Last week, when speaking on the Inbound Stage at Inbound14, my topic was Hiring for the Inbound Sales Role. I asked the question, “Is this a sales or a marketing role?”
The audience desperately wanted this to be a hybrid – someone who could do both the marketing and the sales. Unfortunately, a hybrid role it is not.
If you needed to hire an airline employee, would it be a pilot, flight attendant or a hybrid? I once flew on a 9-seater with a lone pilot who, after reaching cruising altitude of about 1,000 feet, threw peanuts and pretzels from the cockpit…
They are different skill sets and attitudes. One wants to fly high and the other wants to travel.
If you needed to hire an entertainment venue employee, would it be a food vendor, a security guard or a hybrid?
They are different skill sets. One wants to serve food and the other wants to show their muscle.
The marketer generates and posts content, performs some social selling, gets found, generates leads and works behind the scenes.
The seller connects with the contacts, by phone or email, and must overcome tremendous resistance, get their attention, get them engaged, qualify them as a potential prospect, and convert them to an opportunity in the pipeline. Or, if responsible for more of the sales cycle, convert that opportunity into something more, like a sale.
They are different skill sets. One wants to generate and see leads come in, the other wants to engage those leads and convert them to opportunities.
One person asked, “If we could hire only one, which one should we hire?” That’s easy, with no leads, there is no inbound salesperson. So, it becomes a different choice. You must choose between a Marketer to generate content and begin developing inbound leads, or a more traditional, outbound salesperson to generate appointments. If you can only afford to hire one, I would pick the one who could have an immediate impact on the company’s ability to generate revenue. That would be the outbound salesperson.
Inbound is still relatively new; and the people working in inbound roles, nearly as new. There is much trial-and-error taking place, and the blueprint is still on the architect’s table. Anyone, who can tell you for certain how this role will evolve, has their own private-label, crystal ball. For instance, take a look at traditional sales roles. Those have been evolving for more than 100 years and are still changing – more in the last 5 years than ever before. If we take traditional sales experiences and use those as guidelines for inside, inbound and social, the best we can reliably say is that these roles will probably be quite different five years from now.
The Fall Top Sales Academy offering is available (it’s free) – you can see it here. There is a sales management track and a sales track. I’ll be leading the session on October 8 and the topic is Mastering the Art of Coaching Salespeople.
Earlier that week, I’ll be speaking at the EcSell Institute Fall Sales Coaching Conference in Dallas. You can look here for more information.