7 Traits to Look for in a Digital Sales Rep

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Female sales rep

To win, digital sales reps need the right mix of talent and personality.

So you’ve decided to hire your first digital sales rep. You posted the job. Resumes are flooding in. And it’s time to start the interview process. There’s just one problem: you’re not sure what to look for when interviewing candidates.

You might be asking yourself:

  • What makes a person successful in digital sales?
  • What skill set do they need?
  • What characteristics should I look for?

The first sales reps will set the tone for the rest of your digital sales organization as it grows. So it’s important to hire thoughtfully and carefully. Read on to discover the critical traits of any digital sales hire.

Digital sales require a unique skill set.

Digital sales reps must possess a well-rounded set of skills and use technology to identify opportunities, sell at scale, move leads through the sales funnel and educate prospects.

Some of the most important characteristics include the following:

Strong communication skills. The best digital sales reps are good communicators. They must converse with leads, prospects, and customers across multiple channels to hit their goals and quotas, including email, phone, virtual meetings and live chat conversations.

Attention to detail. Digital sales require detail-oriented skill sets. Whether crafting a persuasive message or keeping data accurate, reps must constantly keep a close eye on the essential information.

Some examples include:

  • Data entry, analysis and hygiene. Digital sales reps must constantly analyze lead data, review history, research organizations, understand growth potential, enter call notes and keep their data up-to-date and accurate (usually in a CRM or digital selling platform).
  • Proactive messaging. Digital sales reps leverage customer data, research and insights to proactively reach out to prospects that can benefit from the products they sell. These can include in-app messaging and live chat conversations through websites and digital storefronts — and cold email exchanges. These tactics require them to pay close attention to details, personalize the copy and ensure there are no mistakes. First impressions matter!

Selling at scale. Because digital sales reps work remotely through online channels, they don’t spend time on the road. This means they use that extra time for prospecting or following up with new leads, managing more accounts and connecting with customers at a higher rate than a field sales rep. Digital sales reps must practice the art of selling at scale — which requires the right technology, processes and time management to remain efficient and successful.

Active listening. Digital sales reps must follow up or reach out to new prospects and determine whether they are a good match for your products before setting meetings. Discovery requires asking the right questions, adjusting the approach on the fly and listening closely during calls to understand prospect pain points and challenges.

Product expertise. Digital sales reps must be ready to answer initial questions about your products anytime during a call, live chat conversation or email exchange. If they come off unaware or can’t provide the correct information, the prospect will be less inclined to move forward with further sales conversations.

Tech-savvy. Because digital sales reps sell remotely, they rely on technology to be successful. Activities include: importing target lists, analyzing lead data, making cold calls, emailing leads/prospects, and booking meetings. These activities require using tools like CRMs, prospecting platforms, virtual meeting solutions, etc. Make sure they are comfortable using technology and learning new software and workflows as your digital sales organization grows.

Process-oriented. Successful digital sales reps must master repetitive processes. The proper techniques and strategy are critical to ensure efficiency and eliminate extra time or unnecessary steps from the sales cycle. Look for a candidate willing to trust in the process you’ve developed — and work together to fine-tune it over time.

Focus on these traits to land great sales talent.

Ultimately, every company will have unique requirements for its salespeople. But if you focus on screening for these traits in the interview process, you’ll quickly be able to identify strong candidates and weed out the rest.

Remember that most candidates won’t possess all these skills from the outset. Some will need to be honed through on-the-job training after they start. So it’s crucial to hire someone curious, willing to learn and ambitious enough to take on the challenge ahead.

Accelerate your transition to digital sales.

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