In many businesses, in many industries, the sales team is relied upon to follow leads and secure sales in order for the organisation to succeed. The sales profession is significantly different to most other business functions in terms of the skills that determine a successful professional. While specific technical knowledge and formal qualifications are essential for some industries, there is typically much more focus on the soft skills a professional has in a sales role.
The demand for talent is higher than ever and top candidates are rarely available in the market for very long, so it is important you recognise the leading talent on your team and know exactly which skills to look out for when hiring. Good people are very well looked after as businesses strive to retain their leading salespeople, similarly, in a final bid to keep the best talent, buy-backs are a lot more common right across the UK.
With over 70 specialist consultants located in the UK, Michael Page Sales speak to sales businesses every single day. Working with employers looking to hire and sales professionals exploring the market has given us a deep insight into the skills that are in high demand and are set to shape the sales market in 2018.
To ensure your sales team is in top form this year, be sure you’re employing and retaining professionals with the five hottest sales skills.
It is no surprise that negotiation has been identified as a key skill for any sales professional. The ability to effectively negotiate a deal and influence stakeholders is fundamental to the success of any deal. Talented sales professionals are excellent communicators who can build fast rapport, have a sharp mind for fluid conversation and a composed yet friendly demeanour that exudes confidence and trust to customers. These are the people who will lead your sales teams to smash targets and will proactively drive business. Every winning team needs salespeople with top negotiating skills.
Information regarding products is widely available to consumers, reviews on products and services are made in real time and any customer complaints are very often public knowledge. Today, customers are looking for more than a sales pitch when they meet with a sales representative, they want to be consulted. Professionals who have the ability to understand and develop bespoke customer solutions can add real value. Solutions selling is a core ability for a top sales professional so be sure the people on your team can develop innovative solutions and pitch a compelling, needs-based sell for your products and services.
Sales planning is a skill that lies at the heart of any successful sales team. Professionals who are experienced in setting targets, developing strategies to achieve sales and effectively tracking and managing those targets have always been highly prized in sales. All sound business decisions should be data-driven and strategic in order to achieve the overall business goals, sales is no different. By ensuring your sales team can effectively plan their sales actions to achieve targets you are planning for success. Keep an eye out for professionals with a proven track record of planning and implementing effective sales strategies to drive profit.
A particularly important skill for your field sales managers. Territory mapping allows the continued analysis of clearly defined sales regions which is essential to track performance, determine strategies and identify areas for growth or improvement. Measuring your team’s sales is not just important but essential to enable you to monitor the progress and profitability of your business regions and also to identify high performing staff or employees who may need further development. People are the centre of any business so it is important to efficiently monitor and manage them at every step of their career. Professionals who are skilled and experienced with territory mapping not only gather essential data on the performance of the team but can ensure the long-term development of individual members to help ensure top talent is retained.
In every industry, right around the world, competition is increasing. Within sales, it is absolutely essential that a thorough competitor analysis is carried out on a regular basis to assess and monitor the market. Professionals who are experienced and skilled at identifying threats and opportunities in the market and then creating solutions to mitigate the risks and act upon the prospects, are highly prized. By hiring these people you can be sure that no movement in the market will go unnoticed. The most effective sales professionals will have a deep understanding of your market and will strive to stay one step ahead of the competition, be sure these proactive sales professionals are on your team in 2018.
Why not get in touch with one of our expert sales consultants to discuss how we can help with your recruitment process? With over 40 years’ recruitment experience, a global network and strong relationships with both professionals and businesses in the industry, we understand what skills you need to grow your business and we are here to help develop your team of sales professionals.