Bad Idea -- Hiring "Heavy Hitters" for Agency Sales

The heavy hitter's primary toolMy network friend and I were discussing the status of advertising agency hiring in the US these days and how things have changed for both the good and the bad. We think this problem applies to any B-to-B sales involving high level corporate services.

Prompted by these discussions, he sent an email with a new B-to-B sales job. Here's what he wrote.

Ted,

 Thought you would get a kick out this completely vacuous ad…no industry experience needed, no street credibility needed, just leave your successful job (which you can prove by submitting your w2’s), and join our company.  The world has gone mad!

Here's the advertisement for reference.

"Looking for an aggressive hunter who is ambitious, knows how to overcome obstacles and is driven to succeed. Must have an outstanding track record of selling products or services to sophisticated clients.

Our client is a well known 87B global firm and is more interested in your knowing how to build a business than your particular industry experience since extensive training is provided. 

Experience from any industry that requires a high degree of face-to-face presentations and relationship management is preferred. 

Must be an exceptional salesperson with a minimum of 12 year’s business experience (no maximum) and have consistently been a top earner in your industry.  

MUST have a college degree.  

No travel – outstanding benefits!"

There are several ways to interpret this advertisement and the motivations behind it. But I suspect that the hiring manager or the HR person who wrote this is looking for "Heavy Hitters" and all that it implies. 

Furthermore, I see an effort to attract discontented producers whose territories were cut or who were somehow wounded by their companies.


It's attraction with the negative.

Personally, if I were looking for a sales position, I would shy away from companies driven by prima donna sales people concepts. I am more interested in companies that are looking for sales leaders who know how to build and manage smooth running new business machines. When properly designed, these machines will survive the ups and downs presented by today's highly volatile business environments.

The "Heavy Hitter" mentality revolves around stars instead of the company. And accounts that are brought in this way can quickly fall in and out of love.

A client relationship must go well beyond a single individual to the many individuals available within the supplier company. It is actually a melding of purpose and vision between two partner organizations. Anything less will not produce a steady stream of profits for either the supplier or the client.

In what ways do you, the reader, see as misguided concepts about how successful new business programs work for B-to-B service companies? Any advice?

Posted on August 11, 2010 and filed under Lead Generation, New Business, Database Marketing.