What does the Future Sales Force Look Like?

I have been spending the past few weeks asking the above question to financial sales executives across the country for a panel that is being put together for a fall  national conference.

It seems that with all the turmoil in the financial industry there are two sets of response I receive–one is shell-shocked and just talks about getting thru the day and the other while thoughtful seems to be saying that the customer will be demanding a more informed sales person. As one person said, rookies are out and gray hair is in.

Of course, they do not really mean gray hair is what they are looking for because the industry is giving gray hairs to a fair number of people today regardless of their talent. No, they mean that companies will be demanding that the sales person demonstrate an ability to keep customers, develop relationships and have a broad knowledge of the financial industry. I then ask  my survey participants shouldn\’t that of been the goal of the sales staff before anyway? So let\’s assume that we all agree the sales force must meet the company\’s demands. Here is where it gets iffy–if we recruit only experienced relationship building sales people at some point companies will not be able to find these types of people because all agree the best are few in number. And, if everyone is doing the same thing then the price for sales talent goes thru the roof.

So what should a company do?

The next few weeks I will share my thoughts on a topic that is critical but frankly I do not see alot of discssion regarding it–so let me know your thoughts as I will share some radical ideas whose time has finally come to the financial sector.