Building and managing a great sales team and culture is not an easy task. For starters, everyone is selling themselves when they go into a job interview and salespeople are no exception. And with terms like “tenacious”, “a way with people”, “a drive to exceed goals” as standard sales KPI buzzwords in sales recruitment ads, you’re likely to be interviewing similar candidates. So how do you identify the great, well-motivated, sales reps from the good?
It starts with understanding what traits make a great sales rep. And the very best way to understand that is from the experience and expertise of other sales professionals. That’s why we put together 21 Pro Tips for Sales Reps, an e-book full of valuable advice on how sales reps can develop sales skills, scale up customer relationships and speed up revenue streams. Because it’s time to look past the buzzwords and down into what skills are really behind the best sales reps.
Sales managers and leaders cannot afford to skimp on hiring high performing talent when it comes to sales, so use these insights as you develop your job description, hire and coach the reps on your sales team.
A great sales rep is a trusted advisor
All good sales reps know their product, but the best ones know their customer even better. They put themselves in the shoes of their target market to build trust and ongoing loyalty.
According to Sue McEvoy, Head of Sales Australia, FCM Travel, a good sales rep is more than a seller, they are an advisor.
“Buyers now expect more than simply to be sold to. They want a trusted advisor, someone who will inform them of current trends. Share broader industry news and be knowledgeable on matters outside your product such as specialist topics like diversity and inclusion,” says McEvoy.
A great sales rep uses data to build on the facts
Just like you can’t build a home with weak foundations, sales reps shouldn’t build a relationship with flimsy data.
A lot of sales reps will talk about opportunities and forecasting sales projections without a lot of hard facts to support them. The best salespeople, however, start with the facts and develop a business strategy from there.
Chris Proctor, Head of Commercial Excellence at Nanosonics, top advice for sales reps is to utilise dashboards and basic process training.
“Build in your forms. You could be getting great results but it reflects far more positively on you if your actions and metrics can be seen, supported and rewarded by upper management.”
Great sales reps usually input lots of data into a CRM like Sales Cloud, they don’t just look narrowly within the data, either, but try to find patterns across multiple accounts.
A great sales reps is technologically literate
Salespeople like to move at pace, so most don’t want to be bogged down by unoptimised spreadsheets and administration. When interviewing your next sales rep, get a sense of the tools and technologies they use to get a deeper understanding of their customer.
A sales rep that embraces and understands the benefits of artificial intelligence technologies is an empowered sales rep. AI can streamline work and help reps make smarter decisions, particularly around customer behaviour predictions.
A great sales rep takes a blended approach to selling
Recent events have shown the positives of staff being able to work from anywhere. And while most sales reps are embracing the mix of virtual selling and face-to-face interactions, you want a sales rep who knows how to interact with their customer no matter the environment. And according to Eoin Geaney, Regional Business Leader, Transportation & Electronics Business Group at 3M, that means taking a blended approach to selling.
“Take a blended approach with in-person and digital interactions. Online customers have certain expectations, such as speed of response. In person they need human triggers. Using both will help build trust and grow your business.”
Look for someone who loves learning
Great salespeople will take the lead on their professional development by looking for insights from anyone. Be that from their managers, peers, and even their customers.
For Cian Mcloughlin, CEO at Trinity Perspectives, a great sales rep will read, watch, listen, learn, apply and repeat their learnings.
On top of learning, a great sales rep will constantly evaluate themselves to ensure they’re improving and moving forward. There should be a sense of fulfilment from learning something new just as there is from crushing a sales KPI.
While not every sales rep you hire will have all the skills listed, recognising their ability to build these skills is what will set a good sales rep and an eventual great sales rep apart in an interview. And they’re the person you should aim to hire for your sales team.
Discover more insights on what makes a great sales rep by downloading our 21 Pro Tips for Sales Reps e-book.