There’s no shortage of articles on what makes a great salesperson and most of them make some good points. However, there’s a big difference between selling knives door-to-door and dealing with enterprise software clients. So, what should you be looking for in your next software sales candidate?
Software affects organizations on a larger scale than most purchases, which means it requires more than a slick pitch to close a sale. Whether offering an alternative to an existing solution or a completely new offering, your candidates will need to identify stakeholders, pain points and opportunities.
The essential skills required to make this happen are active listening, the ability to ask great questions and solid market knowledge. Listening and questioning can be evaluated during the Q&A period of a standard interview. Market knowledge can either be developed over time or acquired by strategic hiring.
Creativity is the single most underrated skill in software sales. Whether they’re developing new techniques for grabbing a prospects’ attention or finding new ways to add value to existing clients, creative sales professionals are the people best practices are based on.
Identifying creativity can be difficult, but you can start by asking candidates how frequently they experiment with new sales techniques, how they see themselves adding value to your organization beyond closing deals and how closely they’ve worked with the marketing department in the past.
Persistence is required to succeed in sales, but that doesn’t mean you should hire the first person willing to make 80 cold calls per day. Your team definitely needs to pick up the phone, but effective working warm leads and consistently finding ways to add real value are better uses of their time.
The advantage software sales professionals have is that products – and the market in general – evolve and change much faster than other sectors. You can assess how your candidates will capitalize on these opportunities by asking how frequently they contact prospects, how they add value to those prospects and how long have they typically need to nurture a relationship before it yields ROI.