In today’s fast-evolving world of technology, the role of the tech sales professional is critical in bridging the gap between companies looking to move with the times and effect a digital transformation of operations, and those with the expertise to assist them.
Technology has an application for just about every function across every industry sector and knowing the extent as well as limitations of your products when dealing with clients who are looking potentially to invest millions in new systems, can set you apart, says Varsha Singh has recently been appointed National Sales Manager at leading South African fintech specialist, e4.
What are the key skills that tech sales professionals need in order to excel?
Working in tech sales requires a number of specific hard as well as soft skills. Sales professionals are generally people’s people, able easily to get on with others and to relate to them. Good listening and communication skills are essential. As a salesperson, you must listen out for the clues the client is giving regarding the solutions they are looking for. In many cases, they won’t know exactly what that is – after all, that’s why they’ve called you – you’re the expert in your field, so you need to be able to explain in layman’s terms exactly what it is that your product or service can do for them. If you understand their pain points, you will be better placed to provide solutions.
You most definitely need to have good product knowledge – how your product can be applied to the client’s business. You need to be able to explain the functionality and answer any questions. You also need to know what your company’s fulfilment and turnaround times are, and how quickly can you commit to installation and training. Customers are looking for honesty. Over-promising and under-delivering are definite no no’s.
Communicating your USP and value proposition to the customer
Hopefully, you have already persuaded first-time customers that you are able to help them find solutions to their particular tech challenges. During your first appointment, you must use all your skills to convert the lead to a sale. Listen, repeat back what the client is describing and explain how your company’s technical solutions are the right ones for them. Remember, the customer is not always right, but the customer is king – or queen. They know their business better than you do, and so working together to find the best solutions will help you build a rapport with them and gain a deeper understanding of what they are looking for.
Clearly articulate each feature of your product and how it will apply in your customer’s particular case. If you are able to share examples of similar successful sales you have closed, it will demonstrate to the client that you are confident that you can also help them.
Allow the client to express any concerns or misgivings – it might be around the product or the price, and you need to know how to counter the former and what kind of room, if any, you have to negotiate the latter. Above all be consistent and transparent.
How important is it for tech sales professionals to stay up to date on industry trends ad new technologies?
It’s critical that tech salespeople are aware of new developments within the general tech space and within their own sector. Also, by listening to clients, you may be able to contribute to product development within your own company – perhaps you can solve a client’s unique need or problem with a new design or feature. Demonstrating that your company is innovative and ready to look at finding solutions to specific problems will also give you a competitive edge.
As well as staying in close contact with your product development department, it’s important that sales professionals are in constant communication with their marketing and communications people. Sending out the correct messaging around a product and your service is important for client attraction and retention and false first impressions can be almost impossible to overcome.
You win some…and you lose some
It’s impossible to close every single deal, but as long as you know you did your best, don’t take the rejection personally. Use the feedback from the client to understand why you didn’t clinch the sale this time and take that lesson with you into the next pitch.
Differentiate yourself from the crowd
To excel in tech sales, you need empathy, resilience, a positive attitude, good time management skills – respect other people’s time – you need to be persistent, have excellent follow-up and follow-through skills and above all, to be knowledgeable.