The Four Types of Sales People — and Which One You Should Hire

January 21, 2014

A few months ago, one of the VPs of Sales in our portfolio shared a document with our Talent team called “The Four Kinds of Sales People,” based on the categories defined by Chuck Mache, author of the book by the same name. The VP of Sales uses this document as a double-check for himself to ensure he is hiring the right type of sales person for his organization, and it’s something I’ve now adopted into my thought process while conducting sales interviews, as well.

The Four Types of Sales People

1) The Producer

  • Qualities: emotional, intuitive, passionate, very competitive, extroverted, impatient, has a large ego, a top producer.
  • This person is a top performer who has a very Type ‘A’ personality. He or she gets deals done, but sometimes stresses the supporting elements within the organization.

2) The Professional

  • Qualities: even tempered, analytical, logical, quietly competitive, has an internal passion, patient, has a controlled ego, a top producer.
  • This person possesses ideal characteristics. He or she is a top performer who aligns well with the organization, uses resources wisely, and delivers results consistently.

3) The Caretaker

  • Qualities: stuck in their comfort zone, doesn’t do difficult, hates change, passive-aggressive, inconsistent producer, sleeping professional.
  • This person has potential, but is stuck in a comfort zone that renders their performance between deficient and average. This person needs to take risks, become more open to coaching, and needs to change their game. In doing so, they can become the Professional. If not, a “farming” role may be suitable.

4) The Technician

  • Qualities: perceives sales as easy, follows the process, does not see results, views the world in black & white, has trouble connecting the dots, thinks there is always a better territory.
  • This person does not do the hard things required to become successful. Prior successes have largely been “set-ups” or cycles where others contributed significantly to a success. Accountability is lacking, and lack of performance is always due to territory, the product, or timing. This person needs to enhance their game, or be managed out.

So, Who Should You Hire?

Throughout your interview process, try to find and hire the Professional.

The Professional is ideal for any sales role that is generating new business. There may be times when you want to hire the Producer for a hunter role, as well, but that person will be more successful if you as a manager understand what you are getting into ahead of time. That person may need to be managed differently in order to have a positive impact on your organization.

Image by Bill Dickinson

VP, Human Capital

<strong>Diana Martz</strong> is Vice President, Human Capital at<a href="">TA Associates</a>. She was previously the Director of Talent at OpenView.