Whether you’re a social butterfly looking to flex your social skills or a hardworking introvert who wants to improve them, a sales position is the perfect way to do it. Keep reading to learn why, starting with what a tech sales position actually entails.
Most people are familiar with sales on a basic level. People in sales are responsible for - well, making sales. In other words, they sell their company’s products or services to customers who need them. In the world of tech, these products are usually software, and they are sold directly to other companies. Tech sales roles are in charge of nurturing potential customers from first touchpoint all the way to purchase.
Tech sales roles today are closer to consulting roles, focused on engaging with customers and solving their problems.
Sales positions generally fall into one of two categories: inbound and outbound sales. With inbound sales, the customer comes to you (or more accurately, the company). Attracting these leads is largely the responsibility of the marketing team, who provides information, visibility, and thought leadership in target markets. Outbound sales, on the other hand, happens when the company approaches the customer - typically a lead who has not yet expressed interest in the product or service offered.
In both situations, closing the deal with a lead often falls to the sales team. The role of the sales rep is a highly dynamic position requiring effective communication and collaboration skills - i.e., the ability to connect with others, recognize their pain points, and meet their needs.
Few positions are as social as sales positions. That becomes obvious with just a quick glance at the most important skills required for sales positions, listed below. Becoming adept at these skills will not only help you rise to the top at your sales job, but also prepare you to be an effective communicator and team player in any position you take on!
Sales reps do a lot of listening and talking. Closing the deal with a lead is basically a conversation - the sales rep listens to the customer to figure out their needs and then communicates how their product or service can fulfill those needs. Success depends on the sales rep’s ability to empathize with the customer, make them feel heard, and to communicate knowledgeably and honestly about the solutions they have to offer.
Sales reps also communicate with other people besides customers. A sales rep needs to be able to communicate effectively with company leadership, supervisors, and colleagues in order to stay up-to-date on the company’s offerings and advocate for the customers they speak with on a daily basis.
The most effective sales reps know how to persuade a customer that their company offers what the customer needs. That doesn’t mean manipulating or deceiving a customer - on the contrary, true persuasiveness requires the ability to genuinely listen to the customer, including their hesitations and objections.
Based on Aristotle’s definitions of rhetorical appeals, many people define the art of persuasion as a combination of ethos (the speaker’s trustworthiness), logos (facts and reason), and pathos (the audience’s emotions). A good sales rep builds trust by being a good listener, demonstrates deep factual knowledge about their solutions, and leaves the customer with positive feelings.
A customer-first mindset is a fundamental building block of both good communication and persuasiveness, but it’s so important to the job of the sales rep that it deserves its own section. Sales jobs can be exciting for people with competitive personalities, but sales reps have to be careful not to forget about the people ultimately responsible for those big commission checks: the customer.
Good sales reps see customers as more than just a paycheck. They see themselves not just as representatives of their company, but as advocates for their customers. By prioritizing customers and being sensitive to their needs, questions, and doubts, sales reps can not only close more deals, but also communicate the customer perspective to the company and contribute to better solutions over time.
One thing many people may find attractive about sales is that it’s a social but also independent job. Sales reps tend to be self-motivated and comfortable working without too much supervision.
But as with all jobs, sales reps still typically have to answer to someone. A good sales rep should be able to use their listening skills not only to help customers, but also to accept and implement feedback from colleagues, supervisors, and even customers themselves in order to get even better at their jobs.
If you’re reading this and thinking that this sounds like a description of lots of jobs besides sales, you’re not wrong. The beauty of the sales rep position is that it equips you with the social skills you’ll need for any career you pursue. In fact, a sales position can prepare you to face challenges and succeed in your relationships throughout life, in and outside of the workplace.
Want to find out if sales is a career of you? We encourage you apply to our program to chat to our team. We place people with no previous background in sales at top tech companies like Hubspot, Asana or Personio - at 0 cost.
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Besides being a great source of motivation and self-improvement, sales books also provide us with a much-needed opportunity to rest, reflect, and take a deep breath in the midst of our hectic schedules. For that reason, we were determined to find the top sales books out there. We asked our LinkedIn network to recommend the sales book that has had a big impact on their sales career and this was the outcome.