Are You Using Your Soft Skills To Produce Hard Results With Your Team?

Most organizations list their people as their most valued asset. As leaders in the technical space, our focus is on activities that improve bottom-line results.

Is talent development recognized in this category?

Does being valued and recognized by our peers and managers contribute to company culture and indirectly bottom line?

Does feeling supported and invested lead to increased confidence and belonging resulting in successfully doing what is being asked of us?

As leaders, are we using the same soft skills with our sales team as we do with our prospects?

Are we practicing active listening when they come to us? Are we empathetic to their needs? Are we genuinely curious as to what is motivating these needs? The more a salesperson understands their emotions and feels supported, the greater their chances of contribution and success.

In Ontario, technical sales teams are growing exponentially with the increase of startups in The Toronto-Waterloo Tech Corridor – or Innovation Corridor. A recent report from a top research firm highlights the advantages of starting up in Waterloo, ranking it the No. 25 best startup ecosystem in the world.As enticing as a tech hub is, it requires specialized sales professionals to create awareness, deliver value and uncover needs in order to sell their technology. Curiosity, empathy, and vulnerability are not typical traits associated with tech sales. But are they needed?

Where is our focus? Are we investing in the skills required for these tech hubs to continue to grow by developing their sales talent? Providing the knowledge and skills to accelerate in a technical sales role in a highly competitive and in some cases commoditized industry.As a sales leader or small business owner, how can you leverage soft skills to produce hard results to set your sales team up for success?

1.  Create a culture that supports continuous development and growth.

Equip your sales managers with effective coaching skills to support, retain their team and reinforce newly developed skills. Once you have acquired specialized talent, how can you make sure they stay?

Understand their personal and professional goals, people want to matter beyond their paycheque, what is their underlying motivation? Having genuine and authentic conversations makes your reps feel heard, valued and supported.

2.  Continuously examine your talent pool.

Ensure your entire team is growing and developing the way it should. Diversity is good and people come with different strengths and learning styles. However, when you identify a bad fit it is important to act quickly.

Hanging on too long erodes culture and sends a message to your top performers that they are not valued. In one of my roles as a salesperson I remember thinking “when mediocrity becomes acceptable, I need to leave”, and I did.

3.  Importance of effective communication as a manager.

Are you clear with your messaging, your expectations and overall direction? Your sales team are not “mind readers”.

Managing a remote team has its own added challenges. People are unsure what acceptable work hours are, having their camera on/off, email response time etc. Be clear. Take the guesswork out and avoid frustration and further mental anguish.

Be present, no distractions.

Can you paraphrase back to them what you heard, showing empathy, building trust and holding space for them.Most tech sales reps do not lack the technical requirements for the job. They need to create the opportunity to share them with your prospects.To avoid leading with a “spec dump” we model the behaviour.

Slow down, be others-focused, understand your prospects' business challenges or goals, ask questions to get details and understand the impact of the problem only then to present your solution.

Show them what it feels like to genuinely want to help and be of service, the hard skills will take care of themselves.

Are you using your soft skills to produce hard results with your team?

About Karen Kelly

For 20 years Karen has been specializing in the art and science of sales and communication her passion and experience are helping technical sales professionals become more confident and to disrupt with value.

Her dedication to developing and delivering customized sales training programs provide her audience practical, relevant tools  that can be used immediately to break down the barriers in a competitive landscape and separate themselves from the noise.

Ready to get started?

We encourage you to take the first step towards change.
There are so many areas of business out of our control, yet we continue to invest in them and hope for a different outcome. What about your people? You have control over them and their development pathway. The ability to build a positive learning culture, improve their level of confidence and increase bottom line revenue.
Invest in them. Hone their sales skills to  attract your most ideal clients, gain the required commitments through  discovery, engage authentically  and create an enjoyable repeatable experience for your clients.
Reach out to us today for a complimentary call.
Let us sharpen your skills and change your outcome.

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