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Avoid the Achilles’ Heel of MPS: Hire the Right Sales Talent

2 Aug, 2010 By: Sally Brause, GreatAmerica Leasing Corp. imageSource

Avoid the Achilles’ Heel of MPS: Hire the Right Sales Talent

According to Wikipedia an Achilles’ heel is a deadly weakness in spite of overall strength that can actually or potentially lead to downfall. While the mythological origin refers to a physical vulnerability, metaphorical references to other attributes or qualities that can lead to downfall are common.

The same is true of the best planning and constructed Managed Print Services programs, without the right sales talent, programs often stall or fail.  Recruiting and hiring the right talent can be frustrating.  We hear from multiple dealers each week about their frustrations to even sort through applicants to determine who to even interview.  The same attributes that make a copier sales rep successful don’t always apply to MPS.  And making a hiring mistake is both costly in time and salary, but also in the delay of moving MPS program forward.

In order to help dealers be more successful with their MPS programs, a MPS Sales Hiring Study was conducted by GreatAmerica to compile these profiles and associated hiring tools. These behaviors were compiled which included interviews, job shadow, feedback and use of predictive index with successful and less successful sales reps.  

The following are three of the top traits and characteristics of successful MPS sales personnel: 

Look for individuals with a sense of confidence, but that can also inspire confidence in others.  This personality trait should also encompass someone who is also an independent self starter. Don’t confuse confidence with arrogance.  In our benchmark study, it was also evident that you should lean toward hiring more for authoritative and technical that for a candidate that is more persuasive and relationship orientated.

A successful candidate will be someone who sets high standards of achievement for themselves and others.  They have a competitive drive and operate with a sense of urgency.  They will also be will and have undertaken risks and assume responsibility for them.  This competitive nature will help drive them to success.

Problem Solver
The person you want to hire for MPS sales is a problem solver.  They like to probe for additional information and can employ consultative selling skills to your process.  They have a thirst for knowledge and enjoy learning. They are results orientated and can come up with practical ideas to solve problems.

A successful MPS Salesperson can react and adjust quickly by changing conditions and has the ability to stay focused.  Picture a person who can juggle successfully many projects that are at different steps in the process.  They are someone who can work in a fast paced environment and have demonstrated the aptitude to multi-task.

If you are wondering how you can best assess and hire for these skills, we recommend you consider the following assessment tools to add to your overall and MPS hiring practices:

Resume Reviews
Look for evidence of these behaviors on each candidates resume.  Look for information that demonstrates the candidate is results focused and can provide quantifiable and data driven evidence through their work product.

Assessment Tools
You can also utilize an assessment tool in your hiring process such as personality testing.  We recommend dealers consider the Predictive Index tools which are used in our own hiring process.  As part of our recently completed MPS Benchmark Study, we have created a Predictive Index profile of successful MPS Salespeople that you can apply to any candidates you are screening for hiring.  These tools help you determine upfront if the person’s core personality is compatible with the position they are applying for, saving you time and money along the way.

Behavior Based Interviews
We also high recommend you employ a strategy for interviews of your job candidates that is described as Behavior Based interviewing.  This technique is successful because past performance is a predictor of future performance.  So you will want to ask question that force a candidate to talk about their past work experiences.  This will help you determine if they have the requisite attributes based on their answers.  Answers should be top of mind and specific .  You should listen carefully to answers and evaluate them on a pre-determine set of criteria.

Sally Brause is the Director of Human Resources Consulting for GreatAmerica Leasing Corporation. She provides PathShare HR Services, which includes a behavioral profiling tool and other hiring consulting to dealers. Visit www.greatamerica.com

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