Let’s face it: Colleges and universities are not accustomed to hiring salespeople. They hire educators, administrators, technicians of various sorts, and clerical staff of nearly every type. But they don’t hire great salespeople or what they call “Business Developers.” And yet, increasingly these institutions find themselves hiring people who are setting appointments, providing need assessments, solving problems and delivering customized solutions that are addressing the business challenges of rapidly changing technology, employee performance and customer satisfaction.
Hiring salespeople is different. Of course, they need the qualities you look for in every hire—integrity, intelligence, focus, energy, and readiness to execute. But business-to-business salespeople also need at least these four additional traits as well.
Successful salespeople identify with their customers and pick up on their feelings. They understand their needs and pressures they’re under; they get how business works and can wrap their heads around the challenges faced by each prospect. Yes, they represent the college and its specific B2B offerings, and yes they want to drive revenue for the institution. But the best ones—the ones you want—are geniuses at balancing the interests of the college and the interests of the customer as they assemble a tailored solution.