Sales certainly isn’t what it used to be. Buying processes are shifting and salespeople must adapt to meet buyers’ needs. In turn, sales managers must adjust their expectations for what makes a good salesperson. Gone are the days of hiring salespeople who simply won’t take no for an answer or who insist on selling to anything with a pulse.
As trends in technology, purchasing behaviors, and communication continue to evolve, sales managers should look for three primary traits when searching for their next stellar salesperson.
Software and Reporting Knowledge
Software as a Service (SaaS) is a salesperson’s best friend. These days there are hundreds of software that allow for sales tracking, automation, and relationship management.
When hiring salespeople, sales managers should ensure that candidates have a basic understanding of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software. In addition, they should have the ability to review and interpret data within Google Analytics and email service providers (ESPs) like Mailchimp or Constant Contact.
Combined, these software can improve the way salespeople interact with prospects and existing clients. It also ensures that if you rely on such software, you’re bringing on someone who will have a solid foundation that you can build upon.
Willingness to Help
While salespeople are often characterized as dishonest or conniving in movies and comics, this stereotype is outdated. These days, the most successful salespeople are simply willing to help their prospects find the right solution for them–even if it doesn’t always lead to a sale.
Great salespeople empower prospects to make their own decisions by equipping them with the appropriate knowledge, like relevant articles from their website, case studies, and anecdotal evidence.
Sales managers should look for salespeople who are willing to go the extra mile and act as consultants, not cold-calling machines.
Perhaps the most essential skill for a salesperson to have is the ability to listen well. It seems easy enough, right? Unfortunately, this hasn’t historically been the case.
Salespeople are notorious for ignoring prospects’ concerns in favor of pushing their own agendas. When salespeople fail to listen, prospects become irritated and stop engaging. Ultimately, nobody wins.
Closing deals and meeting sales targets are obviously crucial components for success, and failing to listen is a surefire way for salespeople to lose deals and fall short of their goals. Sales managers must hire good listeners who are able to think critically, ask the right questions, and effectively articulate prospects’ situations to their project manager if and when a sale is made.
A good listener will also be able to recognize the most common pain points faced by their prospects and communicate those to the marketing team. By understanding what their prospects are most worried about, marketing and sales are equipped to create messages that truly resonate with their potential clientele. That translates to more qualified leads and, if they possess these other skills, more closed deals.
The sales climate is changing. Sales managers have to adapt their hiring practices to keep up. The long and the short of it: drop the always-be-closing mentality. Instead, focus on hiring salespeople that possess strong technical knowledge and intuitive soft skills.