Journeymen, Mavericks & Superstars: Understanding Salespeople at Startups

Posted on Apr 8, 2010 | 159 comments


Most technology startups seem to be founded by three types of people: product managers, engineers or biz dev types (MBAs and the like). Very few of them are started, in my experience, by sales people and very few early stage companies really understand sales. That’s why I started the Sales & Marketing Series and at one point I will do a bunch of posts on the sales methodology we developed at my first company called PUCCKA.

Today I want to talk about sales executives and a model for thinking about them. If you ever have to interview, hire, judge the performance of, decide whether to promote, assign clients/regions to them or have to decide whether to fire sales people, I think having a framework for thinking about them is helpful.

Here’s mine:

Let me start with a few biases. First, I think that most great sales people have an innate skill that can’t be taught. That view from me isn’t surprising since on the topic of Nature vs. Nurture in entrepreneurs I’ve clearly come down on the side of nature more than nurture (again, that doesn’t mean nurture has NO influence, just less than nature). Second, I think that running great sales programs is mostly about running great sales processes.   So as you grow your business and if you’re looking to hire sales people, one of the most important things to look for is somebody who understands the sales process and somebody that you perceive as “process oriented.” More on that later.

1. Journeymen - Journeymen (Journeywomen!) are, as the name implies, the people who have “learned a trade and work for another person usually by the day.” They are hugely process driven. These people take directions well from a sales manager on how to approach sales campaigns. When you hear them speak in an interview about how they’ve run sales campaigns in the past they describe the methods with precision. They are masters at using Salesforce.com because they love the structure that it provides. They’re organized and methodical. They’ll have taken 10 sales courses and they’ll list them all on their resume (why??).  They set up “tickler” lists to remind them of calls and they always make the calls they say they are going to make. They’re always on time.  They work through ROI calculations with customers. They’re great at orchestrating your company to deliver product demos. They know how to walk a deal from business owner, through IT, through procurement and through legal to get a closed order. They are the LIFEBLOOD of sales organizations because they’re plentiful and deliver great value relative to their costs. They’re also usually very loyal to your organization. Almost by definition. They’re journeymen.

But doesn’t Journeyman almost imply something pejorative? Yeah, kind of. Even though they’re great at process you can tell when you spend time with them that they miss some sort of “spark” that you’re expecting in a sales person. Some sort of magic where you just finished the meeting and can’t remember what they were selling but you know you needed three of them. It’s the “je ne sais quoi,” the “X factor.” And in my experience Journeyman are not good in two scenarios. a) they don’t tend to make great heads of sales departments and b) they aren’t the people you want early in your company. The reason for “b” is that most early stage companies survive on “evangelical sales” as in when you’re having to educate the customer on something new and different and get them to take a leap of faith. Journeymen don’t do “leap of faith.” They sell more commoditized or well understood products that can be sold via a well-defined process. That’s my view, anyhow. And my experience has taught me that.

2. Mavericks – Mavericks are the opposite of Journeymen.  Mavericks are by definition bad at following rules and bad at process.  I should know because I’m a maverick.  (John McCain used to be a Maverick but as Jon Stewart points out is no longer one – super funny 5 minute video – must watch if you have time and if, like me, you used to love McCain before his lobotomy.  If you still love McCain, um … not so funny then).  Mavericks are the people who innately know how to navigate a sales campaign. They can get access to senior executives and champion a sales campaign from the top. They still hit all of the highlights of the sales methodology (getting a champion, understanding the pain, mapping your solution, proving the ROI, finding out the competitors and differentiating and getting every department to “yes”) but they can’t follow the exact same process every time. They’re unmanageable. I’m unmanageable. We’re chaotic by nature. But in the end they know how to put the big wins on the board. They can smell the person who holds the purse strings in a company and how to gain access to them. They inspire trust in the buyers and they build long-term relationships. They’re not afraid to break a few eggs along the way – nothing ventured, nothing gained.  The buyer is more loyal to the maverick than to your company.  That’s OK.

Every organization needs maverick sales people. They hit your home runs. But … they DO NOT make good sales leaders. In fact, if they work in sales they shouldn’t have anybody reporting to them. They should go for the big wins and get all the support they need. I think I made a pretty good CEO but I know I would be lousy sales manager. Maybe like somebody who could run a restaurant but wouldn’t make a great chef?  To be a great sales manager you need to get a team of people to be able to follow your sales process methodically. You need to do weekly sales team calls, regular customer calls with your team, review their pipelines with them, find out when they’re BS’ing you, produce weekly forecasts, etc. Don’t confuse your mavericks who have the innate ability to sell with a potential VP of Sales that will need to run your team. The difference is PROCESS ORIENTATION.

Mavericks do work well in early-stage companies and are probably your best bet for you first hire or two. You need somebody who can lead evangelic sales and get referenceable clients that can be marketed later when you have your journeymen.

3. Superstars - These, as the name implies, are the rare breed of individuals who have the innate ability to sell and are very structured and process oriented. You get all the benefits of a maverick but with more reliability and predictability. You also get somebody who can work well with leverage. They’re able to manage and therefore harness the power of many journeymen to consistently deliver your sales numbers. I generally think that superstars are not the first people to hire in a startup. The best of them will require too much money and will be working for somebody else managing a team AND carrying a bag. Superstars are best to hire once you’ve got your product/market fit, proven your product will sell, hired a maverick and a few journeymen and now need to bring in leadership and structure to enable you to scale more quickly and predictably. If you found the right person who is a superstar and is ready to join your early-stage business I wouldn’t kick them to the curb. But … I question if they’re really a superstar if they’re willing to work for you at a super early stage. Have to ask yourself why. Or whether you have the wrong read on them.

4. Trouble – If you interview somebody who doesn’t seem like they’re religiously process-driven / can take good direction and if you don’t have the feeling that they could sell ice to the Eskimos then don’t hire them. They will not succeed at sales. Enough said.

In life I’ve found it useful to have little frameworks to try and interpret the world through.  They don’t always apply 100% of the time but they’re a useful way to shorthand.  The Journeymen, Mavericks and Superstars matrix has always suited me well and has stood the test of time.

Thank you to the lovely Jacqui for helping me with the Balsamiq mockup graphic.  LOVING Balsamiq!

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    Thanks. Learned this stuff the hard way.

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    Thanks. Learned this stuff the hard way.

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    You say you disagree, but in reading your reply, I'm not sure what I wrote that you disagree with. I didn't say that “ladder-climbers” belong at a start-up, and I said nothing about titles.

  • http://steamcatapult.com/ Dave Pinsen

    You say you disagree, but in reading your reply, I'm not sure what I wrote that you disagree with. I didn't say that “ladder-climbers” belong at a start-up, and I said nothing about titles.

  • EMS

    Sorry Dave – I was not clear. I was responding to “lack of career management skills” … I am sure you agree, in this space, it's far too dynamic to “plan” a career path. And I associate title huggers with corporate climbers. Guess I am subconsciously revealing a sensitivity to a bad experience ;) It seems we are in agreement.

  • EMS

    Sorry Dave – I was not clear. I was responding to “lack of career management skills” … I am sure you agree, in this space, it's far too dynamic to “plan” a career path. And I associate title huggers with corporate climbers. Guess I am subconsciously revealing a sensitivity to a bad experience ;) It seems we are in agreement.

  • http://reecepacheco.com reecepacheco

    Funny… that book's been on my Amazon wish-list for a long while…

  • http://reecepacheco.com reecepacheco

    Funny… that book's been on my Amazon wish-list for a long while…

  • johnmhill

    Interesting to read your thoughts on this matter. But, like most other thoughts on this topic they are just that, thoughts. You are right about sales process though, but this requires tight management and coaching which in my experience with start ups is rare
    The data (around half a million data points) shows that there are 21 core competencies, most of which can be trained They are listed here http://snipurl.com/va89o. A proper assessment will show the degrees with which those competencies are present. One of the factors that will be identified is the presence of an A type sales person – and far from being born the major critical factor is 5 years experience.
    The surprising results are that you can't expect A type sales people to stay more than 2 years – in fact only 16% of them do http://snipurl.com/vd6um.
    The only way to effectively hire sales people is by using pre hire screening where you screen immediately on receipt of the application (this avoids bias) http://snipurl.com/vd6x4. Once you have that past you can investigate any issues they have with sales process or any other shortfall.

  • johnmhill

    Interesting to read your thoughts on this matter. But, like most other thoughts on this topic they are just that, thoughts. You are right about sales process though, but this requires tight management and coaching which in my experience with start ups is rare
    The data (around half a million data points) shows that there are 21 core competencies, most of which can be trained They are listed here http://snipurl.com/va89o. A proper assessment will show the degrees with which those competencies are present. One of the factors that will be identified is the presence of an A type sales person – and far from being born the major critical factor is 5 years experience.
    The surprising results are that you can't expect A type sales people to stay more than 2 years – in fact only 16% of them do http://snipurl.com/vd6um.
    The only way to effectively hire sales people is by using pre hire screening where you screen immediately on receipt of the application (this avoids bias) http://snipurl.com/vd6x4. Once you have that past you can investigate any issues they have with sales process or any other shortfall.

  • davehendricks

    Love this post. Have one major beef with it. While I think that this is a great rubric, it doesn't apply to 'startups', at least not the 3 that I have worked for. It applies to companies that are shipping working reliable product. Many enterprise startups (the ones that have sales forces) don't qualify here.

    (As a matter of context and perspective I have been a VP Sales and EVP Sales & Marketing at startups (.500 successful exit record) and am currently the COO overseeing sales, ops, finance and hr at an early stage startup. I've also been responsible for a large public company sales number. I've been an individual contributor too. So i've seen all types and I've been considered a maverick in the past)

    At an early stage startup, often there is NOTHING to sell. The product is raw, there are no customer references and often the revenue model (and product) is immature.

    In this case there is only one kind of salesperson to hire, and that's a Superstar. Why?

    The superstar is not trouble – they are at the startup for the right reasons and probably have done this before.
    The superstar is not a maverick – they work closely with the rest of the team, a team that expecting to get intelligence from the prospects about what the market thinks about the product. They can manage too.
    The superstar is not a journeyman – while there is (and should be) process at a startup, this is not the Post Office. There are not cones set up for this person to navigate. They need to create the process in situ.

    The Superstars are your advance team. They market test your positioning. They have trusted clients that they can sell to and get quality feedback from, even when the product isn't ready. They can adjust to a changing business model and comp plans. They can help your product team. They can double as marketers when necessary. They can manage internal requirements (fulfillment process) as well as clients (buying and implementation process). They are much more than salespeople.

    Save the Mavericks and the Journeymen for when your company has a stable, shipping product that people will pay for. When it's early, get a superstar. Plus, since so many founders have ZERO sales experience (or even management experience), hiring a superstar will allow you to focus on the product and not on sales management.

  • davehendricks

    Love this post. Have one major beef with it. While I think that this is a great rubric, it doesn't apply to 'startups', at least not the 3 that I have worked for. It applies to companies that are shipping working reliable product. Many enterprise startups (the ones that have sales forces) don't qualify here.

    (As a matter of context and perspective I have been a VP Sales and EVP Sales & Marketing at startups (.500 successful exit record) and am currently the COO overseeing sales, ops, finance and hr at an early stage startup. I've also been responsible for a large public company sales number. I've been an individual contributor too. So i've seen all types and I've been considered a maverick in the past)

    At an early stage startup, often there is NOTHING to sell. The product is raw, there are no customer references and often the revenue model (and product) is immature.

    In this case there is only one kind of salesperson to hire, and that's a Superstar. Why?

    The superstar is not trouble – they are at the startup for the right reasons and probably have done this before.
    The superstar is not a maverick – they work closely with the rest of the team, a team that expecting to get intelligence from the prospects about what the market thinks about the product. They can manage too.
    The superstar is not a journeyman – while there is (and should be) process at a startup, this is not the Post Office. There are not cones set up for this person to navigate. They need to create the process in situ.

    The Superstars are your advance team. They market test your positioning. They have trusted clients that they can sell to and get quality feedback from, even when the product isn't ready. They can adjust to a changing business model and comp plans. They can help your product team. They can double as marketers when necessary. They can manage internal requirements (fulfillment process) as well as clients (buying and implementation process). They are much more than salespeople.

    Save the Mavericks and the Journeymen for when your company has a stable, shipping product that people will pay for. When it's early, get a superstar. Plus, since so many founders have ZERO sales experience (or even management experience), hiring a superstar will allow you to focus on the product and not on sales management.

  • shafqat

    Great question – I'd love to hear Mark expand on the sales team building/hiring process. I'm the CEO of a small startup (10 people, 7 engineers and 3 sales). Everyone says “find a young, maverick sales guy who's willing to work for equity.” Unfortunately, these people simply don't exist (or are incredibly hard to find). We've managed to find an awesome 'journeyman' who's willing to take a chance, but finding that maverick could change the company and help us hit it out of the park.

    How do you go about finding and then incentivizing mavericks without 6 figure salaries. We could raise VC and then pay them, but I'd like to get a 1 or 2 mavericks on board before any large capital infusion.

  • shafqat

    Great question – I'd love to hear Mark expand on the sales team building/hiring process. I'm the CEO of a small startup (10 people, 7 engineers and 3 sales). Everyone says “find a young, maverick sales guy who's willing to work for equity.” Unfortunately, these people simply don't exist (or are incredibly hard to find). We've managed to find an awesome 'journeyman' who's willing to take a chance, but finding that maverick could change the company and help us hit it out of the park.

    How do you go about finding and then incentivizing mavericks without 6 figure salaries. We could raise VC and then pay them, but I'd like to get a 1 or 2 mavericks on board before any large capital infusion.

  • lisahjorten

    Thanks for the post. You summarized perfectly what I have experienced personally over many years of hiring and managing salespeople. The trick is what to do with them as the company grows and its needs change. It's very hard to hire a VP of Sales over a Maverick but it eventually must be done. As a salesperson turned entrepreneur/CEO myself, it was interesting to see where I fit in way back when. A maverick, I'm sure.

  • lisahjorten

    Thanks for the post. You summarized perfectly what I have experienced personally over many years of hiring and managing salespeople. The trick is what to do with them as the company grows and its needs change. It's very hard to hire a VP of Sales over a Maverick but it eventually must be done. As a salesperson turned entrepreneur/CEO myself, it was interesting to see where I fit in way back when. A maverick, I'm sure.

  • http://www.salessigmaconsulting.com/ Chuck Overbeck

    Great post and I couldn't agree more. I hope it inspires sales professionals to begin a formal education in process improvement. We need more Superstars.

  • chuckoverbeck

    Great post and I couldn't agree more. I hope it inspires sales professionals to begin a formal education in process improvement. We need more Superstars.

  • bmconry

    So when I'm ready to hire a sales staff, I should go for one maverick, then two or three journey(wo)men? You make the point that the maverick cannot be managed. What's to say that, once hired, they won't blow up the business model and/or direction of my company? (But is it a bad thing if they do?)

  • bmconry

    So when I'm ready to hire a sales staff, I should go for one maverick, then two or three journey(wo)men? You make the point that the maverick cannot be managed. What's to say that, once hired, they won't blow up the business model and/or direction of my company? (But is it a bad thing if they do?)

  • http://www.peaksalesrecruiting.com/blog Eliot Burdett

    Great post. I am a 3x entrepreneur and know it is a rare type that can reliably sell without much support, brand recognition, or track record and amidst the choatic rollercoaster ride of an early stage. Now my clients come to me to find these types and it is no easy task.
    Eliot.
    peaksalesrecruiting.com/blog

  • http://www.peaksalesrecruiting.com/blog Eliot Burdett

    Great post. I am a 3x entrepreneur and know it is a rare type that can reliably sell without much support, brand recognition, or track record and amidst the choatic rollercoaster ride of an early stage. Now my clients come to me to find these types and it is no easy task.
    Eliot.
    peaksalesrecruiting.com/blog

  • Emily Merkle Snook

    Hello to all on this string,

    I am an 11 year vet of the interactive space, start-up centric, (even had my own last year), and am looking for a ground floor opportunity. In terms of this string, the categorization is in the eye of the beholder, but I believe I am on the spectrum of maverick-superstar. I want to work with people who are thinking in this vein discussed herein. Contact me if you'd like to open a dialog. You say it's hard to find the right salespeople…ditto for me to find people to work with who “get” it. You won't know me until you meet and we have a discourse. I look forward to inquiries.
    Emily Merkle Snook
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/merklesnook

  • Emily Merkle Snook

    Hello to all on this string,

    I am an 11 year vet of the interactive space, start-up centric, (even had my own last year), and am looking for a ground floor opportunity. In terms of this string, the categorization is in the eye of the beholder, but I believe I am on the spectrum of maverick-superstar. I want to work with people who are thinking in this vein discussed herein. Contact me if you'd like to open a dialog. You say it's hard to find the right salespeople…ditto for me to find people to work with who “get” it. You won't know me until you meet and we have a discourse. I look forward to inquiries.
    Emily Merkle Snook
    http://www.linkedin.com/in/merklesnook

  • http://www.repeatablesale.com/ Scott Barnett

    Sales reps of any kind are (better be) “coin operated” – they get conditioned to make a lot of money when they make sales – so if they don't see how they are going to quickly make sales with your company (which is a challenge at most startups) they will want/need some guarantee to come. That's why they typically (as Mark suggests) are not the founders of these companies – that's not the “risk” they are wired to take. They don't want to work for nothing while sales/revenue come in – they want to create and then take a piece of it.

    It's very hard to do, but if you really want to avoid the VC route and still attract Mavericks, give them a ridiculously high commission (compared to what they can get otherwise) on early sales with a lower base. So, they can see upside (as in more money) than with a traditional base/comp plan, and you don't have to pay more unless/until they get what you think is enough revenue/traction. Still tough, but the only thing I've seen work.

  • http://www.repeatablesale.com/ Scott Barnett

    Sales reps of any kind are (better be) “coin operated” – they get conditioned to make a lot of money when they make sales – so if they don't see how they are going to quickly make sales with your company (which is a challenge at most startups) they will want/need some guarantee to come. That's why they typically (as Mark suggests) are not the founders of these companies – that's not the “risk” they are wired to take. They don't want to work for nothing while sales/revenue come in – they want to create and then take a piece of it.

    It's very hard to do, but if you really want to avoid the VC route and still attract Mavericks, give them a ridiculously high commission (compared to what they can get otherwise) on early sales with a lower base. So, they can see upside (as in more money) than with a traditional base/comp plan, and you don't have to pay more unless/until they get what you think is enough revenue/traction. Still tough, but the only thing I've seen work.

  • http://www.repeatablesale.com/ Scott Barnett

    Dave,

    I was thinking the same thing as I read through the posting – why wouldn't you want your first hire to be a superstar at a startup? One of the challenges of startups is finding a repeatable sale – the example I like the most is “which aisle, which shelf”. The challenge with mavericks is they are *really* good at generating sales from nothing, but it may not be the type of sale you can build a company on – and they don't care about that, they just want to sell because they're really good at it, it's fun, and they know a lot of people who will buy from them “just because”. Steve Blank tells a really good story about this which is right on the money – http://bit.ly/cRAgI6.

    What I do like (a LOT) from Mark's post is the definitions of maverick and journeyman… much better than hunter and farmer (which I blogged about myself recently – http://bit.ly/9bfrU0).

    I'm also not clear on why a Maverick can't be a VP Sales but they can be a CEO. I would personally like to see at least *some* process out of a CEO – since the culture of the company is going to emanate from her, I'm not sure a pure Maverick makes sense as CEO.

  • http://www.repeatablesale.com/ Scott Barnett

    Dave,

    I was thinking the same thing as I read through the posting – why wouldn't you want your first hire to be a superstar at a startup? One of the challenges of startups is finding a repeatable sale – the example I like the most is “which aisle, which shelf”. The challenge with mavericks is they are *really* good at generating sales from nothing, but it may not be the type of sale you can build a company on – and they don't care about that, they just want to sell because they're really good at it, it's fun, and they know a lot of people who will buy from them “just because”. Steve Blank tells a really good story about this which is right on the money – http://bit.ly/cRAgI6.

    What I do like (a LOT) from Mark's post is the definitions of maverick and journeyman… much better than hunter and farmer (which I blogged about myself recently – http://bit.ly/9bfrU0).

    I'm also not clear on why a Maverick can't be a VP Sales but they can be a CEO. I would personally like to see at least *some* process out of a CEO – since the culture of the company is going to emanate from her, I'm not sure a pure Maverick makes sense as CEO.

  • Guest

    And also, how can a Maverick find the right opportunities and long term stability? By definition, they are somewhat discontent working in the structured teams that develop as companies grow.

  • Guest

    And also, how can a Maverick find the right opportunities and long term stability? By definition, they are somewhat discontent working in the structured teams that develop as companies grow.

  • davehendricks

    I love Mark's definitions too. Most non-sales people don't even have two classifications, let alone a quadrant, to describe the different types of sales people.

    I find hiring salespeople to be very challenging. Unlike developers, who can be tested/teched, sales people are notoriously difficult to assess during an interview. Clearly a good sales person can ace that process, whether they are a marverick, journeyman, or superstar. Even 'trouble' can interview well.

    My only beef, as I noted, was the idea that an early stage startup needs someone other than a superstar. Also, CEOs need to be nuts, for sure, but they also need to have some appreciation for the process or else how does the company scale?

    Thanks for the links to the other articles!

    Dave

  • davehendricks

    I love Mark's definitions too. Most non-sales people don't even have two classifications, let alone a quadrant, to describe the different types of sales people.

    I find hiring salespeople to be very challenging. Unlike developers, who can be tested/teched, sales people are notoriously difficult to assess during an interview. Clearly a good sales person can ace that process, whether they are a marverick, journeyman, or superstar. Even 'trouble' can interview well.

    My only beef, as I noted, was the idea that an early stage startup needs someone other than a superstar. Also, CEOs need to be nuts, for sure, but they also need to have some appreciation for the process or else how does the company scale?

    Thanks for the links to the other articles!

    Dave

  • matkinson

    Great post Mark.

    Are mavericks a good option as the first or only sales resource for a SaaS startup?

    SaaS companies generate a lot of leads very quickly as word gets out and people start taking free trials. Those leads need to be managed systematically which means having someone with process smarts on board early. Some of those leads will be “big game” and ideal for maverick big game hunters, but a larger number will be smaller opportunities that need to be nurtured in a more process-driven way.

  • matkinson

    Great post Mark.

    Are mavericks a good option as the first or only sales resource for a SaaS startup?

    SaaS companies generate a lot of leads very quickly as word gets out and people start taking free trials. Those leads need to be managed systematically which means having someone with process smarts on board early. Some of those leads will be “big game” and ideal for maverick big game hunters, but a larger number will be smaller opportunities that need to be nurtured in a more process-driven way.

  • chuckoverbeck

    I am surprised by all this writing about looking for the Maverick and not the Superstar. I would take the Superstar over the Maverick in any situation. When I think of the Maverick it reminds me of something I always tell my kids, “Rebellion without reason is a temper tantrum.”

  • chuckoverbeck

    I am surprised by all this writing about looking for the Maverick and not the Superstar. I would take the Superstar over the Maverick in any situation. When I think of the Maverick it reminds me of something I always tell my kids, “Rebellion without reason is a temper tantrum.”

  • http://www.nnnlp.com/ Doug MacDonald, VP Digital

    Nice. In my experience “Maverick” can also be known as “Shark.” They are high energy sales people who are very self-aware and whose insatiable appetites are nourished by both praise and commission. They stop at nothing to get the deal done, while at the same time they demand that all internal resources stand ready to provide them whatever they need, whenever they need it.

    Managers come to depend on them to hit those home runs. But as time passes and egos swell, resentment toward The Shark builds internally. If the business struggles (as all do at some point), and The Shark is the largest producer on the team, the Manager can feel as though he/she is held over a barrel.

    My advice — keep the Shark in check from Day 1.

  • http://www.nnnlp.com/ Doug MacDonald, VP Digital

    Nice. In my experience “Maverick” can also be known as “Shark.” They are high energy sales people who are very self-aware and whose insatiable appetites are nourished by both praise and commission. They stop at nothing to get the deal done, while at the same time they demand that all internal resources stand ready to provide them whatever they need, whenever they need it.

    Managers come to depend on them to hit those home runs. But as time passes and egos swell, resentment toward The Shark builds internally. If the business struggles (as all do at some point), and The Shark is the largest producer on the team, the Manager can feel as though he/she is held over a barrel.

    My advice — keep the Shark in check from Day 1.

  • http://www.cigreds.com/ Electronic Cigarette Girl

    Agreed. great post and a great breakdown of sales people in general. Its unfortunate but its true, you are usually not going to find a superstar and if you do find a maverick, you have to figure out how much bullshit you want to deal with and if its worth the money hes making you :)

    -Bella

  • http://www.cigreds.com/ Electronic Cigarette Girl

    Agreed. great post and a great breakdown of sales people in general. Its unfortunate but its true, you are usually not going to find a superstar and if you do find a maverick, you have to figure out how much bullshit you want to deal with and if its worth the money hes making you :)

    -Bella

  • http://www.facebook.com/johndelrio johndelrio

    Great explantion of things, Mark. I see the same natural types as well. I know what type I consider myself. I would be very curious to see what those who have worked with me think I am. I know one thing for sure, for me to be able to succeed at selling a product, I have to be able to believe in that product 100% and have no reservations about the product being top shelf in watever category it is in. If not, I couldn't sell water to the Saudis.

    Thanks for the excellent post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/johndelrio johndelrio

    Great explantion of things, Mark. I see the same natural types as well. I know what type I consider myself. I would be very curious to see what those who have worked with me think I am. I know one thing for sure, for me to be able to succeed at selling a product, I have to be able to believe in that product 100% and have no reservations about the product being top shelf in watever category it is in. If not, I couldn't sell water to the Saudis.

    Thanks for the excellent post.

  • bradlebo

    Insightful post. Thanks. You're a thought leader worth following

  • bradlebo

    Insightful post. Thanks. You're a thought leader worth following

  • http://twitter.com/edgebrent Brent Chapman

    I found your post thought provoking. I have been on both sides (literally) of this post. As a founder of two start-ups as well as doing sales within large organizations (Cablevision) and start-ups. I have been the maverick when required, at times I have felt like a journeymen and some may think I can be a superstar. The commonality to all of this, whether founder or salesperson is product. Does the product kick ass! I might be the world's greatest sales person, but if your product sucks, I likely can't sell it. See I think this post simplifies things a bit. I am both process driven when required but evangelical when needed. I have sold all, bad products and good products. The key–the absolute key is great product. As a founder before you even look to bring in that salesperson please make sure that your product is saleable. That you have something that is presentable-not half baked. I may have the key contacts at every agency and have had drinks with all of them before but if your product sucks or you are asking too much for a unit or what not, it just won't sell, superstar, maverick, journeymen or whatever label you have!

    Thank you-as they say on sports talk radio–long time listener, first time caller!

  • http://twitter.com/edgebrent Brent Chapman

    I found your post thought provoking. I have been on both sides (literally) of this post. As a founder of two start-ups as well as doing sales within large organizations (Cablevision) and start-ups. I have been the maverick when required, at times I have felt like a journeymen and some may think I can be a superstar. The commonality to all of this, whether founder or salesperson is product. Does the product kick ass! I might be the world's greatest sales person, but if your product sucks, I likely can't sell it. See I think this post simplifies things a bit. I am both process driven when required but evangelical when needed. I have sold all, bad products and good products. The key–the absolute key is great product. As a founder before you even look to bring in that salesperson please make sure that your product is saleable. That you have something that is presentable-not half baked. I may have the key contacts at every agency and have had drinks with all of them before but if your product sucks or you are asking too much for a unit or what not, it just won't sell, superstar, maverick, journeymen or whatever label you have!

    Thank you-as they say on sports talk radio–long time listener, first time caller!

  • http://themicropreneur.wordpress.com Tommy Jaye

    In general, most Americans do not like selling, being sold to or engaging in transactional negotiations. As a result, selling is often the last career path that most of us would pursue. To those who do, there seems to be some DNA influence as well as some early experiential nurturing that spawns one's interest in becoming a sales professsional.

    Mavericks and superstars, in particular, tend to understand that while recognizing the following:

    1. Relationships matter.

    2. Communication skills are vital.

    3. The system & the process are only as good as they are.

    4. Closing the deal starts long before first contact.

    5. Follow-up creates growth and sustainability.

  • http://themicropreneur.wordpress.com Tommy Jaye

    In general, most Americans do not like selling, being sold to or engaging in transactional negotiations. As a result, selling is often the last career path that most of us would pursue. To those who do, there seems to be some DNA influence as well as some early experiential nurturing that spawns one's interest in becoming a sales professsional.

    Mavericks and superstars, in particular, tend to understand that while recognizing the following:

    1. Relationships matter.

    2. Communication skills are vital.

    3. The system & the process are only as good as they are.

    4. Closing the deal starts long before first contact.

    5. Follow-up creates growth and sustainability.

  • https://prakki.blogspot.com Prakash Gurumoorthy

    Well articulated Mark on the sales personalities! Mavericks are good at “hunting” and “journeymen” are good at “farming”. Typically start-ups have a feasibility issue hiring superstars and they have always balance between the two personalities and coach them. I also believe that mavericks have a high overhead by utility ratio.

  • https://prakki.blogspot.com Prakash Gurumoorthy

    Well articulated Mark on the sales personalities! Mavericks are good at “hunting” and “journeymen” are good at “farming”. Typically start-ups have a feasibility issue hiring superstars and they have always balance between the two personalities and coach them. I also believe that mavericks have a high overhead by utility ratio.