“Strong salespeople fail all the time in new roles,” business to business community SaaStr reports in this article. That is a fairly documentable fact.
Less known is the bigger question: Why do they fail?
Fit between industries, sizes and methodologies
The answer is that there is great sensitivity of fit between industries, company size and selling methodologies. In the right setting, strong salespeople succeed. In the wrong one, unsurprisingly, they struggle or even fail.
The factors on which salespeople succeed or fail rest are numerous.
It starts with training. A salesperson who relies on a strong training program, for instance, will find themselves more at home in a larger company, where developed sales training programs are commonplace. The opposite is true with smaller companies, where training companies are more commonly deficient or completely lacking.
Another variable is a product’s selling price. The salesperson accustomed to lower priced products or services will not experience much disruption in process or tactics with a company selling similarly priced products or services.
But if, hypothetically, the price for the product or service is, say, ten times greater, that alone can be enough to derail a strong salesperson unaccustomed to the pricier sales price, which often requires lengthier sales processes and more experience with consultative sales approaches.
Belief in the product value
Other variables matter too. The successful salesperson routinely really believes in the value of their respective product or service. But not all salespeople do, and they more commonly struggle or fail.
And bosses really matter too. A good sales executive manager will identify weak points and aid their sales personnel with necessary support and training. A sales executive manager with less or no experience may be more inclined to overlook resource needs for their salespeople, which also can commonly lead to a salesperson struggling or failing.