The experience with sales related technology that businesses should be looking out for in new staff
The sales team is an essential part of most businesses, and it’s important to recruit the right people. It’s also important that your team has the right tools to do the job well and that each member has the ability to use those tools effectively. In terms of sales, the technology your staff will need to be familiar with will generally include database management and communication tools.
Almost all sales staff in a modern business will need at least a basic standard of IT literacy. Beyond that, you might look for experience and skills in specific areas such as using a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system. Aside from basic equipment like access to a smartphone and a tablet or laptop, a good quality CRM such as Salesforce, SugarCRM or Nimble is often one of the most important weapons in a salesperson’s armoury. It can help you track your interactions with customers, including calls, emails, presentations and the details of face-to-face meetings. Knowing your customers well allows you to build long-lasting relationships and ultimately to maintain or increase sales via your various contacts. You can also trace the path of every sale, from initial contact to conversion, which can help you improve your dealings with new prospects.
Sales people also have to be good communicators. This may involve setting up and maintaining a SIP service such as that offered by Primus Business. SIP, or Session Initiation Protocol, is a flexible protocol that allows multiple endpoints to set up or communicate via Voice over IP (VoIP). This generally involves video or voice chat services that are gradually becoming more common compared to standard telephone operations.
All these tools can help your sales team to do their jobs more effectively, but how important is it that new employees come to you with the specific skills and experience of using this technology already in place?
Many would say that attitude, personal qualities and flexibility are far more important. Technology, including that used in sales, is a rapidly changing landscape, and today’s new innovation may be tomorrow’s obsolete system. Hard skills such as those involved in using a given technology can be learned, whereas so-called ‘soft’ skills such as adaptability are harder to impart.
That doesn’t mean that tech skills and experience are not important. A candidate may possess skills in a system you do not utilise (a different CRM to the one you use, for example) that will have certain transferable elements or at least demonstrate familiarity with the concept and operation of a system, even if the details differ. A candidate who is well-versed in the tech systems you do already use, meanwhile, will be able to fit in quicker and is more likely to hit the ground running when brought into your team. Experience can certainly be important, but candidates who have strengths in other areas, including the ability to learn new skills quickly, should not be dismissed out of hand.