4 Customer Personalities Your Sales Team Wants to Reach

Learn how to customize marketing strategies to approach each type of potential buyer.

learn more about Leslie Stretch

By Leslie Stretch

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to finding the best sales approach. If 80 percent of potential executive buyers aren't asking for a second meeting, according to Forrester, then how should members of a sales team tailor their approach to better understand their customers and ultimately be more successful?

The first step in tailoring the sales experience to each individual potential buyer is to determine a potential customer's personality type. Collecting the "digital bread crumbs" (clues left by the client in prior interactions) can provide great insight into behavior and preferences. Then take action by following the best approaches for each of the following personality types:

Related: Sleepwalking Through Sales -- How Vendors Are Ignoring Buyers' Intelligence

1. The Examiner.

Examiners take their time evaluating a multitude of solutions to find the best fit for their organization. This personality type needs a lot of nurturing. Your team's nurturing program for such customers must be built on continuous engagement.

Reaching out through a phone call to check in with this type of customer or sending a one-off, interest-based offer can be very effective. About to publish a brand new guidebook and this customer has been researching that very issue, based on interactions with company's blogs, webinars and white papers? Send the Examiner a personalized email, along with the guidebook, to show knowledge of that customer's needs and caring about his or her interests.

Related: The Secrets to Building a World-Class Sales Team

2. The Responder.

Responders move very quickly. They make decisions based on market changes and industry predictions. This means your sales team must move fast, too. Be sure your sales force is spending more time selling and less time doing administrative tasks. Time is money and sales teams shouldn't waste precious time on data entry.

Configure-price-quote technology lets sales reps move at the same pace as Responders by offering them the right product, while maintaining margins, in real time. Finding the right product offering, quickly and easily without managers having to intervene, shortens the sales cycle and ultimately improves the win rate with this type of customer.

Representatives need to quote a price but can bypass internal review processes that might slow down the sales cycle. It's best if they can take advantage of mobile devices to react to Responders in real time.

Related: 7 Crucial Steps to Building a Champion Sales Team

3. The Idealist.

Idealists are always looking for better ways to operate their businesses. They make decisions based on the long-term appeal of potential improvements. This means a team needs to be focused on solutions and well incentivized to constantly search for new opportunities to sell.

Incentivizing sales reps to meet the needs of such customers means setting goals that incorporate a mixture of cross-selling and upselling. These two methods are the primary ways sales reps communicate to the customers new solutions to improve their businesses. To reinforce upselling and cross-selling behaviors, incentives can be offered in the form of monetary compensation or points toward prizes or products.

4. The Opportunist.

Opportunists are open to change at all levels, from any direction. They make decisions based on the overall impact products might have on the organization, not just individual departments. This means sales reps need coaching to prepare them to present a shared vision and a desire to move forward with a customer.

In general, a successful coaching program for sales reps should consist of two things: real-time training on mobile devices and a proactive, not reactive, approach. Use relevant, up-to-date data to proactively measure a sales rep's performance, not just a number or the value of deals closed. With this data, the best practices of top sales reps can be be revealed.

Then it's possible to create custom-coaching programs to enhance the skills of other representatives to the level of the star players. Sales training courses in a the custom-coaching program can be assigned and executed in real time through mobile applications. That way, every rep can be brought up to speed quickly to sell to his or her full potential.

Related: Grant Cardone's 5 Tips for Closing the Big Sale on the Phone

Leslie Stretch

President and CEO of CallidusCloud

Leslie Stretch is the president and CEO of CallidusCloud, a provider of cloud software based in Pleasanton, Calif. Its platform offers a suite of solutions that identify the right leads, ensure proper territory and quota distribution, train and coach sales teams, automate configure-price quotes and streamline sales compensation.

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