Updated August 2022
Focusing on personality type is an easy way to move from being an average to an excellent coach.
In fact, 80% of Fortune 100 organizations use some form of a personality test to grow their teams and develop teamwork within their organization better.
Companies who are continuously investing in understanding the personality type of their employees are able to target members by strengthening their weaknesses, nourishing their strengths, and maximizing their learning opportunities. This works exceptionally in 1:1 coaching settings across diverse teams, where members can range from those fresh out of college to veterans who switched careers.
However, with the variety of personality tests available, there isn’t one definitive guide. In this article, we decided to focus on four personality types a sales manager might encounter on their sales team and the best approach to combine successful sales coaching with each one. (If you’re still not sure what sales personality type you or your team members are, now would be a good time to check out our quiz and find out for yourself!)
The Hunter goes by many names, but we’re all familiar with this quintessential sales personality. Alec Baldwin in Glengarry Glen Ross. Gordon Gekko in Wall Street. It’s the image we conjure when we think of salespeople.
“That watch costs more than your car. I made $970,000 last year. How much’d you make?” – Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross.
The Hunter’s personality is often described as dominating – they like to be in control of the situation and drive the sales process from start to finish. They are aggressive, quick, to the point, and nothing will stop them from achieving their goals and closing a sale. It’s the thrill of the chase that motivates them, and they like to operate at their own pace, style, and rhythm.
Highly skilled at their craft, Hunters value autonomy. They crave freedom, despise regulation, and will shut down when they feel like they’re being micromanaged.
Paired with their results-oriented mentality, Hunters should be approached directly with insights backed by facts. They won’t tolerate wasted time, and their focus is always on driving outcomes.
Hunters are goal-oriented and to the point, and coaching them should be as well. Key focus areas should be:
- Facts over feelings – Use metrics and data to demonstrate improvement areas.
- Organization – Have a detailed plan of action with a business approach.
- Autonomy – Don’t tell, just guide. Give the seller different methods that they can explore individually.
- Turn it into a challenge – For example: Tell a Hunter that Joe was able to get X amount of meetings using a particular sales technique and make their goal higher. Turn it into a competition!
This personality type is on a constant quest for knowledge.
They are methodical and systematic in their approach, and love to use facts, figures, and data to inform their sales process. They ask a lot of questions to seek out the full picture of their solution, and do so with a passion for precision and perfection.
If your goal is to know and understand every single detail of your solution, Analytics are your go-to people.
With a desire to know all of the facts, they might seem hesitant to proceed otherwise. In order to align with their more methodical, calculated approach, managers should rely less on emotion and more on figures and data.
Since the Analytic operates with facts and figures more so than emotion, it’s important to come prepared with solid metrics and data. What pains them the most is being wrong or inaccurate. Expect them to take more time with new information; their care will benefit the team in the long run. Here are a few approaches to coaching this personality type:
- Facts, figures, and metrics – Use data-driven evidence to pinpoint and approach improvement areas.
- Listen in – Join a sales call and provide insights into where they may have focused too much on the figures and less on closing the deal.
- Tip: Live call studio is a great way to provide feedback in real time and help navigate the conversation if they are stuck.
- Compliment their knowledge and precision – The Analytic takes pride in being seen as a knowledgeable resource. Encourage them accordingly!
- Don’t get too personal – Leave emotion at the door and focus on the facts.
Relationship builders are your built-in-besties. Contrary to the Analytic, they’re personable, welcoming, warm, and focused on the relationship. Their objective is to be liked and thought of as a good listener.
During the sales process, they check-in regularly, engage on a personal level, and are always focused on what they can do for their customers. Their devotion to a great customer relationship and buying experience is unparalleled.
On a team level, the Relationship Builder prioritizes team over self and displays consistent loyalty to the people they work with. They come across as calm and collected and will welcome you with open arms to their social circle.
At times, the business and personal relationship can become blurred. Their need to be liked can get personal and lead to conflict, so it’s important to focus on keeping the relationship professional. Discounts and price negotiation may be opportunities for extra coaching, as the Relationship Builder wants to be viewed as a friend to their customer. Change and chaos make them uncomfortable and can make them retreat. As a manager, be aware of these situations and provide the Relationship Builder with a little extra support and encouragement.
Relationship building is a key to sales, but it’s important to focus on where to draw the line with this personality type. These are the kids in school who were continually sent to the timeout chair (not that we’d know anything about that…). They’re a lot of fun, but they need to be reminded to focus on their own work. If a seller spends too much time making small talk, they can unnecessarily prolong the sale.
Coaches should mirror their personality type and remain calm, relaxed, and agreeable. Use the word “we” to make the conversation feel inclusive. Coaching opportunities for this personality include:
- Live call coaching – Drop in on calls to gain insight into where the rep might be spending too much time on personal discussions. Then, you can help the rep understand an appropriate balance of small talk and selling.
- Analyze call length – Take a metric-driven approach by reviewing call length to ensure the rep spends the optimal amount of time with prospects. Too much time on calls can result in lost opportunities.
- Create feedback cycles – Using “we” in the conversation is one way to do this, but go beyond that to learning how they best receive feedback. What can “we” do better? Make coaching a team effort with this personality type.
- Focus on the close – The Relationship Builder may be reluctant to push their customer to close for fear of damaging the relationship. Spend time role-playing with them, so they’re more comfortable asking for the sale.
A people-person is an excellent asset to any sales team. They are warm, welcoming, and agreeable and help to nurture long-term relationships with their clients. Keep the focus on strengths and where to develop them.
After all, they probably have a great personality, and personality has a significant impact on success.
“Stronger together” is a Herder’s motto. As the ultimate group advocate, the Herder finds strength as a leader, even if they may not be the manager. Their supportive and collaborative nature brings synergy to team dynamics, and they automatically appear as the leader among their peers.
With a preference to share the spotlight rather than hog the glory, Herders are focused on the performance of their team in addition to their work. They view themselves as the glue that holds everyone together, and the success of their peers is just as important as their own.
Because they tend to see themselves as a leader, they can encroach on the actual manager’s role. It’s not intentional, but it can cause frustration and confusion.
They tend to lose focus on their metrics in favor of supporting the team. In their own sales process, they may shy away from being direct with customers to avoid rocking the boat.
Leverage a Herder’s ability to resonate with the team to gain leadership buy-in. From there, optimize their coaching experience by aligning your strategy with some of these methods:
- Career Guidance – If their strength is being a leader, create a path for getting there. Align their personal development with career objectives.
- Provide leadership opportunities – A good leader allows others to shine. Setting a Herder up for mentorship opportunities boosts confidence and plays off strengths.
- Peer to Peer training – If it’s group strength they yearn for, then help bring them together with peers for training opportunities.
Casual interactions between leadership and sellers are not enough to make a coaching impact. Interactions must be intentional and valuable to all sellers, at all stages of their journey.
Structured guidance that highlights specific strategies and aligns with different needs allows coaches to maximize their influence. At the same time, middle and low-performing sellers can transition into high performers, while those who have already reached the top can maintain their pace.
Integrating four common sales personalities into your approach is just the beginning. To learn more, reach out today and start 1:1 coaching with Salesloft.