Traditionally, the sales and marketing department has had little to do with each other, but now it is becoming increasingly common that sales and market work together to reach common goals. This has created a new meaning as to what makes a salesperson really good, so what really differentiates the best modern seller from the worst?
In the past, the two departments rarely spoke to one another simply because they were not prepared to help anyone other than themselves. Fortunately, this way of running sales and marketing has changed over time, which has led to sales and marketing now working to complement each other, support each other's success and achieve an overall goal together.
Traditional outbound marketing and old-fashioned sales techniques have long been a problem – for salespeople, marketers and customers alike. Because the sellers rarely spoke to the marketers in the company, they often lost the opportunity to create some of the best selling points.
The problems went both ways – without open communication with the sales department, it was challenging for the marketing department to follow developments in the buyer’s journey. Therefore, suddenly, the development of all marketing material fell far behind.
Now, with inbound marketing that puts the customer's needs into focus and that has linked inbound marketing and inbound sales together, this has luckily changed. So what characterises a good seller in 2018?
The 7 qualities a good salesperson must have
1. Good listening skills
The inbound way to sell starts with listening. You will show that you hear and understand the challenges, concerns and needs the prospect has – then you will be seen as someone who can be trusted.
Is it really that simple? Yes, it is actually. When you make yourself a credible advisor focused on the prospect, the person you speak to will drop the guard and stop defending themselves against being "sold to."
It is only when the guard is down that prospects and customers are willing to discuss the actual issues and be open to providing information about themselves – information that is worth its weight in gold.
2. Think value creation
Previously, sales people were confident in thinking that everybody is a potential customer and that potentially there may be a lot of sales. Now, however, the focus is on helping and giving something of value to the prospect even before the sale closes.
Also, today's salespeople understand that not all people are actually potential customers. Good inbound sellers can distinguish the relevant and good customers from the irrelevant – and they are honest enough to recommend a prospect other solutions or suppliers if they see that their company can not help this prospect.
3. Customise according to customer requirements
Everything is about value creation. Yes, you already have a portfolio of products and services, but it's actually not that "one size fits all".
To create a package that meets the customer's needs both now and in the future, you must be able to customise it. To tailor the package, you must listen to the customer's input about what issues he has today and what goals he wants to achieve.
When you are listening and asking the right questions, the customer will provide you with the information you need to tailor the solutions your business can offer.
4. Perform a thorough background check before jumping into the sales process
Getting to know the customer before starting your sales has always been important, but there have never been as many resources as we have now. Therefore, the customer knows much more than before.
To be able to sell yourself and your company the best possible way, keep up to date with the latest trends and regulations within the industry. This involves being able to utilise social media, read industry publications, relevant news sources and other content sources.
Getting a good overview efficiently is incredibly important for today's salesperson.
"In today's marketplace, most customers are much better informed and educated before reaching out to a vendor. Simply providing specs and product data is not enough. A sales professional with a consultative mindset identifies customer needs and seeks to tailor custom solutions that fit those needs. " - Rudy Joggerst, Digital Marketing Manager, Janek Performance Group
Read more: What is inbound sales?
5. Collaboration across different roles
A versatile seller should be able to work with the marketing department, but also cooperate with other functions in the company.
For example, it may be very profitable for the entire business if you as a seller contribute to content production with useful customer information, or help designers understand how prospects and customers actually use the website in their purchase process.
Also, keep in mind whether there are opportunities that can make your sales job easier.
6. Share new and long-term trends
Salespeople always know the most about how prospects think because they often get prospects to think aloud during the sales process. But how do you take advantage of this in the best possible way?
For example, with the information you receive from the prospects, you can easily understand when and how trends in the buying process change. In order to fully exploit this, you must know how to collect customer information and how to share this knowledge in CRM systems, such as HubSpot Free CRM.
Read more: What is sales enablement?
7. Take advantage of the latest technology
It is essential to understand the newest technology, but it is just as important to understand how to use it. Understanding and implementing trends like optimisation for mobile, or marketing automation, is key.
As a really good seller, you need to move quickly and learn how to use useful information for your business’ benefit. And that means looking beyond yesterday's Powerpoint and Excel.
The sales function will never end – it will only get better!
In a world where brands welcome chatbots and inbound marketing automation, at first glance, it may seem as if the sales function is getting smaller. But if you examine most organisations, you will find that sales have not become a smaller part of the companies. It has just evolved.
Marketing is not the rival of sales. A proper marketing team makes the job of the sales team easier by ensuring that prospects are qualified and ready to chat with you as a salesperson.
An excellent seller will always meet the customer at the right time of the buying process and help him make the right decision. By continuing to give value even after the sale has closed, the modern seller can nurture the customer relationship – and bring it to new heights.