Van Gogh or Monet? Picasso or Warhol? Or, perhaps even from left field, Gaudi or Rodin?
Difficult to choose a preference? You bet it is. Naturally, it depends on what you like, but in a professional context more pertinent factors are what need and purpose is being served.
Perhaps more relevant points of focus in practical terms are the last two iconic names: Gaudi and Rodin. Rodin the sculptor and Gaudi the architect. Gaudi, in particular, represents that special amalgamation of the worlds of science and art. One look at his masterpiece, La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona, precisely confirms this. That it is a piece of awe-inspiring art is undeniable, but who could deny its validity as a triumph of science and engineering excellence too?
Sales has similarities as a fusion of both domains of science and art. Debates as to whether the Sales vocation is an art or a science have raged across the decades. It is fair to say that the amount of art versus the amount of science required in each discipline on the Sales spectrum does vary greatly. Some Sales functions or tasks are perhaps more ‘paint by numbers’ in nature due to the formulaic process driven aspects of a defined methodology such as Playbook Sales.
For one notable area, the initial Sales position in a tech startup business, the Pathfinder, is a standout with none better as an example of it being an art form within the Sales discipline. It is always characterized by a blank canvas, supported by little more than a vision of what is desired to be created, backed by an imagination and experience of how to get there.
The former attributes represent the ‘art’ parts and the latter elements the ‘science’ pieces. Each pathway created to a scalable, repeatable, predictable, profitable business (the primary function of the Pathfinder) represents the best of art and science working in unison in terms of vision, planning, execution and success, all underpinned by an ingredient of creativity.
Having made the analogy and contrast between Pathfinder Sales and the world of art, where does the rubber hit the road from a Pathfinder hiring perspective? I am inclined to answer that rhetorical question with another illustrating question, how might you go about recruiting an artist-architect? Where would you start? What would you look for? Not easy to figure out.
Reputation, achievements, and track record might be good starting points, the vocational attributes, but is this anywhere near enough? Almost certainly not, primarily because none of the aforementioned attributes addresses suitability and applicability for purpose, mission, need. Consistent research has shown this to be the number one challenge for startups.
What is necessary is to look deeper to assess the deep skills and capabilities. The unearthing of fundamental Pathfinder traits such as curiosity, motivation, an ability to thrive in ambiguity and a need to build something. Typically, as previously outlined in this blog, one recurrent mistake startup Founders make is searching for archetypal salespeople, usually those of the Playbook variety.
Founders, in most cases, place job advertisements for ‘Pathfinder Sales’ hires (their actual need) but then list up the profile and characteristics of a ‘Playbook Sales’ person (their perceived need). By their very nature and at source, a startup business does not yet have a ‘Playbook’ for selling their tech proposition, ergo why would the Founder be looking for a ‘Playbook Sales’ profile to fulfil their need?
At The Right Five we have developed a solution. We have spent years researching into exactly this challenge and within our own Founder ranks have both the vocational knowledge-ware and technical expertise for unearthing such attributes amongst the candidates who will apply.
Using our automated, cloud-based tool suite you will have the means at your disposal to derive the optimal five (or more or fewer, your call) Pathfinder candidates for interview. You will be able to see how the conclusions were reached, backed up with evidence-based data at your fingertips via your personalized, secure dashboard.
Pathfinder Sales is, as stated, a zenith of art meeting science, but so too is the recruitment process. Welcome to The Right Five, developed to get you the right one.