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Enterprise Sales Executive Hires – 4 Absolutes Must Haves

1. Personal Presence

This can mean so many different things.  So here’s what really matters in this instance… how would they be received with your best prospect?  An Enterprise Sales Executive (ESE) should be involved in finding, managing, and closing million-dollar deals which means they will need to be talking the executive suite.  Therefore, who should that person be?  Do they have executive presence? Do they give off a believable and trustworthy vibe?  How is their articulation?  Is there a calm confidence? Do they get rattled easily?  There are also six hidden sales weakness that can derail someone’s ability to successfully operate in this kind of higher-level sales environment.   

2. Opportunity Qualification

 Ultimately the ESE needs to qualify and find million-dollar strategic problems that your solution can solve. Do they understand how to talk business strategy with decision makers to uncover those strategic problems? Are they able to effectively set up a meeting with the right people and set objectives?  If not, you will be paying someone to waste their time and company resources in pursuit of opportunities that don’t pay off.  This is where bloated pipelines and bad sales forecasts come from. Here’s how you determine if they have the skills… do a role play with them.  You’re the prospect and they are selling one of their previous solutions to you. First, watch to see if they attempt to set up the meeting objectives, here’s a basic example: “What are the most important things you’d like to cover in our meeting today?”  Then, do they ask good qualifying questions that will get to the heart of the matter? Here are more examples: “9 months after you put this solution in place how will you measure success? Assuming we were the perfect fit, when is it critical for you to have this live?  Why is that date important?”   Notice in the previous example, there is little to no product talk, and they should be using questions to get the prospect (you in this role play) to do most of the talking, while they are actively listening.  If these skills are not apparent (doesn’t have to be perfect), it’s time to say goodbye! 

3. Business Development

This is job #1 for an ESE.  One of the first questions are expectations.  Is there a current lead generation program at your company supplying leads?  If so, what percentage of net new leads are expected to be generated by the ESE from their own efforts?  Not having a mutual understanding of expectations can cause the wrong kind of turnover in the sales department.  Generally, most B2B marketing efforts are responsible for 40% of lead gen.  That leaves 60% to our new hire if this is your case.  Therefore, I would like to know the strategies and tactics they used in previous roles.  Strategies would include: the message (elevator pitch) they used; the companies they called on and why; their entry point into the organization and how they negotiate to the key stakeholders or decision makers.  Tactics would be their process (behaviors): networking; email; LinkedIn; cadences; how did they organize and execute, what were their numbers (time and effort spent vs. results).  If they cannot articulate this with convincing ease, it means this dog don’t hunt.

4. Deal Management

When you think about it, deal management is all about negotiation.  It’s about knowing what’s needed to win a deal and negotiating along the way to get what’s needed for the win. It’s herding the cats to bring everything together.  Some of the key pieces include… articulating a problem that is a must solve and why; getting Key Stake Holders to sponsor the project; getting buy in on decision success criteria and how it will be accomplished; getting early buy in on order-of-magnitude budget; making sure the person(s) who will sign the check agree to prioritize the spend (before the project proceeds).  Can your ESE candidate and those who are on your team articulate the process of what techniques they use to accomplish each of these things?  For candidates listen to them explain how they have managed important deals in the past.  This is not a place for “fly by the seat of your pants” selling, to see if it works.

If you’d like to see our description of “The Anatomy of a High Performing Enterprise Sales Executive” go here.

Selling competencies combined with sales DNA (the ability to execute in a selling environment) are the keys to getting your team to take things to the next level! 



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