Ever wondered what it takes for a sales professional to be successful in opening doors? After working with sales professionals in the B2B industry for nearly 12 years, I have to admit, some have much stronger qualities than others. So, without further ado, here are the traits that I believe set a sales professional up for success:
5 Traits of Successful B2B Sales Professional
- Extroverted Personality – It’s helpful for sales professionals (or business developers) to have an extroverted personality, but too much is as troublesome as too little.
- Active Listening – Listening is a critical success factor for sales professionals, which means the ability to be patient can be of great value.
- Self-Confidence, without arrogance – Sales activities should never stop, but should be an ongoing process so the ability to persevere, without becoming a prisoner of hope is a worthwhile trait for the sales professional to have and nurture.
- Product / Service Knowledge – No matter the industry, an individual in a sales position must clearly understand the product / service that they are selling. It is extremely important for the first few weeks of hiring a new sales professional, that companies invest the time to help them learn about the industry, product, service or resources available to them.
- Process Design and Execution Capabilities – Without clearly defining a process for success, a sales professional may be pigeon-holed into doing what hte company has always done. A good sales professional can build a process, follow it and evaluate / modify it periodically to help earn trust and buy in from management, thus producing results.
Additionally, the sales professional must also be capable of identifying a prospect’s needs and explaining why their product / service is the right choice to meet their needs. However, because the sales professional is generally always teamed with a management team member when meeting with prospects, a complete mastery of the technical intricacies is not required – leave that to the experts. The sales professional must understand at a high level and leave the nitty gritty details to the experts at your company.
In essence, the sales professionals role is to:
- Initiate a meeting to discuss the customer’s needs,
- Follow up on the action items presented during the meeting, and
- Work in tandem with the expert to successfully convert the prospect into a customer.
A team approach to professional selling really works because it doesn’t require all parties to be the Zig Zigler of their industry. With the right team in place, everyone has a role – one can focus on problem solving, one on solution building and the other on the next steps in the sales process. While sales professionals can play a key role in helping companies achieve their business development objectives, they cannot do it alone.
Hiring an individual whose personality and work behavior is in alignment with your company’s mission, vision and core values, can help assure that the person will be structured for success.