The sales department plays a crucial role in any organization. Salespeople shoulder the responsibility of bridging the gap between potential customer’s needs and an organization’s products and services. In other words, they help to build trust and loyalty between customers and businesses. They establish credibility and it’s one of the many ways in which they impact an organization’s success.
A sales executive oversees the overall sales strategy and is responsible for planning, managing and implementing sales decisions and plans. The term ‘sales executive’ is often used interchangeably with the term ‘sales manager’. Although both are senior positions in the sales department, there is a significant difference. An executive is in charge of the overall sales strategies while a manager oversees the day-to-day functioning and management of the sales team.
Executives work beyond the scope of the sales department, as a major aspect of their job involves client relationship-building. There are several sales executive skills that help them perform their duties efficiently.
Roles And Responsibilities Of Sales Executives
Before looking at the desired skills and qualities of a sales executive, it’s important to understand the various duties they fulfill in addition to strategizing. A sales executive’s responsibilities can be categorized into two sets—operating and planning. The operating aspects of their role include team management, managing interpersonal relationships with clients, customers and intermediaries, and communicating and coordinating with marketing executives.
The planning functions include everything associated with the sales program. The responsibilities range from personal sales goal-setting, developing sales programs that help achieve those goals and designing sales policies and strategies. Most importantly, sales executives need to put everything together for the successful implementation of sales programs.
The roles and responsibilities as well as the time dedicated to operational and planning functions depend on the size of an organization. For example, sales executives in small organizations spend less time on planning and more on operations. The bigger an organization is, sales executives devote more time to planning and less time to operations.
Additionally, a sales executive is instrumental in impacting an organization’s growth and success. They do this in multiple ways:
Sales come from a variety of sources and an important way is cross-functional teamwork. One of the key sales executive skills includes communication and building interpersonal networks. For example, many leaders use the marketing channel to reach out to potential customers. This is possible only when sales executives and marketing executives cooperate with each other. It further leads to increased productivity and efficiency—improving sales and growth.
Although sales leads conversions aren’t an immediate responsibility of a sales executive, they’re responsible for the strategy driving it. One of the primary goals of sales is to build trust and credibility in the brand. Unless there are strategies, plans and targets dedicated to converting a prospective customer, there won’t be growth.
Customer And Client Retention
Sales professionals are the face of an organization—responsible for popularizing the brand and promoting products and services. Successful sales executives are patient and aggressive go-getters who know how to communicate and convince potential clients or customers. They not only build but also maintain positive relationships by following up, setting up after-sales calls or meetings and prioritizing feedback.
Sales Executive Skills And Qualities
Sales is a priority for any organization or business owner. While establishing brand trust and enhancing client or customer relationships are crucial, a sales executive has to fulfill multidisciplinary functions. Therefore, as an organization, you should look out for essential sales executive skills and qualities in individuals that help them negotiate and achieve targets successfully.
Sales Executive Skills
Sales is both exciting and stressful. To fulfill targets, individuals sometimes need to go beyond their job description. There are several indispensable sales executive skills—necessary for professionals to excel in their field.
A sales career is fast-paced. There will be times when things don’t go as planned or individuals face setbacks. One of the key skills for sales executives includes keeping up with changing needs and demands. The only way to make peace with change is positive thinking. Changing one’s outlook and outward attitude can make a huge difference. The ability to move on and look beyond failures is crucial for sales.
Sales executives need strong convincing or persuasion skills to convince their customers and clients. However, not every conversation is short-term. To build brand loyalty, sales executives must invest in long-term client relationships. Interpersonal skills such as active listening and communication help people feel valued. Even internally, sales executives use their interpersonal skills to maximize their team’s efficiency and reduce turnover rates.
Confidence is mandatory when it comes to creating an impression. As sales executives represent the organization, they need to project confidence in the way they communicate about the brand because they need to establish credibility. Successful sales professionals also pay attention to their tone, language and non-verbal cues such as posture. For example, a confident person will maintain eye contact and speak clearly.
An effective sales executive knows the ins and outs of an organization’s product or service. To suggest a solution to a client or customer, while convincing them for purchase, sales executives need to have product knowledge. Customers and clients are likely to ask questions for making decisions and the inability to respond immediately will leave a bad impression. It’s likely to affect the brand image. Therefore, proper product knowledge is an absolute must-have skill for any sales executive.
Sales executives need to manage teams and make independent decisions that affect business growth. Good leadership skills are instrumental in motivating employees and making sound decisions in time-efficient ways. Even in times of crisis, successful executives know how to keep calm and find effective solutions.
Sales Executive Qualities
In addition to technical and foundational skills (such as leadership skills), successful sales executives demonstrate certain qualities that set them apart. The defining sales executive qualities include
Grace Under Pressure
Sales executives know how to handle high-pressure situations. They remain calm and don’t use emotionally charged words when things go awry. They’re patient and know how to defuse tension. Self-confidence is the first sign of success.
Efficient sales executives are committed. They’re result-driven and utilize their potential to the fullest. Additionally, they motivate their teams to remain driven. Even when things get too tough, they show grit.
Effective Time Management
Highly effective sales executives know how to manage time and utilize it efficiently. Time is literally money and any time lost will impact an organization’s growth. They know how to fully utilize duty hours and arrive at an optimum division of work.
A skilled sales executive is always prepared. They know how to engage in critical thinking and look at problems from multiple perspectives. They review past performance and strive to gain new insights, allocating sufficient time to plan and execute decisions. They know how to look at the bigger picture and stay focused.
They say learning is an endless process and efficient sales executives believe in this statement. They’re hungry for knowledge and continue to learn more about the product or their target group. They know when to ask questions and connect the dots. They’re proactive and enthusiastic about learning and finding new ways to sell their product. Customers and clients value professionals who know their subject well. It helps build trust.
Forward-thinking organizations know when and how to invest in sales leadership. The ability to sell is a superpower and it’s one of the core functions of an organization. It has a significant impact on business growth, outcomes and even decides the future of the organization. Sales competencies are sufficient to drive growth but are they enough to drive success? Therefore, it’s important to prioritize and promote sales executive skills and qualities.
Harappa’s Impactful Sales Program is designed to help enterprises bring the best out in sales professionals. Armed with powerful frameworks, toolkits and modules, this blended learning journey will help your sales executives achieve transformative results. They will learn how to understand client needs, develop strong relationships and display grit and resilience in the face of challenges. Let the learning journey begin!
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