The Future Of Sales Skills
Thanks To Our Incredible Panelists!
Darryl Praill, the CRO at VanillaSoft
Kelli Lampkin, Corporate Account Executive at Netsuite Oracle
Christine Ramirez, a Managing Partner at Dale Carnegie.
Be sure to watch the recording above for the full conversation on ‘The Future Of: Sales Skills’. Below you’ll see our hot take on the biggest takeaways from the session – we’re certain you’ll find it helpful!
Top Soft Skills in Sales
Historically, we used to think of soft skills as EQ, listening, or people skills. In this session, you will find out that the future of sales looks different, and those softer skills have certainly become more of a hard skill that we can expect in our people. It used to be that people innately had soft skills was the perception versus something that can be developed.
From the research, it has been found that this is something that you can develop in someone their softer skills the way you teach. For instance, when you actually interview somebody or ask to do a cold call to a prospect and hear a real stilted conversation because it’s so foreign to them. At the end of the day, whether you’re selling face-to-face on the phone, email, and social, it’s all about a relationship, and to have a relationship, you got to be able to have the art of the conversation.
Different ecosystems require different skills
It depends on the companies you have worked at — in the enterprise space having a similar skillset and how you go about it. But the real difference is in how you think about the ecosystem of the environment you’re selling into and how you rally your team, internally and with the customer. And this is very different. If you’re selling to a small company where it’s one power user or two power users and a single-threaded buying cycle, the conflict you may face is:
In Small Deals,
In bigger deals,
It’s a lot more committee-driven decision making. You have to map out whose skills match against who else’s skills. The soft skill is really in the EQ space. Talk about the benefits of our product and how it can be used. But also potentially relate to them in a way that is a little bit more personal, and it’s very seamless if you know from the higher level what all the teams are and what their interests are, and what their skills are, to match them with an appropriate person. You have to be much more conscious of committee-driven decisions and gaining by and from a larger group.
“Learning to be likable as learning a sales skill!” How to work on that?
Learn how to become more human and less robotic. That is just like learning soft skills. You can master the hard skills by practicing and reading the books and doing the workshops. Apart from this, most companies are emphasizing hiring sales reps with all the likability and all the swag. But, most companies miss nurturing both the process side of sales and the people side.
Developing Soft Skills In Sales Reps
How Do Managers Measure and Assess Soft Skills During An Interview?
Ask that person to research on a particular topic and see that the person:
- had the skill to do the research you ask for self-directed.
- is a critical thinker.
- has the courage.
- risks it all by even suggesting a solution.
At Uvaro, we run a tech sales accelerator; we’re helping people get into tech roles. We’ve talked to a ton of employers. So many employers ask for is strong research skills. And that’s a hard thing to check the box.
How would you suggest someone grow their ability to research? What are good research skills?
Some hard skills associated are:
How to use technology in sales to gather information to make you helpful in that interaction? Beyond that, it’s really about in your core, not being lazy. Don’t waste this opportunity. Do it twice or three times. Build credibility, build the connection, know about the account, and predict what challenges they’re going to have, predicted how we could help them and when you have that interaction. If you do that, you will win in the first meeting.
Strengthen confidence in yourself. Think about how good you feel when you’re walking into something. You are also demonstrating to the person that you are with that they’re important and that you are knowledgeable and let them have confidence in you. To make that work, you need to:
- Know who is your target customer and not just words on paper.
- Live it and breathe it
- Uncover how they’re measured
- Their pain points — what keeps them up at night
- Their tech stack
- The drama going on in their office
Then research all those facts you can connect the dots for them.
However, there are too many sales reps going out there, presuming that they know who they’re talking to. Also, it’s based on what you sell, which is leading the conversation.
Normally, it’s when you’re losing that you start to get creative, but you should be doing it before you even start. So the problems almost always happen, when you’re losing the deal, and you get desperate. And you go through your bag of tricks that you forgot to do at the beginning. And just throw them all at the customer.
You couldn’t find the answers on LinkedIn navigator. You couldn’t find the answers on Zoom info. We’re a sales platform, you’re a sales rep, you’re selling to a sales leader, and we have a lot in common. You got to have confidence, and that goes back to the soft skills. A lot of its mindset, and that’s a big thing that’s missing today. Combination research means that sometimes you have to use your soft skills to know when to have the confidence and where to know when to push and know when to back off.
How Can A Sales Rep Split Up Their Typical Day?
Sales is not a nine to five job. A sales rep is not paid to do a nine-to-five job. Their compensation is probably going to be majority commission-based, unlike other people on their support team who are not going to be commission based. Therefore, a sales rep first has to be sensitive when they ask them for favors. They are getting their business booked, however, the time it takes.
They have an incredible amount of freedom and flexibility in their role. If you are a sales rep, you do have to have discipline in:
- How you want to manage your time.
- How do you want to balance your life.
- Figure out what is appropriate for you, and then subscribe to that.
- Managing your time and be honest about yourself.
- Consider who’s your target audience, when, and how do they engage or not.
- Tell yourself when you are going to look at slack or teams.
- Tell yourself when you’re going to do email. Stick to that unless the course is in a month and a quarter.
- Manage your day by being intentional.
In the future of sales skills, the next generation often doesn’t know how to turn off. So there’s a soft skill they have to learn which is, how to mute. A couple of things of that combination of being interrupted all the time, especially for social selling, and they are on their networks. They are getting pinged all the time. It’s all about dividing hours to respond and progress deals. It’s an ultimate guide to prospecting and social spelling.
Who is responsible for the growth of a sales rep? A company or a sales rep himself?
It can be both. Development in any area of the lives, whether it’s the gym or a family or relationship or a sales career, takes maintenance. Sales ability is no different. And maintenance comes from the leaders bringing a consistent process that they are selling with as a team or representing their brand. Being a sales rep, take command, take on your life and learn stuff to stand out in the future using sales skills. And so whatever resources or relationships you can bring into your own life, that’s incredibly meaningful. It’s also very marketable as you’re looking to shift around potentially in your selling career to represent different products or different services.
Also, hand you got to invest in yourself. Learning is earning. You have to own your career. You dare to do that. It’s got to be psychology again, mindset over and over again; how committed are you to your craft.
Find out the right platform where you can learn more to make your future bright with the right sales skills. You don’t have to regret that in the end. Invest more in learning. Expand on and grow your skills to be able to earn much more than you would have had.
Applying Soft Skills Day-to-Day
How Do You Balance The Idea Of Challenges In Different Situation Being Inclusive On A Team of Sales Rep?
Not everybody has the same opportunities. But that doesn’t mean you can’t factor in a portion. Is it one percent? Is it 50 percent of your income? You need to figure that out. We have never been in a more information consuming environment in our life. It is not that it’s a lack of funds often admittedly. It’s a lack of time. So, figure out what is more essential for you too.
On the other hand, figure out whether you want to actually go and invest some time and study. These are just conscious choices you have to make. Also, adjust the timeline. Some people get there in one year or three years, and others take ten years. It’s not when you do it. No one’s keeping score. It’s the fact that you’re committed.
Although, some personal things pull us in. The idea is not just about the money. It’s about that dedication and how you choose to spend your time.
What Does That Mean When Someone’s Authentic, Specifically A Sales Rep?
Genuinely sharing about ourselves is one way to promote authenticity. Another thing is a white paper that we write on trust known as trust is dead. It talks about how we all know what it feels like when something’s authentic or when there’s trust involved. But what is the intentional? It goes back to your attitude and your self-confidence. Again, having an authentic sense of self-confidence and belief in yourself will be a huge attractor for people you want to do business with us versus maybe somebody else.
Authenticity goes hand in hand with vulnerability and learning about how to be less robotic. We are all human. As you go through that, you recognize in yourself, you get your self-confidence, and who you are and who you are is a really good sales prep of whatever product you’re representing. But you’re also all these other things, and so is your customer. Your customer is not just your customer and not just an employee or a user of your software. You will have something that overlaps in those Venn diagrams, and it’s your job to figure out what that’s going to be, and part of that is from research. But part of that is from being vulnerable. And so as you start to talk about what you’re into.
Moreover, owning your weirdness is very charming and displayed in the right way can make you very vulnerable, and it allows the other person to have permission to show their weirdness. You will find some Venn diagram overlap of your weirdness, and that’s when you are going to shine in the future with the right sales skills. It’s good to be you. Because if you’re not, you’re going to fail. You should look for another career.
Why are you authentic? You’re authentic because it’s your own personal brand, it’s who you are, and it’s what makes you different from somebody else.
You’re conveying a lot to your authenticity you’re conveying, why I should trust you.
How Does Someone Become Excellent, Strong? How Do They Train That Ability Being Good At Building Trust?
If you grab the white paper, there it’s research-based. What can you do to build trust? And so you’ll see some great stats about how if someone has trust with us, they’re more likely to give us referrals, or they’re more likely to forgive a mistake. The three main things that we find consistently are present with sales rep that someone trusts are:
- They’ve got that strong. Believe in themselves and have a positive attitude. They’re confident in what they’re doing.
- They’re creating value for people. Moreover, we can’t just be pushing out content; we’ve got to truly have our point of view of what we’re seeing.
- Reps who are customer-centric are more trusted. But are you empathetic versus benevolent?
But if you ask yourself am I doing this, or do I know it a lot of times that inventory is not what we want it to be. Could I be doing it just a little bit better? And it really can make a difference if we start to be more mindful of some of these common-sense things.
Takeaways From the Event-
What is essential in the future – the teams or others? What should people be thinking to future proof themselves?
It’s going to be a combination of the proven old school things that we know work. But then also that freshness and what’s working right now. It’s going to take a rooting in where we’ve been in sales with that open-mindedness. You’ve got to keep your mind open to change all the time. Welcome it, court it; it’s only by examining and re-examining ideas you can progress. So, bring the old school, bring the new school. And that’ll make us successful in sales moving forward.
First, choose something to sell that you are passionate about. It is also difficult to understand because the more value you can add, the more necessary you will be.
Second, you should find ways to add value to your customer in ways they don’t expect. Therefore, certainly, they expect you to add value in solving the problems. If you are talking about what your software solves, but you spend a lot of time with your customers thinking about ways you can help them in things they wouldn’t expect, that is not solved by your software, your network could solve them, your connections could solve them, your experience or recommendations could solve them, and when you start to solve for things that they don’t expect you to be able to solve then it makes you as the sales rep much more valuable to them and it shines your product very well. It makes your product seem much more useful to them because you are the evangelist and the delegate.
This is a sign of the times. How did you succeed as a sales rep in that?
First is critical thinking. You’ve got to be able to step out of your own biases and examine the situation without that baggage. So, you can truly navigate.
Second in tandem, empathy, if you do not understand the pain, the challenges your buyer is going through, or your champion or veto or whomever, you’re not going to succeed. But ironically, if you can master that empathy, then they will trust. You will be authentic in the future with the right sales skills; you will come across as vulnerable. It will help you do much better research, and you can use it to be very intentional.