The Secrets to Sales Success

Two sales professionals share the skills they’re looking for in their next hires.

Written by Cathleen Draper
Published on Dec. 20, 2022
The Secrets to Sales Success
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A great sale is more than a pitch. It rests on the shoulders of the person behind that pitch — and that person needs more than the ability to list the benefits of a product or solution.

For instance, they need strong research skills, the ability to listen and learn, and a sense of ownership and responsibility. They have to be ready and willing to dig in and work hard. 

But that’s just the tip of the skills iceberg. 

To determine what exactly salespeople need to be successful, NextRoll looks no further than the team it currently has through the lens of a sales competency model.

Through this model, the team looked at its highest-performing salespeople and identified the traits and experiences that helped them thrive. What NextRoll found out is that the most successful salespeople are strong in both preparedness and discovery, information that provided a window into the competencies all hires — and potential hires — need to find success on the team. 

To find out what other skills sets up salespeople for success, Built In San Francisco spoke with leaders at NextRoll and GRAIL to see what they’re looking for in their next sales hires and how candidates can make a solid first impression.

 

Stephanie Guzeman
Area Director • GRAIL

GRAIL is on a mission to detect cancer in its early stages when it can be cured. GRAIL furthers the scientific understanding of cancer biology using high-intensity sequencing, clinical studies and computer and data science. 

 

What is the number one skill you think new hires need to be successful on your team, and why?

Over the past 18 months, we’ve learned how important it is for new hires to understand how to build a market. Having a mentality of owning your business like you are the CEO is critical for GGCs to succeed.

 

How can sales candidates demonstrate that skill in a job interview?

The guiding light for GRAIL employees is knowing that we are finding cancer early and saving lives.  This is a huge responsibility and an incredible amount of work. We are the first to bring multi-cancer early-detection tests to the world. Additionally, Grail has a history of doing the right thing for patients and employees.

Having a mentality of owning your business like you are the CEO is critical for GGCs to succeed.”

 

What kind of training do you offer sales team new hires to set them up for success?

We offer comprehensive training. including in-house corporate training, mentorship and field rides alongside other reps. Part of that field training comes from a proven regional field trainer who has dual responsibilities of sales and field training. After initial training, the learning never stops.

 

 

Cheryl Bisram
Senior Director, Revenue Enablement • NextRoll

NextRoll’s marketing tech is powered by machine learning and integrated data platforms and helps companies grow their businesses. Its RollWorks unit supports business-to-business marketing and sales teams, and AdRoll supports direct-to-consumer brands.

 

What is the number one skill you think new hires need to be successful on your team, and why?

A key component of selling is uncovering challenges and pain points from a prospect and then providing a value-add solution. To do that successfully, you need to find out if your prospect is a fit for the solution you’re selling and prepare thoughtfully for your meeting. Listening thoroughly to your prospect will help you better understand their current environment.

Once you have this, a successful salesperson will ask clarifying questions while summarizing what they have heard. This ensures that the prospect feels their needs have been correctly captured and will be reflected throughout the rest of the sales process. It will also determine if and how your product will help your prospect meet their business needs.

 

How can sales candidates demonstrate that skill in a job interview?

A sales candidate should approach their interview as they would a conversation with a prospect or customer. It’s important to prepare for and conduct research prior to the interview and perform active listening and good discovery throughout. They should be able to share specific examples of when they used that competency and the end result. Candidates should also prepare a set of questions in advance of the interview that will help them better assess the role and the company and determine if they can see themselves working at this company. 

A sales candidate should approach their interview as they would a conversation with a prospect or customer.”

 

What kind of training do you offer sales team new hires to set them up for success?

It is important to provide new hires with a best-in-class experience to ensure they feel supported during their onboarding journey and able to accelerate their time-to-first deal. 

Our new hire onboarding program consists of a 30-day new hire experience, which uses a multi-learning approach that leverages sales playbooks, videos, live sessions and knowledge check quizzes. The content covers everything from gaining industry knowledge, company history, product knowledge and value proposition, competitive landscape, partner ecosystem, sales process, skills, customer lifecycle and more. The program ends with a four-day interactive bootcamp where reps get to put all they have learned into hands-on workshops. This approach has been helpful in setting reps up for a successful start to their exciting sales careers here.

 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity. Images via listed companies and Shutterstock.

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