The sales landscape has changed dramatically since we originally published this blog several years ago, and now, more than ever, sales professionals are pondering how they fit into their buyers’ decision-making process. Since it remains one of the most popular blogs in our library, we decided to give it an update to reflect today’s sensibilities and buyers’ demands. We hope you find it useful!
It’s not easy to hide in plain sight. This is especially true when your job is to be a visible ambassador for a company and its products. Indeed, for as long as there have been salespeople, there have been efforts by those same people to escape the stigma that the title seems to convey.
Today, you’ll see far more transactors of products and services adopt terms like account, client, partner, and relationship for their titles than the overt “s-word.”
Of course, there are myriad reasons for this — both good and bad. On the positive side of the ticker, many of these new terms are being employed to convey a truer sense of the trust paradigm than many contemporary salespeople ascribe to.
On the downside of the ledger is a reputational crisis caused by some bad apples. A Hubspot survey found that only 19 percent of consumers trusted salespeople. And, in a Monster.com survey, many consumers complained that salespeople were inconsistent, pushy, aggressive, and dishonest.
But that same crowd said that thoroughness and follow-through (71 percent) and market knowledge and good communication (65 percent) were the best traits of salespeople — perhaps giving rise to titles that better reflect this hero status.
Choosing the best title for sales professionals — our preferred catch-all term here at The Brooks Group — can certainly be a nuanced affair. That’s why we’ve compiled an exhaustive (but by no means complete) list of contemporary job titles for sales professionals.
If you have one of these titles, there’s a pretty good chance you’re a sales professional…
- Account Achievement Visionary
- Account Associate
- Account Consultant
- Account Executive
- Account Growth Manager
- Account Manager
- Account Representative
- Account Specialist
- Business Developer
- Business Development Specialist
- Client Advisor
- Client Engagement Specialist
- Client Growth Specialist
- Client Success Consultant
- Client Success Manager
- Closer (LOL!)
- Customer Engagement Representative
- Director of Sales
- In-Home Consultant
- No Title At All
- Relationship Manager
- Results Achievement Specialist
- Sales Consultant
- Sales Director
- Sales Engineer
- Sales Professional
- Sales Representative
Just to prove we’ve plumbed the depths of the sales title archives, here are a few we’ve heard but wish we hadn’t…
- Merchant [admirable in the 19th century]
- Clerk [too close to a vending machine]
- Dealer [smoke and mirrors]
- Peddler [where’s the bike?]
- Hawker [that just sounds disgusting]
Taking a profession seriously can be tough for salespeople if they’re afraid of the sales title that goes along with it. More important, using a pseudonym to cover the real purpose of a role sends a subtle message to a prospective buyer that you have something to hide.
Most B2B buyers in today’s marketplace know that “Business Development Professional,” “Relationship Manager,” or “Account Executive” all translate into “Salesperson.” So, for those interested in downplaying the obvious, this isn’t a tactic that is going to go very far.
Why Try to Cover Up Your Role as a Sales Professional?
Many looking for an alternative title to “salesperson” are actually looking for a way to position themselves (or their team of salespeople) more favorably with prospects and clients.
However, adding a different title to your business card isn’t going to go very far in that regard.
So, perhaps the path to a more trusted and valued relationship with prospects and clients, doesn’t lie in the title, or how great you are, or how important your quota is. Instead, you must shift your focus from yourself (and your quota) to your customer—and their wants and needs.
Gain Trust and Improve Your Positioning with a Consultative Selling Process
Worry less about the job title on your business card, and let your actions build credibility for you and your company by doing things like:
- Upgrading your strategic questioning skills
- Becoming a strategic advisor, not an interruptive product-pusher
- Identifying highly-qualified prospects; asking to meet with them in a professional, respectful and valuable way; and helping them understand how your advice, products and services will be beneficial to achieving their business goals
- Recommending solutions that may (or may not) include your offerings
- Following up with prospects and customers and ensuring quality customer service
- Staying on top of industry trends and sharing these with your customers and prospects
Successful selling isn’t about using gimmicks or persuading a prospect to purchase something they don’t need. It is about using a consultative approach to identify their challenges, and uncovering their wants and needs in order to recommend an appropriate solution.
IMPACT Selling is a straightforward, buyer-focused sales process that allows salespeople to confidently guide their prospects and customers through to the close.
The system, used for nearly 45 years by thousands of sales teams around the world, begins before a salesperson ever makes contact with a prospect—setting them up for success during every interaction.
Consider our Live IMPACT Selling® Seminar Professional Sales Training Program for your team. They’ll learn the essentials of a consultative selling approach that’s simple, flexible, and buyer focused. Your team will gain a command of how to meet prospects and customers where they are in the buying process to maintain alignment, build credibility, improve the predictability of your sales funnel, and engage in meaningful dialogue that progresses the sale.