Who is the “right” sales talent in today’s business environment? The modern buyer is drastically different and the buying cycle has changed significantly as well. As buyer expectations and demands shift, sales professionals must master new sales methodologies such as social selling and digital selling in order to keep up.

The best sales talent today already knows how to engage with the modern buyer. Even if they haven’t fully achieved social selling mastery just yet, they strive to keep learning and honing their skills. Finding these people can sometimes prove to be a challenge. These three tips can help you discover the talented salespeople you need on your sales teams to ensure sales growth.

1. Look for Social Selling Certifications

Most sales leaders don’t question the fact that social selling works. B2B sellers who adopt these tactics are 72 percent more likely to exceed their sales quotas than non-social sellers. Social sellers also outpace their non-social seller competition in terms of sales growth by more than 20 percent.

Sales leaders are searching for sales talent with social selling and digital selling experience as a result. In most cases, this means looking for social selling experience. Those who have experience are more likely to have the ability to engage with the modern buyer and bring them the right content at the right time.

If you want to find exceptional sales talent, however, look for those who already have social selling certification under their belts. These credentials indicate the sales rep has already completed training in this area. Look for those who’ve completed longer courses of study or ongoing training programs. They’re more likely to have the social selling skills needed to engage with the modern buyer. They may also be more up to date on new sales technologies and social selling tactics.

2. Think about Relationship-Building Skills

The modern buying cycle has evolved into a complex process. On average, five or more people will be involved in any business’s purchase decision. The process also starts long before a sale is on the horizon. Nearly three-quarters of today’s B2B buyers complete half their research online before they make a purchase. On average, they’re 57 percent of the way through their sales journey before they engage with a salesperson, and 58 percent said blogs were important resources.

What does this mean for today’s sales talent? They must be willing to play a long game and build relationships with prospects and clients. They need to know how to leverage the right content for the buyer and which sales plays to run at any particular point in the process. They must combine the art of marketing with the science of sales and marketing, understanding their job is to guide the client through this buying journey.

The question for sales leaders is how they can test sales talent for these relationship-building skills during the recruiting and hiring process. One proven technique is to use pre-screening and interview questions. Structure these questions around scenarios designed to test sales professionals’ actions and thinking when it comes to providing added value for clients.

3. Revisit Hiring Practices

When sales leaders are looking for the best ways to locate sales talent, one of the best things they can do is turn their gaze to their own hiring practices. Sometimes, the recruitment process itself could be a barrier to finding the right people for your sales teams.

Use sales recruitment assessments to determine how well the process is working in your organization. One simple way to improve outcomes is to send interview candidates a short recruitment video.

Almost anyone can become a top-performing sales professional. The most important things to look for will always be the desire to learn, adapt, and continue to grow. Even those sales professionals who already know how to engage with the modern buyer should strive to keep growing.

Jamie Shanks

Author: Jamie Shanks

Jamie Shanks is a world-leading Social Selling expert and author of the book, "Social Selling Mastery - Scaling Up Your Sales And Marketing Machine For The Digital Buyer". A true pioneer in the space of digital sales transformation, Jamie Shanks has trained over 10,000's of sales professionals and leaders all around the world.

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