Old School, New School – Heads Down vs Heads Up!

I’m hiring for an account manager and as I am working through the process I’m noticing something.  There are two camps of sales people; old school and new school.  I’ve been sensing a trend here, but it’s becoming more obvious to me and the hiring process is driving it home.

The chasm is an old school vs new school mentality.

The old school is a more formal, relationship based, been there and done that mentality.  The old school sees little value in social media, they rely heavily on experience, the rolodex, show-up and throw up selling.  Old school moves a little slower, rely heavily on their offline network, because they don’t have an online network.  They tend to scoff at Twitter and Facebook as sales tools.  They are hierarchical, uncomfortable with coaching and less formal relationships.  They measure their success on quota and little else.  Personal development, growth, innovation etc, don’t register.  It’s all too superfluous.  Old school sales people are heads down nose to the grind stone sales people, because that’s how it has always worked.

New school sales people are less formal.  They embrace relationships, but aren’t bound by them.  They manage both strong AND weak-ties in their selling.  They are constantly scanning the landscape for new innovative ideas to help in the sales process. New school sales people don’t accept hierarchy as a given and are less bound by formality.  They are more open to coaching, are more innovative and accepting of change.  They understand that their customers are changing, their customers are in different places, are super busy, don’t have time for golf, dinner and entertainment.  They are more technologically savvy and use it to their advantage.  New school sales people measure themselves on quota but also on how well their solution helped their customer.  They are not afraid to share and don’t look to control information.  New school sales people are less committed to the past as a determinant of the future. New school sales people people sell heads up.

Both old school and new school sell using sales processes.  The both leverage questions.  They both prospect.  They both use CRM systems.  They both can be successful.  They both fail.  The major difference is in how they do these things.   Old school operates from what they know, forgoing the changes in communication, interaction, and engagement.  New school has embraced the changes in communication, interaction and engagement or have never known any different and they use them to their benefit.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.  Will there be room for both?  Will old school have to change?  Is new school just a fad?

Either way it’s apparent to me — there are are two camps.

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