Looking for the top sales skills when evaluating a salesperson’s CV can help you to highlight the best salespeople and make your recruitment process more efficient, effective and streamlined. Of course, identifying the top skills is not easy if you do not know where to start – and that applies to general recruitment agencies, where the recruiter may not necessarily be able to identify the best sales talent from their CV alone.
To hire the best talent, you need to understand which sales skills and abilities to prioritise during the initial CV sift and why they are important.
So, what are the top sales skills and abilities should you look for in a salesperson’s CV?
Strong sales expertise and a history of results
The greatest representation of a salesperson’s ability is how they have contributed to the business’ bottom line. Therefore, when it comes to assessing CVs you receive from salespeople, make sure they explain – in detail – how they have delivered results in the past and helped previous businesses to succeed.
Avoid CVs from salespeople that use fluff words to describe themselves, including expressions such as: ‘top performer’, ‘consistently hit goals’, and ‘high achiever’.
Instead, look for statements like: “Increased sales territory by X percent” or “gained an average of X new clients each month” or “ranked in the top five salespeople on our sales leaderboard for the year” – these statements allow you to quantify that salesperson’s contributions and ability, and can be readily checked with a quick phone call to their previous employers.
Recruiting for jobs in a niche sector? Find out how valuable specialist recruitment can be when it comes to finding the right candidates Find out more.
Ability to understand the client and analyse information
A key part of the sales process is understanding the prospect’s problem and coming up with a solution. Being able to recall, analyse and filter information will enable salespeople to identify opportunities to up sell, cross-sell, avoid problems and ultimately provide better service to clients/potential sales prospects.
When reviewing a salesperson’s CV, look for mentions of their analytical skills and ability to absorb, segment, and recite information – the best salespeople never forget their clients and always have a grasp of what activity is taking place on their accounts.
Signs of rapport building skills
Salespeople who are unable to build rapport with potential prospects will miss out on sales opportunities as not every prospect is ready to buy and will need nurturing! To build rapport, salespeople need to personalise their communication, keep in touch, share valuable and relevant information, and generally be understanding of the prospect/client.
Look for skills around communication and rapport building with prospects/clients. The best salespeople will appreciate that often a sale comes down to whether or not a client trusts you enough.
All salespeople are natural talkers and may list communication as a skill on their CV, but the best salespeople are great listeners. It’s important that salespeople take the time to listen and analyse what their client has to say. This will not only make it easier to sell, as they know what the client needs, but also shows respect.
With this considered, when assessing CVs from salespeople, look for mention of people skills – and in particular – listening skills/active listening skills. Have they mentioned meeting customer concerns and/or addressed difficult customer needs? This is a good sign of listening and taking on board feedback which can be explored more at the interview stage.
Persistence and optimism
Lastly, salespeople need to be persistent. This is a job where a lot of leg-work is required and sometimes that hard work just does not pay off. It can be easy to become disillusioned and give up after numerous setbacks but the best salespeople spring back with renewed optimism.
Look for salespeople who have worked in sales for a considerable amount of time and/or moved through an organisation quickly and can show their results. These kinds of salespeople are committed to the job and will get things done for your business.
These top skills are what you should look for in a salesperson to ensure you hire the right one. Of course, if you are using a more generalist recruitment agency to fill your sales roles, some of the top sales skills and abilities may be missed or overlooked. Instead, use a specialist recruiter. With a specialist recruiter assisting you, you can be sure that you are hiring the right salesperson.