We all know that sales representatives need to be able to exhibit some pretty specific qualities and skills in order to be successful at what they do. A good sales rep will typically be great at communication, will excel at time management, and will practice active listening, but are these skills enough in the 21st century?
It’s no secret that the sales landscape is changing, and with prospective customers expecting more from the brands they choose to do business with, sales reps need to ensure that they’re doing what they can to meet these modern day requirements. While a sales qualification will generally provide a great basic understanding of the sales world, those that want to progress further in their career may benefit from learning new things and mastering new skills through additional training, to really help them shine.
Here are 4 fantastic sales-related skills that could take your career to the next level:
1. Storytelling Skills
It may sound strange, but those who enjoy sitting down with a good book may find that they thrive in a modern sales world. That’s because the art of storytelling is becoming increasingly important in both sales and marketing. At a time of increasing competition, engagement is everything, and businesses are constantly seeking out new ways to engage with their audiences. One way that’s proving to be successful is storytelling; sharing stories with audiences and creating a more interactive environment, rather than simply static sales methods.
2. Tech Skills
Previously, sales teams were primarily desk-based; the ideal place for making calls. Today, however, techniques like cold calling just aren’t cutting it. In fact, reports say that while it took between 3 and 4 attempts to reach a prospective customer via cold calling in 2007, by 2013 it was taking sales reps 8 attempts. Modern customers need greater engagement, and that means two things. Firstly, we’re seeing an increase in alternative communications, such as video calls. Secondly, we’re seeing a growing trend for sales reps to be out on the road using handheld devices. Both mean that tech skills are vital for modern reps.
3. Analytics Skills
Gone are the days when sales reps would ‘go in blind’; this method proved to be highly ineffective and generally a pretty big waste of time, although until recent years there really wasn’t a suitable alternative. Today, however, we have access to more tools than ever; these allow us to conduct comprehensive target audience analysis, highlighting demographics that are most likely to convert, and identifying sales qualified leads (SQLs). Therefore, an important skill to get to grips with is data analysis, which can make it easier to locate SQLs, allow you to make better use of your time, and ultimately boost sales.
4. Advisory Skills
Customers are smart. In fact, they’re smarter than ever before. That’s because the average customer now has access to practically any information they need, any time they need it, through computers, laptops, tablets, or smartphones. The term ‘the customer knows best’ has never been more true. So, what we’ve got is knowledgeable customers who are challenging the way we sell our products. ‘Informing’ customers is no longer effective, because they’re aware of the information already. Instead, sales reps need to be able to ‘advise’, and use their skills to guide prospects to the bottom of the funnel.