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Key Skills To Look For When Hiring Salespeople

Even in the most saturated and competitive markets, there’s a lot of pressure on sales departments and managers to perform at top levels. You need a sales department that can crush quotas and smash target goals year after year. When evaluating the most capable candidates in your stack of resumes, look for a balance between the following technical aptitudes and character qualities to find the next perfect fit for your organization.


Because you want to hire sales operations rock stars, you must focus on communication skills. The ability to conduct effective interpersonal and business interaction is essential because sales operators not only present as the voice of the company for potential clients, but they also bridge the gaps between departments internally. Seamless communication among sales, marketing, finance and IT are vital to production as well as culture. A good communicator will effectively bring you all together.

Knowledge of Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software

CRM software eases the selling process and makes the company more profitable by acquiring, retaining and handling clients. Good sales professionals should be familiar with the platforms and tools that engage customers and strengthen their organization through the following operations:

•  Marketing
•  Access control
•  Optimized internal communication
•  Consistent experience
•  Improved customer satisfaction
•  Feedback analysis

CRM ensures smooth and efficient interactions with consumers and streamlines workflow, and it’s necessary to the field of sales.

Research and Data Analysis

Sales data is statistical information about company performance and trends surrounding key verticals. Market data assists you in finding the most valuable sectors of the market and helps you define your sales strategy. Prospecting data enables you to locate and target prospective buyers. Enrichment data equips you with a portfolio of material beyond contact information about prospects to give insight into pains and needs. Performance data reports gaps in the productivity of sales reps while assessing their skills and giving feedback. The ability to find and interpret information about market trends, potential and current clients, competing solutions and other corporate intelligence enables salespeople to make better decisions and close deals faster.


The best approach to sales is an empathetic one, where the central communication is less about pushing a product or service and more about listening to the needs of the client. The focus on solving a problem for the customer rather than making the sale is what ultimately makes the sale. An awesome sales rep will be able to approach issues through the eyes of others and present buyer-centric solutions.

Curiosity and Creativity

Innovation and improvement are at the heart of a great sales department. Sales professionals need to challenge assumptions, ask “why”, and consider alternatives to processes that no longer yield results. Hire people that want to discover and create newer, faster and better tools for getting the job done.

Ambition and Passion

An ideal sales team member is ambitious. You want people who want to go farther than the position they’re filling, and will work hard to advance. Hire those with clear five-year plans for their career goals, and you’ll be confident they will work hard to meet your expectations. Additionally, hire people who demonstrate a passion for your product, service and corporate values. If your sales reps love what they do and believe in what they’re selling, so will the customer, and that will consistently reflect in your quarterly sales reports.


Failure is inevitable in sales, and a key personality characteristic in ideal sales operators is the ability to recover from disappointment and carry on toward long-term company goals. Does your applicant have self-confidence? Does s/he believe that the next pitch meeting will be more successful than the last? The salesperson you want to hire brings intense optimism to the job and will not crumble after failure, but will brush it off, learn from it and strive to do better with the next target.


In today’s ever-changing world of sales, the ability to adapt is imperative to survival. Not only do great sellers have to follow changes to customer demographics and marketplace shifts, but they also need to keep up with updates to processes, software and tools. As the nature of sales evolves, the channels by which you approach engagement also change. Capable sales professionals are ready for anything.

Problem Solving and Critical Thinking

Having tons of data is great, but unless you know how to process the information, it does you no favors. Hire sales pros with critical thinking skills who can sift through an ocean of numbers and come out with relevant and useful morsels that you can use to formulate strategies and solutions.


The ability to work as part of a unit is extremely important because single-person sales departments are rare. You want an employee who not only works well with others but also values the collaborative process from start to finish. Hire sales professionals who can fulfill the roles to which they’ve been assigned while managing the goals, schedules and workflows of the team. Successful outcomes depend on the commitment of each member of your sales organization, and a lack of teamwork will result in lost opportunities and wasted time.

Building the most effective team means knowing the right mix of hard and soft skills that make up the most talented salesperson. If you keep these key characteristics in mind while building your team, then you’ll guarantee a strong department that consistently meets and surpasses your expectations.

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