During a recent Technology Sales Cohort, our instructor talked about some of the best Software Sales Reps he had worked with throughout his 15+ year software career and a student posed the question, “What qualities tend to make for the best software salespeople?”
5 Qualities Of Top Producing Software Sales Reps
1. Strong Sense Of Empathy
The best Software Sales Reps tend to easily empathize with their customers. Organizations rarely spend tens of thousands of dollars on software unless they have a big problem they are hoping it will solve. Whether the solution increases the organization’s security infrastructure or it helps teams provide greater value to the customer, software is likely solving some issue that is keeping the decision maker up at night. Empathy, therefore, allows the Software Sales Rep to shed the pushy salesperson trope and connect with the customer in a meaningful way.
2. Strong Desire To Help
The desire to help is usually a direct result of being an empathetic person. You not only understand the difficulties this problem is causing for your decision maker, but you strongly want to help solve it for them. A successful Software Sales Rep is not focused on just selling any product, they are committed to finding the right solution for your unique problem.
This also means they are not afraid to say their product is not the right solution for you. While, this may sound like it could be limiting to sales success it actually generates the complete opposite effect. Salespeople that sell the wrong product as a solution to an issue, typically spend more time dealing with unhappy customers and less time selling. They also don’t gain the added benefit of customer referrals which typically result in a faster sales process and less time spent prospecting through cold lead lists.
3. Ability To Understand
Franklin Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People include the habit to “Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood;” this could not be more true to establishing a lucrative sales career. The best Software Salespeople truly listen and ask a lot of questions to gain a deep understanding of the customer’s pain. Whether a person faces a physical ailment or a business problem, they typically focus first on the symptoms to describe the issue. Rarely do they give you the real source of the discomfort from the get-go. Getting to the root of the problem allows a Software Salesperson to offer the best solution that will cure the symptoms for good.
4. Never Stops Learning
Software evolves quickly. This is why iterative, agile project management approaches apply well to the Software Development Lifecycle. This also means that Software Sales Reps need to stay on top of changes and how they can or cannot solve their customer’s problems. Successful salespeople will consistently tap into the strong technical know-how of their internal development teams to gain a better understanding of the products they sell from a technical perspective and also how to convey those features to a non-technical decision-maker. Again, while some salespeople get the reputation of not being a team player or thinking the rest of the company needs to bend to their customers’ needs, a great Software Sales Rep will take the position of student and learn as much as possible about the product.
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5. “Own The Room” But With Humility
Software Salespeople typically sell to technical decision-makers. This being said, the fastest way to kill a sale is to go into a meeting and act like you are the technical expert. Those who succeed in software sales go into a room and let the technical people own the expert status, as they rightly should. They know that their job is to simply listen, ask questions, and understand the problem at hand.
However, sales people also need to create a social connection with their potential buyers. In Software Sales, the leaders know how to really “own the room” not through false technical pretenses but through a touch of humorous, self-deprecation.
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