Technology sales professionals require a range of skills to succeed. They must combine technical knowledge with consultative selling skills and an ability to build relationships with decision makers at many different levels in customer organizations. Successful technology sales professionals provide their customers with solutions to business or technical problems, rather than products.
Excellent product knowledge is essential to succeed in technology sales. Sales professionals must be able to present the benefits of their products and services to both business and technical decision makers in clear language that the customer can understand. They must understand how customers use the company’s products as well as familiarize themselves with technical features. They must also be able to compare their products with those of competitors so they can deal with customers’ queries or objections. Rapid changes in technology make it important for sales professionals to keep up to date with their companies’ planned upgrades or new releases and with emerging trends in their industry.
Technology sales professionals need good business skills. Technology purchases represent a strategic investment for many companies, and decision makers must be able to justify their choices to senior executives. Sales professionals must therefore understand investment criteria and tools such as cost/benefit analysis. They must also have the skills to build a business and financial case for the purchase.
Consultative selling skills are important in the technology sector. Sales professionals must understand the opportunities and challenges their customers face so they can tailor solutions to their customers’ needs. They can build their sector knowledge by reading industry reports and analyzing company information on customers’ websites. A depth of sector knowledge enables sales professionals to act as trusted consultants to their customers, demonstrating that they understand the customer's needs and can bring together products and services that represent an exact fit with purchaser requirements.
Technology sales professionals need good relationship management skills. They must be able to deal with different types of decision makers, including technical managers, purchasing managers, finance executives and business managers. They must also be able to manage the relationships through a long sales cycle that can last several months. Sales professionals communicate with decision makers through face-to-face meetings and maintain contact via email or direct marketing.
Teamwork is essential to success in technology sales. Sales professionals work closely with technical specialists to develop solutions for the client. They also collaborate with the marketing team to develop communication programs and support material, such as presentations or briefing papers, which help to build a preference for the company’s products and services.