blog - why you arent hiring top cloud salesman6 Critical Skills of Top Performers

I have interviewed 1000s of sales people over the past 20 years. Hiring good guys for Cloud Computing, Big Data and the other areas is even more difficult. I’ve condensed the critical factors for in to six vital skills:

1)      Fully understand the products / services – I cannot believe how many salespeople truly do not know their product or service offerings and have to rely way too much on the pre-sales engineers to do the selling for them.

2)      Study and be knowledgeable about your customer’s industry – Many of the sales people that were in the top 10% of their industry really knew everything about their client’s industry including where all the skeletons were buried. When interviewing you need to probe their true knowledge base. I ask many hard-hitting questions including what clients they are calling on, size of their C-level database, nature of past deals closed, and who else was on the team that closed the deals. So many times I discovered that the names they gave me were the real guys that closed the deal. There are many other unique probing questions our firm asks to uncover who was the actual culprit that closed the deal. The Oxford Group is very adept at procuring these types of salespeople for clients utilizing our Reverse Engineering Approach.

3)      Evaluate existing accounts for new opportunities – So many salespeople do not expand their reach into an existing client because they feel that they are wasting time uncovering opportunities outside of their current company’s product offering. The killer sales guy is always trying to meet more people in the account getting introduced by who they already know. They will also pull these opportunities and partner with other vendors that will reciprocate for them.

4)      Conduct in-depth research of prospects – Probing is a gift and top sales guys have it. Questions some of the top sales guys have used are: What are the three top challenges that you faced this year to hit your bonus? Top salespeople are always asking why or in what respect to go deeper and deeper. These two probing approaches always bring up more and more information to truly uncover the real hurdle to getting a deal closed. The top guns are always losing. If you could accomplish this, this and that, would you be able to get approval for the solution we provide? Why not? Another catch phrase to keep asking is what else?…until the client can’t answer anymore.

5)      Deliver what is promised – Producers always use word of mouth to carry them to the next deal. That is a precious commodity. A top gun can be your hero, but he can also be your worst enemy because he knows his next deal is only possible if the last deal was successful. His successes are predicated on building long lasting relationships with his rolodex of long term clients and relationships. If they see that you or the company are not following through, the salesman’s next call will be to our firm to lend a hand with our Stealth Reverse Search or to another recruiter to see what companies are hiring.

6)      Be tenacious – The most common trait that the top guns possess is that they must hear no six times before it registers. Most salespeople will quit after two or three calls to a client or hearing no a couple of times. Killer sales guys are relentless. They will do whatever it takes to stay in front of a potential client. No is not in their vocabulary.

Don’t be fooled by the sales guy that pontificates on the importance of focusing more on a network of contacts, engaging the client with interesting analogies, or providing customers with advice. I encountered many of both of these types of reps when we enacted our Hypergrowth Strategy and built a startup from $0$140,000,000 in one year. The bulk of our work concentrated on uncovering what each hire could do for our client, rather than what our client could do for the hire.

There just isn’t any substitute for hard work…and successful sales reps recognize that.

The Oxford Group is prepared to help you build your successful sales team.

Contact us at: 214 360 4000 or schedule an appointment at