Key personality traits fit the various stages of the business development lifecycle, as shown in the table below.

Lifecycle Stages and People’s Personalities

Stage of the Business Development Lifecycle Personality of Your Team Member
EDUCATE: Served by marketing Typically creative, detail-oriented (every word matters). Not always great with numbers (although detail orientation can help overcome this).
PRESENT: Served by sales Self-confident, loves to mingle, relate to people, perform. Prefers talking to writing. Willing to take risks.
PROPOSE: Served by subject-matter experts Authoritative. Can be arrogant, but takes great pride in expert knowledge. Cautious about commitment.
CONTRACT: Served by proposal writers, contract people Fanatical about detail. Leaves nothing up in the air or uncertain. Accounts for every possibility (of what may go wrong).
DELIVER AND COMPLETE: Served by subject-matter experts, project and account managers Lives in a task-driven world. Loves lists. Can push back quite hard if the customer asks for flexibility. Gets the job done, no matter what.
EVALUATE AND INVENT: Served by executives/strategists/visionaries and also by quality control, finance people Interested in the big picture, the broad sweep of things, but can also lock onto detail. Inspires the customer, but sometimes thinks things can be done more easily or quickly than they can. Looks for new possibilities and aims to find what’s positive. Loves to create new business ideas.

By contrast, the quality/finance folks are judgmental and number-oriented, and are looking for problems and what not to do next time and why the CEO’s next idea won’t work!

When you’re a small company, people who carry multiple roles have strengths and weaknesses. No point blaming them for that – it’s how they are. You can ameliorate weaknesses, but you can never make, say, a great salesperson out of a great bookkeeper.

By the way, your customer has a personality too. I’m planning a future blog on how to sell to different job roles and personalities.