Small Businesses Want Sales Reps That Embody “Trusted Advisors”

As many traditional print organizations are going through transformation efforts, we thought it would be beneficial to ask SMBs what characteristics they look for in sales reps. Results show that key attributes include showing benefits/results, having expertise in advertising for small businesses, and being trusted. When rating existing reps to the desired attributes consultants/trusted advisors ranked the highest. Traditional media reps fell to the bottom.


Source: Thrive Analytics, “Local Pulse Survey”, August 2013. (Attributes and performance rated on a 0-5 point scale)


SMBs need help and don’t have time to become media experts. They are busy dealing with the daily activities of running their businesses. While SMBs are currently working with 2-5 providers, they are willing to work with one agency/provider. Providers that can have their sales reps embody a Trusted Advisor relationship will win. This is easy to say but more difficult to do especially with larger organizations that have 1,000s of reps in different parts of the country. Change only happens when people begin behaving differently. Effective change efforts are successful when companies and teams focus on the “Bright Spots” which are those situations and behaviors that are effective and exemplary of what is required for success. Once identified, they can be codified and replicated throughout the organization through coaching and training, certifications and talent management.

Some key steps your organization can do to have your sales reps embody a Trusted Advisor are as follows:

  • Identify the “Bright Spots” of your organization. What are the key characteristics that make them effective as sales reps.
  • Incorporate these characteristics into your organizations talent management process and hire and recruit to them via behavioral assessments.
  • Identify the key steps of the sales process. Codify these steps into a simple roadmap that anyone can follow.
  • Incorporate these changes into the sales training material.
  • Coach, certify, and monitor reps based on key areas of the steps of the sales process.
  • Monitor the performance via a holistic CEO dashboard that focuses on lead measures verses lag measures.




Jason Peaslee

Jason Peaslee is the Managing Partner of Thrive Analytics, a marketing research and analytics consulting firm. His career spans more than 20 years in marketing, advertising, product development, research, and business management. Before founding Thrive Analytics in 2010, he held several senior leadership roles at AT&T, Reynolds & Reynolds, Berry Network, & The Berry Company.

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