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One of the questions I often get asked is whether companies should be looking for more people with the same personality traits or should they hire for balance. When it comes to sales and marketing departments, there are two completely different answers. 

Sales

In a sales organization, the majority of people are individual contributing sales representatives. The largest cohort (sales reps) are then supported by managers, sales ops and others that help the sales team perform at a higher level. 

High performing outbound sales reps have three specific personality traits. This is where you want everyone to be the same or very similar. They are motivated the same way, respond similarly to competition and have the same quirks, all which can be managed because they are a distinct group. 

Another sub group in sales is inbound sales. They have three distinct personality traits which are different from outbound sales reps. If you are building a large inbound team, they will all be very similar as well. 

Both of these are scenarios where you don’t want diversity from a personality trait perspective. The balance will come from the supporting team. A sales operations person will be more methodical and have different skills than other members of the sales team. 

Marketing

Marketing is where diversity of personality traits is an absolute requirement. The analytical marketer is a fundamentally different person than a social media marketer who is different from a marketing manager. This is why it is nearly impossible to hire a “marketer” that can deliver on all kinds of marketing initiatives. If you need a breadth of services, you will more often find a marketing person that is good at delegating different tasks to different resources based on skill set. 

Balance and diversity of personality is what gets the myriad of marketing tasks completed. Lack of diversity will create instances where something is getting missed. A common issue that I hear about is when the business leader can’t get data on how much was spent on all marketing campaigns and how many closed won deals were created from those campaigns. 

The reason is that the team has a number of creative marketers but doesn’t have an analytical marketer or marketing technologist on the team. They are trying to get analytical data from people who think in colors instead of numbers. 

Any time you are building or adding to a high performing team, you must think about whether that team needs a diverse set of personalities or a large cohort of very similar people. Design with the end goal in mind, understand how each is motivated and ensure that the right people are being added to the team.