Recently Forrester Research stated that within the next four years, 22% of all B2B sales roles will be gone. As a sales leader, there may be a sense of angst when that is said or that you’re losing your luck.
We all know that the speed of technology is dramatically changing our lives and is reshaping the world of sales (and many others). For example, in the last few decades, remote or inside sales jobs have grown 16X faster than field sales roles. With this, your sales team will need to ensure a massive change. Why? Well, today 57% of the buyer’s journey is completed without the buyer even talking to you. This sales evolution isn’t slowing down either. What’s next?
“Just as inside every problem lies an opportunity, inside every disappointment lies a priceless gem of wisdom.” - Robert T. Kiyosaki, Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant
The ever changing sales landscape may seem like a crisis but fear not, as Robert implies, there is an underlying opportunity. Here are 7 research-backed traits of a modern sales professional, no luck included.
1. The ability to learn quickly
“In the HubSpot buyer context, intelligence proved to be a strong predictor of sales success. In retrospect, I believe intelligence was a key trait because our industry was evolving so rapidly.”
According to Mark Roberge, author of the Sales Acceleration Formula, he states intelligence being a crucial trait for great sales professionals. This was necessary to keep pace with the industry, understand new concepts and se the impact of how these new concepts impacted the industry. To Mark, intelligence was a predictor of sales success in their buyer context.
2. Always building relationships with Relevant people
Top performers are always looking to grow their networks. They understand the necessity of building a solid reputation and relationships. Sales is about helping your buyers throughout their journey and addressing their challenges. According to LinkedIn, 84% of B2B decision makers begin their buying process with a referral. As you build strong relationships, warm referrals will follow and increase your sales increase.
3. educate their network often
Once you’re in the habit of developing your network you then need to be providing them value through sharing content regularly. According to Corporate Visions, 74% of buyers choose the sales professional that was first to add value and insight. Buyers are so inundated with information and it’s your opportunity demonstrate your industry expertise and provide insight and help them make the right buying decision.
4. Invest in themselves
In order to become a resource for their buyers, top performers invest in their own knowledge and education. Sales training and support when done right are an essential aspect of developing your pipeline. Continuous training gives 50% higher net sales per employee.
5. think critically, like a scientist
Excellent sales professionals are able to interpret data and identify trends. They might be really good at identifying what their top performing colleagues did correctly, and then go and emulate it, but do it even better. They’re aware of the data behind what makes an effective sales process.
6. Time management
There’s often so much to do. The best sales professionals will plan their week out and block off “chunks” of time in their calendar to hunker down and get ‘er done. If you’re social selling then here’s some good news. A study performed by IDC social social buying study showed that Social Selling leaders are 80% more productive.
7. Get to know your customers
Top sales professionals are more likely to have expert customer knowledge and they are customer-centric in their sales process. Top performing sales teams are 46% more likely to agree that their sellers have fluent expert knowledge of their customers, according to a report by The RAIN Group Center.
So, based on these 7 traits of a lucky sales professional, how do you stack up? Remember that last big deal someone else closed on your team? It wasn’t just plain luck. It is just professional fundamentals in action, where preparation meets opportunity.
How have you been lucky in your sales career? What was the unluckiest lost deal you ever had? Share some stories or comment below.