B2B sales-finding the best B2B salesperson is becoming increasingly difficult. Recent research shows that the best salespeople-those who exceed their targets year-on-year-account for only about 20% of the total sales force.
So what gives such a small pool of sales talent a competitive advantage?
Here are 5 key skills that only the best B2B salespeople possess:
To exceed budgets and win new customers in today's hyper-competitive B2B marketplace, a salesperson must understand their buyer. B2B decision makers are busy and don't waste time on salespeople who don't understand the 'pain' of the organisation, goals or business.
In fact, sellers who don't understand their buyers' needs are 73% less likely to close a sale.
The best sellers check the industry, market trends, goals, customers, competitors and challenges of their prospects beforehand - they use this information to prove to the buyer that they understand these challenges.
2. ability to communicate values
The best salespeople have the ability to communicate the value of their products or services. Research shows that salespeople who communicate value are 35% more likely to close a sale.
To deliver the true value of their offering, the best salespeople have detailed conversations with existing customers. These are top conversations about the clients' business. Conversations about the customer's challenges, the competition, trends in the market where the customer operates. The salesperson should replace the attitude of "I have a product to sell" with "I am here to help you with your problem".
They quantify their business value with numbers, PLNs and timelines based on their clients' business results. They talk about results, link results to critical business issues and refer to their clients' success stories building 'business cases'. They search for a solution for the client sometimes knowing that their solution is not the best fit. Who do you think the customer will call next time?
3. ability to build trust
The best salespeople have excellent trust-building skills. This is especially important in sales because salespeople rank very low in trust, trusted by less than 10% of respondents.
Research shows that high trust equals higher closeness rates and higher profits.
Players become experts in their buyers' business, making their B2B sales legitimate in the eyes of buyers. They build relationships, demonstrate integrity and honour commitments. And here's the homework for salespeople - they need to keep learning and staying up to date with what's happening in the marketplace in which the customer operates.
4. critical thinking skills
In recent years, 'big data' has played an important role in the evolution of sales. Today, 65% of business leaders say they use big data to stay competitive. With the introduction of new advanced analytics tools, the sales function has become less and less a customer relationship game and more and more a "numbers game"
Top sellers have critical thinking skills that allow them to interpret data to optimise sales performance.
There are advanced applications such as Tableau or MS Power BI that can significantly help in decision making
5. ability to manage time effectively
The best salespeople have the skills to manage their time effectively. Because they know that time is money. Due to many external factors, the best sales reps understand that they are 100% responsible for their goals, and information regarding the sales process, but have limited control over their clients' time.
To be successful, the best salespeople plan and prioritise every day, maximising sales time and overall efficiency to reach potential customers quickly. Effective CRM, task and projectmanagement and customer service systems can help.
Find out if your team members or you have one or more of the 5 key competencies of top B2B salespeople.
Fast Forward Solutions specialises in e-commerce recruitment, sales and B2B marketing services. Our rigorous and proven methodology combines role profiling, executive search and candidate assessment, complemented by consultancy services. We provide guaranteed results, and fast access to the best talent available in the market, so that any organisation working with us will be able to increase sales, reduce operating costs and improve human resource efficiency, company valuation and investor confidence.
Tomasz Bożyczko is an experienced sales leader, CEO and founder of FFS.