Make your sales job search harmonious: spotlight top sales skills
To take your sales career to the next level in 2024 it helps to be in tune with what businesses are actively seeking in their sales professionals. That’s why we’ve compiled the most in demand skills for sales jobs on the market now, so you can hit all the right notes in your next job application!
Picture yourself as the conductor of a bustling orchestra – this is the realm of sales. It’s loud, it’s proud and it’s crowded with talent! To stand out as a sales candidate you’ll need to orchestrate a pitch-perfect skill set, and demonstrate your strengths to the company and their customers.
These in demand skills for sales, sourced from our experts around the globe and the latest data, will help you to stand out from the crowd for all the right reasons.
Sales is a diverse field with lots of variety across different industries, markets and sales roles. However, there are some skills that time and again employers of all kinds prioritise when they’re hiring sales professionals. Investing in these top sales skills will help you direct your career upwards in 2024!
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The most valuable interpersonal sales skills for job applications
What success looks like might vary across sales roles but there are some skills and attributes that time and again employers look for in their hiring: interpersonal skills.
To be a good salesperson you need to build and nurture relationships with people. Sales is about thinking strategically and adapting your tactics to suit your customer. So, a core set of skills always valued for sales roles are people skills.
Because sales plays such an important part in the business ecosystem, these interpersonal skills also have business benefits. They enable powerful collaboration with other business functions, building shared understanding and teamwork that bring you all closer to achieving those targets.
The top interpersonal skills for sales success are:
Emotional intelligence (EQ) and active listening:
From working closely with your team to understanding your prospects and clients, emotional intelligence is a crucial skill needed to inspire and lead internally and build strong relationships externally. The ability to listen, learn and understand is crucial to a good discovery skillset, as well as managing relationships throughout the buyers’ journey and within your company.
Communication and negotiation
Good communication is essential to clearly explain how your product can solve a customer’s problems. It’s also a skill that is integral to working well with others in your team and your organisation. Negotiating ties in with communication, helping Sales teams reach agreements that satisfy both the buyer and seller, which means more successful deals and more happy customers!
“Exceptional interpersonal skills and cultural awareness is pivotal for sales success in the MENA region, where building strong relationships and understanding diverse business etiquette are paramount.”
Senior Consultant, Sales for Salt MENA
Find Sales job in MENA here
Discovery and adaptability
This key sales skill helps you understand a prospect’s needs, so you can tailor your pitch to address their specific pain points.
Being adaptable in sales means you are able to learn and adjust as the market changes, and you’re able to thrive in new situations, identify customer needs, and solve problems as they emerge.
“Characteristics such as curiosity, coachability and eagerness to learn are key for employers, particularly in entry level sales roles, and will help you progress quickly up the ladder.”
Senior Sales Consultant for Salt Australia
Find a sales job in Australia here
Collaboration and storytelling
Sales doesn’t operate in a vacuum. Because you interact directly with prospects and clients, your insights help build new strategies to meet customer needs. Collaborating with your team helps cross-sell services and products, and build ever-lasting relationships with your clients. And from there, storytelling becomes crucial to the successful outreach of services and supports in relationship building. An engaging narrative breaks through the noise, and makes your pitch memorable for the right reasons.
“Being someone who can successfully collaborate and work cross-functionally with other teams is important for a successful sales team to ensure processes run smoothly.”
Senior Tech Sales Consultant for Salt Australia
Find a sales job in Australia here
Business insights and a command of technology
An understanding of business and the market helps you prospect, build relationships and convert. Business insight is also key to growing your own business, offering new ideas and approaches that mark you out as a future leader to your current and future employers. An interest and understanding of technology is key in a world where virtual selling has become synonymous. From leveraging CRM data to using AI and automation tools, tapping into technical sales trends can sets you apart.
“Being data driven is key – the ability to use a CRM for account mapping is a common thing employers look for as a bare minimum to reduce duplication.”
Senior Sales Consultant for Salt Australia
Find a sales job in Australia here
Whether you’re a leader, manager, senior or entry-level sales professional, practising and showcasing these sales skills for CV, interview and LinkedIn profile will help you stand out as a candidate that can deliver real value now and in the future at the company.
Use your cover letter or job application responses to illustrate how you’ve applied these skills in real situations, particularly if they’re valued by the employer. Take notes to help you prepare for an interview later. The STAR technique – which stands for situation, task, action, results – effectively demonstrates your skills in both written applications and interviews.
Fine-tune your applications with these top technical sales skills
4 out of 5 (80%) of sellers who reached 150% of their quota or more used sales tech at least once a week.
As tools and techniques develop, so do sales processes and practices. Your ability to research, prospect, gain leads and close deals is empowered by the latest technology and data solutions on the market. Read our list of must-know sales technical trends for 2024.
Top 4 technical sales skills trending in 2024
Different companies use different technology. But more crucial than experience with a specific tool or system is understanding their purpose and their value as part of your sales approach. If you can convey that in your application and interview, you can showcase how you can use the company’s resources to generate real results, and more happy customers!
1. CRM platforms
57% of businesses see CRM platforms as the most valuable software to sales teams, improving prospecting, conversion and customer satisfaction.
How to spotlight CRM sales skills
Name the CRM platforms you’ve experienced and outline how you’ve leveraged them to illustrate your skills. To add more value, discover what the biggest tools are and how they’re used, to demonstrate your understanding and interest to employers.
2. Data-based sales intelligence
Understanding and leveraging data insight tools and techniques are key skills employers are seeking for business development sales, and mean you can use real customer data to see results.
How to spotlight data and sales intelligence skills
Be specific about the platforms and approaches you’ve used and what success has been like. Follow voices in your field who provide insight. Remember your approach to something not working is just as important as your success: the flexibility to learn and adapt your approach is super valuable to employers.
3. Virtual collaboration and demo tools
With more of us working remotely or in hybrid models, and with more companies leveraging global teams, the ability to virtually collaborate and showcase products is becoming more and more important.
How to spotlight virtual sales skills
Share your experiences of selling virtually, with emphasis on results! You can see your performance across different digital touchpoints to be specific – from social and email outreach to the virtual meetings themselves. Be specific about the platforms and strategies you’re using.
4. Sales engagement and automation communication
Sales engagement technology from automation to AI tools enables interactions with prospects and customers at scale – so the ability to use these tools is a valuable asset to the growth of any sales team.
How to spotlight sales engagement skills
To improve your sales skills in sales engagement, AI and automation, show a genuine interest in these tools and their potential. Follow the news and updates. You can gain hands-on experience by signing up for free trials of these technologies if your current workplace hasn’t invested yet.
Stay ahead of your competition with these must-know sales trends
Showcase your sales results in applications; A pro tip from Salt sales recruitment specialists
“The inclusion of key statistics to evidence your career successes are vital if you want to attract the attention of Hiring Managers. I’d strongly suggest you add your target vs achievements (%) to both your resume and LinkedIn profile. Demonstrating a consistent track record for delivering commercial results in your field is tremendously valuable. Where NDAs allow, include key wins to substantiate your ability to engage in a particular market and the relevant nature of your professional network. Aim to get people so excited about your potential contribution to their business, that they want to call you (almost) as much their hottest sales lead!”
Mike Chater-Poole – Sales Practice Director for Salt UK
Find a Sales job in the UK or Europe!
Orchestration of sales success: how sales skills change depending on the part you play
Sales professionals today are not just honing their interpersonal skills, such as emotional intelligence and communication, but also developing technical expertise within their CRM platforms, data-based sales intelligence, and sales engagement technologies.
Every type of salesperson plays a different tune and therefore need different instruments for their career. For example, Sales Representatives can focus on improving their emotional intelligence to better empathise with potential clients, leading to improved customer satisfaction and increased sales. Account Managers, on the other hand, could look to enhancing their communication skills to foster long-term relationships with customers and stakeholders.
Technical skills are equally important – and we cover the top technical skills trending in sales in 2024 in detail here. CRM Specialists, for example, are mastering CRM platforms to streamline sales processes, manage leads, and track customer interactions. Data Analysts in sales are leveraging big data and advanced analytics to glean deeper insights into customer preferences and anticipate market trends. Digital Sales Managers are adapting to the rise of virtual selling in a post-pandemic world, while Omnichannel Sales Strategists are ensuring a seamless customer experience across all channels. Meanwhile, Sales Operations Analysts are basing their strategies on data-driven selling to ensure targeted efforts and enhance sales effectiveness.
Awareness and adaptability are crucial during job applications and interviews. Proficiency in interpersonal and technical skills, along with a grasp of modern sales practices and industry trends, will distinguish you and ensure your voice is heard among other applicants.
More career guides to help with your sales job hunt
Here is some further reading to help you showcase your sales skills to land you the role you’ve been searching for:
- Customise your CV:
Write a great CV for 2024
- Write a great cover letter:
Salt’s guide to a stand out cover letter
- Get noticed online:
How to update your LinkedIn to get noticed
- Prepare to ace an interview:
Interview your way into your dream role