When you think “sales”, what do you picture? You’re probably imagining someone with a wrinkled shirt and off-set tie dialing the phone for the 50th time that day. But those days are long gone, and many of the best sales jobs are now found at tech companies and start-ups. And that’s not all… did you know Technology Sales professionals are also often the highest-paid employees at these (any) companies?
The average salary for Sales Development Representatives (SDR) is $84,360 per year and almost 25,000 more jobs in this path will be created over the next ten years. Needless to say, the future is looking bright for sales professionals. They won’t be working in cubicles either. As a Technology Sales Professionalprofessional, you’ll most likely be working at a larger tech company or even a startup so you can expect a people-first environment.
That being said there are still hard and soft skills that separate a top salesperson from the person who’s struggling to stay employed. Here is what you need to succeed in the modern sales world:
Hard Skills for Sales
Understand the Sales Process
In sales, the lines between hard and soft skills tend to blur, so our rule is going to be hard skills are things you learn over time doing an activity. The first thing you need to learn is that sales are a process!! It shouldn’t matter whether you’re selling livestock or rockets, the process is going to follow a similar pattern. First, figure out the customer’s needs and use this to put interest in your product, then get them on the timeline to a sale. Early on, sit down with your boss and talk about your company’s sales process so you can be ahead of the game.
Account-based Selling, Email Writing, and Prospect Calling
Account-based selling is a sales strategy that takes on a highly personalized approach with multiple touchpoints across various channels. Ever heard the phrase “different strokes for different folks”? It’s important to understand selling is not one-size-fits-all and the sales process is as complex as the people it involves. Understanding and implementing a highly targeted sales strategy instead of a blanket, the product-pushing pitch will not only lead to more sales, but it will also give companies a more human feel.
The Importance of Call Reviews
You’re not going to be the best salesperson from the start and that’s fine. Call reviews are about learning from the best and getting the most out of them is a skill in itself. The first step is to identify things that you’re struggling with, are you bad at negotiating or have trouble closing? Find someone good at that in your organization and sit in on some of their calls. NFL teams have coaches for each type of skill; think about this as a skilled coach for your career.
Familiarity with CRM tools like Salesforce
You may be asking yourself “what is CRM”? CRM stands for Customer Relationship Management and refers to technology solutions that store and manage all interactions with potential and existing customers. The brilliance of CRM software gives companies and Sales Managers simple and easy access to data which then allows for better visibility, forecasting, and identification of opportunities. Pretty much all sales teams nowadays use a CRM tool and knowing how to use one is a crucial aspect of the job.
People Want Technical Advice for Technical Questions
Technology SDRs can find themselves selling all kinds of things, like Advertising on Spotify to Amazon Web Services products. You don’t need to be an engineer, but you should understand your product and its place in the market pretty well. Technical experts won’t always be on hand and clients trust people who know what they are talking about, so spend some time getting to know the ins and outs of your product. On top of this, it never hurts to keep tabs on the news in your targeted industry.
Soft Skills for Sales
A Strong Backbone
You’re going to hear no. A lot. You need to be able to put in the numbers until you find the right buyer and make a connection. The best salespeople aren’t always the smartest, they are the persistent and the ones who are willing to keep going until they close. This means checking in on the prospect as much as you can and not stopping your emails or calls.
The goal of the salesperson is to make the sales, but your client is trying to solve a problem. The best salespeople know this and work to understand where their customers are coming from. If you can build and maintain this trust with your prospects then you’ll have a great career. Trust is more important than anything when it comes to who someone buys from, so if you lose that you lose everything.
Spotting New Opportunities
As you work to understand the problems of the customer and monitor the industry, you should also be on the lookout for any new leads or opportunities. Industries and the needs of the people change over time, and new opportunities will pop up while others will go away. The best salespeople know how to read these trends and, more importantly, when to act on them. If you can get ahead in a new market you will become a major earner for your organization.
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