The salesperson of the future faces a tough audience – one that is both information rich and time poor. Technology has become so embedded in our daily lives that we depend on it at work, at home and at play. We have been conditioned to turn to Google for the answers to our burning questions, for everything from settling arguments, to looking for jobs, to seeking medical advice, or researching our next major purchase. We are so flooded with information that we no longer need a face-to-face sales encounter to make informed purchases. In fact, it could be argued that buyers often prefer experiences where they don’t have to interact with a salesperson in order to make their purchase.
Qualities of the salesperson of the future
In the information age, the marketing department has become as important as the sales team, if not more so, as the key influencer and driver of sales. More than half the buyer’s journey is complete before we ever reach out to a salesperson, so consumers come to the modern sales experience armed with more knowledge than ever – information gleaned from clever marketing and copywriting campaigns.
So what qualities are going to be important for the salesperson of the future if they hope to compete with technological change as it zooms along the information superhighway?
It’s fairly obvious that the qualities organisations have traditionally sought in their salespeople, such as an outgoing personality and a drive to succeed, are not going to be enough to win over increasingly savvy customers and close deals in the future. Though these traits are still requisite to the role, the salesperson of the future will need to be an expert in their field, still capable of making strong interpersonal connections and developing trust, but also challenging the customer in a mutual learning process that identifies and understands the consumer’s unique needs. They will be creative and adaptable, willing to disrupt the traditional buyer’s journey, as well as masters of technology and social media platforms.
That sounds like a tall order!
So, how do you recognise (and hire) a salesperson of the future?
Fortunately for recruiters of sales professionals, there are tools that can help. Personality profiling and people analytics such as the Caliper system are extremely helpful in getting the right people into your sales roles, especially when you consider we are looking to a future peppered with rapid and endless change.
Assessments in sales is not a new concept, but the way in which they are used, and what they can do, is changing. Most assessment companies provide a sales assessment, measuring the potential of a person against generic competency areas. Unfortunately these assessments fail to take in to account the intricacies of the product, the market, the company, the customer and the style that works best.
Conversely, Caliper measures a candidate or employee’s blend of personality traits and how they would impact a person’s potential to perform the exact sales process and style required by the organisation. This means managers have the power to measure the competency areas required for varying sales roles in their organisation, rather than a generic framework that may not reflect what leads to success in different departments.
Hiring mistakes can end up costing an organisation far more than just dollars. It also impacts organisational culture and morale. In the modern business environment, you can’t afford to spend time and money training up ineffective and unsuitable salespeople in the hope that they will eventually perform. Hope is not a good business strategy.
By profiling your existing sales team, you may even discover that there are patterns in the personality traits of top performers. Using tools such as Caliper Profile reports and people analytics, companies are boiling sales performance down to a science, providing powerful insights for talent acquisition teams and learning and development professionals alike.
To see how Caliper can work with you to identify the best candidates for your sales team of the future, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for an obligation-free discussion of your needs.