who get things done, music to a business owners ears! Being in the business of information development I also have a soft spot for organised, information savvy people who always investigate before they make a move. Both employees possess valuable sales skills, meaning we need them both. How do we combine the traits of a strategist and an actionist for a more balanced sales result?

The answer is in training. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is not nurturing your sales employee’s skills. By nurturing I mean ensuring they are constantly learning and furthering their range as a sales person.  Investing time from the beginning to develop a more balanced sales process will ensure both your natural brawn and brain employees understand the importance of giving strategy and action equal time.

Take a step back this week and identify where your sales team may be lacking. Encourage your more action focused employees to dedicate specific time to validating prospects and give your research heavy employees weekly approach targets. Your aim is to create a balance of the BB’s (brawn and brains).

If you find that you already have that balance, congratulations, your sales team has pole position!

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Matt Skinner

Matt Skinner

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