Did you know that the sales team at a large company generally makes up an average of 30 percent of the office? For smaller companies, sales reps make up 40 to 50 percent of the total office, according to talent acquisition software company Ideal.
Taking on a sales role is an appealing option for professionals at just about any point of their career for a variety of reasons. According to research by LinkedIn, it stands as the leading career transition – with the highest number of members leaving positions to try their hand at sales.
Sales roles also provide a solid foundation for future career success. Research from Forbes found that 20 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs got their start in a sales position. On top of that, a survey by Hult International Business School, ranked strong sales skills as one of the top 10 critical skills for modern professionals.
Pair the skill-building powers of a sales position and the versatile nature of the role with an enticing salary and entering this profession seems like a phenomenal idea (especially when you team up with us).
Here at Leading Edge we've been in the sales game for a long time and we know just how fun and rewarding these roles can be. Before you hop into a sales position, there are a few things that are important to keep in mind. From the skills you'll need for the role to some tips for success in your first few weeks, we've got you covered.
The foundational skills
When heading into your new role, you want to make sure you have a grip on some of the core sales skills. Salesforce compiled a list of things all modern sales professionals should master in order to succeed. Among the selection were:
Technology drives just about everything we do today – sales is no exception. Strong salespeople have a firm grasp on digital devices and platforms and how to use them to their advantage. This can be as simple as communicating with your client on their preferred channel or making sure you are leveraging sales intelligence software to improve your success rates.
Part of exceptional sales involves being able to qualify your prospects quickly and efficiently. The less time you waste on prospects that will never be customers, the more time you will have to make actual sales.
Salespeople have always put a big focus on research. Before you hop on the phone with a prospect you want to make sure you know everything you can about them. This knowledge will help you better craft your sales pitch to fit the client's needs.
Knowing how to navigate sales technology is a critical skill for modern salespeople.
Tips for sales success
Now that you have an idea of some of the professional skills you need to succeed, we have a few important tips that have guided us over the past 15 years.
Focus on the marathon not the sprint
Sales don't always happen on first contact – in fact, they almost never do. It's natural to want to hit the ground running but remember it is much more important to build up a relationship with a contact than it is to make a sale straight away. Lay down your building blocks and take your time. You are much more likely to secure buy-in from a customer if you have a friendly connection first.
Spend your energy on people that want to buy
In a contributing blog post, HubSpot sales director Dan Tyre shared that when he first started he wasted a lot of his time trying to contact people who weren't really interested in what he had to say. As he matured in his career, however, he put much more energy into the people that were actively interested in what he had to sell.
It is much easier to make a sale to someone who has already expressed interest in your product or services than someone you cold called off a random list. While there is still value in securing a sale from scratch, it's wise to invest your time in people who already have some interest.
Lean on your team
When starting any job, it's important to use the resources around you – and there is no resource more valuable than your team members. In your first few weeks make sure to listen closely to those around you, take note of how they position their sales pitches – what works? What doesn't?
Ask questions when you are confused and make a genuine effort to connect with those around you. No one knows how to sell these products and services better than the people who have already been doing it – take advantage of their expertise.
Whether you are looking to take on a new sales role or you're in search of a team that can take care of your business' sales functions for you – Leading Edge has you covered. Reach out to one of our reps today.