Employers’ Checklist: Skills To Look Out For In Hiring Sales For The New Age Of Virtual, Online B2B Sales 

 

Technology has significantly advanced the face of business in the 21st-century, and the urgency of COVID-19 has instigated growth in a more virtual world. As this shift in the business environment continues to shift, companies need to adapt to stay competitive in the market, and non-more so than the sales function, the most relationship, face-to-face, and people the reliant job of them all. 


Sales is a vital component of an organization’s success because it persuades and drives customers to your company. Of course, every business desire to generate income and profit to continue satisfying its customers but it would be hard, or even impossible, to do so without the help of the sales team.


A sale is a field that has seen dramatic changes as technology has become more pervasive in the world. Compared to the old common principles that a salesperson has to make hundreds of cold calls or door knocks, take orders from the customers and push products, salespeople in the new age of virtual are actually viewed as credible marketers; entrepreneurs that are creative, independent, and capable of creating values to satisfy their customers.


Silicon Valley Associates Recruitment was asked recently by a client to help prepare the following checklist as a guide to identify the right sales candidate in the new world of selling online products/services to Business to Business (B2B) sales in the virtual age. 
  

But before anything else, these two elements are crucial steps for employers before hiring sales representatives. 
  

1. Employers must acknowledge the need to hire a new type of salesperson. 

The very first step is to assess your current people. Can your existing sales adapt and be able to become more marketeers and conduct strategy and processes virtually, without the need to meet face to face, or say build relationships at karaoke? You may even want to give them a chance to adapt.

Otherwise, it is time to look externally for someone with a new type of skillsets suitable for a more virtual funnel. 
  

2. Determine the nature and products of your company.
 
This is to effectively align the products or services with the kind of salesperson you are looking for. A salesperson’s central approach may vary depending on B2B selling, or even in a B2C. 
  

If your business is about offering something more complex with high upfront fees, a consultative selling approach is appropriate, and a long sales cycle needs someone who has extensive expertise in the field and can also build a strong relationship and trust with the customer. 

SVA Recruitment recommends the following Skills Checklist for Employers who are looking for competent sales for the new virtual, online B2B sales. The checklist is categorized into three major skills. 


Soft Skills: These are the intangible skills and capabilities of individuals that have more to do with you as a person. 
  

1. Customer Service Orientated (Always be Closing Adding Value)

Of course, salespeople act as front liners of the company and they are the primary people to deliver products and services to customers. 


Employers must seek salespeople that have good communication skills, especially that their primary role is to communicate. But being an excellent communicator is not all about talking, but also being a good listener. Most often than not, customers want to be heard, especially when they want their needs and demands to be genuinely tailored according to their preferences.  
  

Online Communication is mainly in the form of written and verbal. Written skills are more and more crucial, just in clear or persuasive emails but more frequently in instant messaging and chats with customers. Verbal communications will frequently come in the form of video or audio reports, group webinars, and business presentations, and individual calls by video/phone. Nonverbal communication skills are still important, but no longer core as the person is not being seen face to face most of the time. 
  

2. Autonomous 

Since the virtual world dominantly works with a remote workforce, employers should seek and audit sales who could work autonomously, ideally with previous experience doing so. Being able to self-manage themselves and their time, as you are not going to be able to see them in a face-to-face interaction daily. Therefore, they must demonstrate the ability to effectively work with less supervision.


4. Balanced IQ and EQ 

In the new age of online sales, employers must not only look for salespeople who have a high IQ but also someone who has superior emotional intelligence. Employers often overlook this skill but having a person who has a good understanding of their own and other’s emotions virtually is a skill that is hard to acquire but substantially brings benefits. This also enables them to empathize and be flexible with their clients' needs and deliver more desirable outcomes. Having a balanced IQ and EQ also guides people in analyzing problems on the spot and making critical decisions, which are a vital part of their responsibilities in the sales. 

 


Image from: C&IT
  

Hard Skills: This skill set is more about the tools of the trade that a person must ideally have to perform the tasks more effectively. 
  

1. Marketing 

Like what we have seen in the B2C environment, the importance of digital channels for B2B companies has grown significantly in the past few years and has radically increased since the COVID-19 crisis began. 
  

The basics today are knowledge of how to manage social media accounts and tools for communication like Skype and Zoom for conferencing with clients. But increasing in importance, Sales must know the basics of the Digital Marketing world, such as using social media, personal branding, and building followers and communities. These are vital components for them to successfully find potential client’s short term and long term online and offer more innovative ideas for the business.
 

2. Software Savvy 

This skill may sound like a hard deal, but it is not. As an employer, it is also significant to teach your people the tools you are working with. Some software tools that salespeople in the virtual world commonly work with include as follows: 
  

Tools like Zoominfo and Skrapp.io for email scraping for sales prospecting. 
Tools like Google Docs and Spreadsheets to organize and be synchronized with others despite remote work 
Being able to use and also find other abundance of tools and extensions in places like Google Chrome


3. Presentable

This does not mean that the salesperson is a good-looking one in the camera. This means that he or she must be presentable in clothing, mannerism, and overall grooming. A salesperson in the virtual age will have to constantly work online, participates in webinars, and attends meetings like Zoom and Skype calls


4. Product/Service Knowledge and Research Skills 

Regardless of how capable a salesperson is, he must still know the company offers inside and out so that they can thoroughly cater to the client’s needs and questions during business presentations. Having a strong knowledge also boosts confidence, trust, and credibility.


5. Certificates 

Some sales jobs require a certificate for them to be eligible for selling that kind of product to their customers. Some common certificates in the digital world are software certifications like Google Analytics and AdWords. Other certificates include Salesforce and HubSpot, which are leading customer relationship management and sales and marketing platforms.

 

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Silicon Valley Associates is ideally positioned to support the continual demand from tech companies and IT Departments looking to hire in Hong Kong, Asia, and Worldwide. Please let us know if you would further advise on the above topic or your hiring needs

 

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