This is a list of the top sales skills that matter most for buyer enablement. Learn more about how to hire the next generation of sellers and grow revenue by connecting the right skills with the right technology.
Hiring is one of the most critical decisions inevitably facing any founder. In starting three companies, it’s always been a make or break moment. For SalesReach, I’m happy I knew what sales skills I was looking for and had the advisors’ help make the right decisions.
Someday, I’d love for you to meet Mano Yanez, our first hire in a full-time sales role. I first met him years ago at a bike shop where he worked. I was so impressed by how he handled customer service—he had me in a place where I was excited to buy more (it’s infrequent when that happens). He demonstrated the top skills I look for when hiring a salesperson.
I didn’t know it at the time, but he had the buyer enablement skills that would be the foundation for SalesReach. We’re sure that buyer enablement is the future of sales. It’s why I’m so passionate about giving salespeople the tools they need to deliver excellent customer experiences.
The old way of selling and the skills we’ve always relied on matter way less today. The sales skills that matter most to me are the skills that matter the most to the modern buyer.
We’ve built SalesReach around enabling sellers to demonstrate these skills it’s reflected in our company culture through hiring.
Here is my list of the top sales skills for buyer enablement.
Sales skills that matter for buyer enablement
- Active-listening and demonstrating empathy
- Social selling
- Collaboration and alignment
- Strategic thinking
- Decisiveness and judgment
Active-listening and demonstrating empathy
The top of my list of sales skills is active listening. It is so important because what you do here sets the pace for the whole relationship.
When talking to a customer or prospect, the number one thing they want is to feel like they are being heard.
Actively listening is the only way today to show that you are listening.
Ways you can show you’re actively listening:
- Repeat back what the customer has said to you
- Use their words, not industry jargon
- Asking probing questions
- Providing additional levels of support
- Offer advice and share insights beyond what they brought to you
If you don’t demonstrate active listening, the customer will feel like you’re not listening at all.
Empathy is a powerful sales skill. I’ve had many conversations about why emotional intellegencie is important for founders on my podcast The Fouder’s Mentality but it’s also key to high performance in sales.
Active listening is demonstrating you have empathy.
Sellers have to be able to see from someone else’s point of view to connect solutions with problems, earn their trust, and move forward.
The right technology can extend your active listening skills
I don’t think this ends after the call. Show you’re listening through fast follow-ups, being prepared for meetings, and sharing relevant content.
Scaling this kind of communication can be challenging without the right tools. Instead of just sending them a link to the same services page on your website, reps can use SalesReach to create personalized experiences that offer buyers the personalization and care they know they’ll get from your business.
Instead of an attachment in an email that the buyer will have to dig up later, you can continue to update and manage the customer-facing side of the sales process through one link that represents the relationship.
Social selling is one of those sales skills that can greatly differentiate your application.
Your personal brand is important to buyers. They want to know who they’re buying from and if they know their stuff.
Exceptional sellers are always experts on their company’s solution and their buyer’s problems but few of them demonstrate this publically. Social selling is a great way to accelerate your network and sales.
Nobody likes cold calls, emails don’t get opened, but people respond to people. LinkedIn is the number one place for a B2B brand today. The best way for brands to use LinkedIn is through the people that work for that brand. Nobody follows logos; people follow people.
Social selling is really about sharing value
One of the assumptions that many salespeople make is that the leads will always be there.
Why wait for your buyer to search Google, land on your blog, download the ebook, or talk to your lead-bot if all they end up doing is ignore your follow-up emails?
Here’s how I see it. If you’re a salesperson, you know what parts of the website are useful and what factors are not. Instead of waiting for your buyer to figure that out, make it happen.
That’s why content management is at the core of our product. The organization of your sales process actually matters to your buyer.
First, get all of your sales enablement content into one place.
Then use SalesReach to share your general-use content in hyper-personalized ways. Reps can whip up a custom website with specialized navigation to help guide buyers to the best parts instead of sending them to a random place on the website.
Core to buyer enablement and the future of sales is the sense-making approach.
Great salespeople clear the way forward with prescriptive advice and actionable next steps. They use their expertise working hand-in-glove with other clients to make the deal make sense and help customers overcome obstacles.
Unlike other positions in business, in sales, we have to get to the point. It’s what our buyers demand from salespeople nowadays. All that extra fluff erodes trust in a sales conversation.
Show your buyer don’t just tell them
If your buyer can’t make sense of the deal, then you’ve already lost. You have to connect their problems with your solution and overcome the obstacles in the sales process.
Different people learn in different ways. It’s why SalesReach supports multiple content types. The one that helps buyers the most is video.
Study after study shows that video is the way people want to consume information. That’s why we’ve built native video messaging into SalesReach to give reps the chance to explain things the way they would in person.
If you’re a natural social seller or you’ve got the knack for sense-making, then I’ll bet you can tell a great story.
What I like to see are salespeople at the top of the funnel.
They’re on social media and building their brands because they know that the early investment pays off.
People love a good story. In sales, you need to deliver the information in a predictable format. It’s about telling your prospect a story about how your experiences or background translate into their needs.
Storytelling in sales is about demonstrating how you’re going to be that guide to get them to the final stage or the happy ending.
Here’s a tip to storytelling in sales: make your client the hero to earn their trust.
If you think about it, every good sales call has a good story. Every great sales call tells a story the buyer sees themself in.
Telling a good story is how you keep people engaged and not falling asleep.
The way I see it, there are two ways to bring storytelling into the sales process.
There’s what I love to do all the time, casual storytelling, and there’s strategic storytelling.
I’ll admit, I’m guilty of too often offering casual storytelling like a humorous story or an anecdote over the phone, hoping that it will be what pays off the most. I’m exceptional at it, so I often lean on it.
Today’s buyers respond better to strategic storytelling.
Strategic storytelling is marketing and sales alignment. Reps should be creating high-value touchpoints along the buyer’s journey.
Each time you interact with contact and offer a little more value, you should be building an arch towards an understanding.
Having a long term strategy is new to many salespeople, but it’s critical. Buyers are anonymous, consume on-demand, and work in groups. Characteristics like make it hard to approach buyers.
That’s why a strategic narrative is a critical tool for every salesperson.
Back up a good story with tangible assets
Steve Jobs might be one of the best storytellers of all time, but even Steve needed a visual aid. If you want to really wow your buyers, give them something to look at in your storytelling efforts.
With SalesReach, reps create sales pages that bundle-up hand-picked resources, tools, and personalization to deliver a buyer’s content experience.
Creating content experiences that play towards a long game is one way we see sales shifting, and that’s why SalesReach provides salespeople the tools they need to curate an experience.
The long game wins, nurturing potential customers to see themselves as buyers and help them feel confident with your offering.
Collaboration and alignment
No successful salesperson sells in a vacuum.
In sales, we’re too quick to dismiss marketing. Whenever I meet a salesperson who thinks they do everything at the company, I immediately dismiss them. They do not value the team’s participation and help in closing deals.
Today, you need a great brand, a great product, excellent service, and you’ve got to have the right salesforce.
All of this can come together with great content, the best way to warm up buyers. The best salespeople are aligned and in-sync with their marketing department and leverage content, technology, and sales insights.
Content is just noise unless it’s part of an experience.
As I’ve said before, content management is at the core of SalesReach. Content management is just the beginning of sales enablement. Sellers need to have content to use but they also need instruction on how to use it.
Revenue teams have to take a 360-degree view of this problem. All content must be centralized, controlled for the latest version, easily findable, shareable within seconds, and monitored for analysis.
SalesReach allows revenue teams to take a more nuanced approach and get better results by creating content experiences. Marketing teams have a place to collaborate with sales on content usage, control the brand, and measure what’s getting engagement from buyers. Marketing has a role in buyer enablement too.
You have 30-seconds to get someone to like you. Asking them what they think about the weather today isn’t’ going to work for you.
You’ve got to do some research and find ways to connect with people. These are often little things about them that—this ties into social selling by the way, that you can use it to relate to people.
The best way to do that is to connect a problem you know they have to real examples of success. Spark curiosity and interest right off the bat. That’s where you’re going to be successful.
You are the differentiator
Look, sales are by far the most measured role in business. It does not make it the most measurable. Some things you can’t measure.
Each rep brings their personality to the deal. The facts are the facts, but the way you tell the story around your product or services, that’s the magic in sales.
When we all went to work from home, many reps had to learn the hard way how to replicate that in-person charm over Zoom. Video for sales is a growing trend and video communication skills are now highly sought after.
Use video and bring more of yourself into the sales process. Wow people with your presentation ability, showcase your enthusiasm for the attention your buyer is giving you. BuyerVideo, the native video functionality in SalesReach, allows you to lead every experience the way it should be—with your unique differentiator, your personality.
This skill is crucial in sales and life in general. If you don’t have the talent to be resilient, you are going to be in trouble. Deals happen and fall through all the time. You have to be able to get to the next sale.
Make it easy for buyers to come back, and they will
A big part of being resilient is believing that things will get better.
Even if the deal falls through, there still might be a slim chance that it could pull through. That’s why you have to “always be on.” I’ve had deals come back from months ago I thought were done and gone because SalesReach made it easy to go back.
SalesReach provides reps one place to manage the whole relationship. Reps can rest assured that they’ve smoothed over many parts of what is typically a bumpy sales process.
Customers want us to be very strategic. Buyers want salespeople to be their strategic advisors when asking questions.
Sales rhetoric is an immediate red flag for buyers, so are canned responses . Flex your knowledge and make buyers feel like you deeply understand their business, their challenges, and their needs.
Buyers want customized demonstrations and personalized insights.
The best way you can sell yourself as a strategic salesperson is by asking the right questions initially. That’s how this ties back to active listening.
Strategists provide a map and lead the way forward
Customers should walk away from every interaction with my team feeling educated and entertained. That turns into business no matter what.
It might not be business from them that day, but they always tell someone else. That’s a sales secret, make your buyer more knowledgeable, not just about our product, but about the problems facing others, and you’ll get that buyer to mention you to six of their friends.
You can’t make sales without curiosity.
A curious salesperson, ius interested in knowing people’s stories, struggles, goals, and objectives. There’s so much more to work with when trying to solve the customer, not your quota.
My hot take—curiosity is the most fundamental sales skill when it comes to buyer enablement. All other sales skills in the list require a seller to be curious. Show me a rep who knows it all and I’ll show you buyers who aren’t interested.
This ties into strategic thinking, active listening, and having a growth mindset. It’s not enough to be curious, but you need to act on it because it takes reps to get good at something.
Test out content and get data on what works best for your buyer
Today’s buying preferences compliment the curious rep perfectly. With SalesReach we want you to get all of your content into one place so you can actuall test and measure to see what’s working.
Many marketing departments have created entire libraries full of great content. It’s actually one of the reasons why so many buyers fell overwhelmed–there’s a lot of great data and content out there.
If you’re a sales rep, you’re probably overwhelmed with content too.
Instead of sending attachments to PDFs in your emails. Try something new. Host your content in SalesReach and measure the engagement that leads to sales, not just email opens.
Decisiveness and judgment
Be decisive in every conversation; otherwise, you’re going to get railroaded.
You have to move quickly and respond quickly. I say it all the time, speed wins.
You may get what seems like an out of left field question, but sometimes you might need the judgment to step away to put yourself in a position where you can decide sound mind. It works both ways, but you need a balance. People respect that more than a rash decision.
Flip on the fly
The best place to connect with modern buyers is online. However, if it’s digital, chances are marketing departments own it. Salespeople have not been given the tools they need to engage with modern buyers.
SalesReach empowers sellers to provide a modern buying experience. Without worring about approvals or how things look now reps can leverage a digital and mobile-friendly application that buyers expect.
Sellers can move fast with content because everything in SalesReach is locked down, pre-approved, and on-brand.
These sales skills mean nothing unless you have the right tools to enable sellers to do what they do best
Before hiring Mano, I was on a call with my mentor, Dan Tyre of HubSpot. Dan’s words kept ringing in my head, “You don’t want to mess it up.”
I hope this list of sales skills is helpful because in my view that’s what makes a great salesperson. Above everything else, I hire for the person. I’m hiring for my customers, and I want them to get the best experience possible.
At SalesReach, I’ve been the sales department’s face, and our customers did not know anyone else. I needed to find someone who was closely aligned with the way I see sales.
All that is to say, even if you hire a salesperson who has all of the skills above, if they don’t have the technology to enable them to flex then it will all be for nothing. The challenges facing sellers today are different and to meet them enablement technology will be there to support sellers and enhance the buying experience.