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Sales recruitment: key skills to identify when hiring top talent

For most organisations, a high performing sales team is crucial to the success of their business - to ensure targets are met and boost future growth. In a tough economic climate, hiring managers can be cautious to increase headcount and want to be confident that any new hires will add immediate value. With that in mind, what are the trends we’re noticing for skills in demand in sales recruitment?
We posed this question to our Michael Page Sales LinkedIn community and have collated their responses below.  Sales recruitment can often favour sector experience and past, demonstrable success – but there are a range of skills and qualities sought by employers.
  • Customer focus:  irrespective of sector, a strong customer focus and an understanding of customer needs plays an important part in winning business. Good sales people will genuinely listen to and respect consumer/customer needs and respond to these appropriately to create and communicate targeted, value propositions. Some humility and empathy must also feature alongside passion and drive.
  • Building relationships: the ability to instigate and maintain strong, productive relationships with a whole network of connections is an essential trait for successful sales professionals. As an employer, you’ll no doubt want to see some evidence of excellent relationship management.
  • Tenacity and persistence: the ability to overcome rejection and the determination to tackle obstacles head-on are important personal attributes. The ability to ‘bounce back’ from rejection with an optimistic, energised outlook is vital.
  • Flexibility and innovation: there’s a certain amount of trial and error when it comes to sales. In your sales recruitment process, you’ll want to identify individuals who have a flexible approach and are prepared to adapt and innovate. Employers will typically want proof that a candidate is confident in trying new things and exploring new sales routes. Hiring managers will want to know that a candidate is not scared of failure and will be able to dust themselves off and try something different to achieve success.
  • Goal-driven and realistic: top sales professionals will be able to forecast realistic targets and will thrive in a results-driven environment. In sales recruitment, evidence of working towards, and achieving, targets will be a major consideration.
  • Wider awareness: great sales people will have an active interest in the wider context of their business. Sound cultural/local knowledge can prove hugely beneficial alongside strong competitor awareness and a good appreciation of the marketplace in general. Professionals who are well informed and always one step ahead will usually yield the best results.
When it comes to recruiting sales candidates, we at Michael Page Sales understand the importance of not only matching technical skills and sector experience, but the difference the right cultural fit can really make to your organisation.
We pride ourselves on our extensive database of skilled sales people who are open to considering new opportunities. But we don’t stop there – we make sure that we actively network with sales candidates and employers to ensure the optimum match of skills, experience and personalities.
To find out more about our sales recruitment expertise, please get in touch with your local Michael Page Sales team.
To join the discussion on the key skills in sales recruitment, search for Michael Page Sales – UK on LinkedIn.