Sales Competencies

What sales skills should you be looking for in a salesperson? With all of the qualities a salesperson can have, how do you know which ones make a great salesperson? Look for these skills the next time you’re hiring, to guarantee a good candidate every time. 

What Are Sales Competencies?

Competencies can be translated to soft skills and in this case sales soft skills. They cannot be measured like hard skills such as budgeting, marketing, accounting, etc. While hard skills can clearly reveal if someone can do the skill or not, soft skills, or sales competencies, are more difficult to decipher the person’s level of success with the skill. 

Soft skills such as communication, interpersonal skills, or time management, are sales competencies that are important to look for, but can be harder to determine who has them. 

Choose The Essential Sales Competencies for the Specific Sales Position

Not every position in your sales team is the same. Each position requires different skills set, and sales competencies.  Knowing what sales rep skills are essential for the specific role are key to finding a good candidate. 

As the manager you don’t spend too much time learning the specifics of everyone’s jobs, so asking other salespeople on your team about the sales competencies for the job will be beneficial to you. They will understand better than anyone what kind of candidate would be ideal for the job. 

As we’ve mentioned in our full sales strategy guide, hiring the right people is crucial for your sales plan, so you will want to understand what the position requires as well as what to look for in a good salesperson. 

25 Most Wanted Sales Competencies

Here are just some of the qualities that we have found to be desirable sales competencies as well as good indicators of a quality sales person. 



Time management

Continuous learning

Product knowledge

Communication skills

Data analysis



Negotiating skills


Building trust


Conflict management

Planning & Organization

Objection handling

Active listening

Customer focus


Goal achievement


Research capability



Demo skills

In another article, we’ve also pointed out 5 traits that make a good call center agent. Many of these traits are also preferred sales competencies – which is no surprise. So you can check this article out, too, in case you’d like to know why creativity is still important in this job, for example. 

Top 5 Key Sales Competencies for Sales Reps

Although it would be ideal to find a candidate with all of the competencies listed above, it is unrealistic to expect basically everything from a candidate. So, here are the top 5 sales representative skills we find to be the most important.

#1 Communication Skills

Communication goes beyond speaking, listening and understanding the customers needs. In sales, one needs to be able to use their tone of voice and the things they say to appeal to the customer. One also needs to be able to relay information to other team members and accept feedback, whether positive or negative. 

Another aspect of communication in sales is the follow-up. Salespeople must be able to relay their message through email, call, and/or text in a professional and effective way. After all follow-ups are where over half of the sales are. For our sales follow-up tips read more on how your agents can master the follow-up

#2 Goal Achievement

Being able to achieve goals is an important quality in any job but especially in a salesperson’s job. In sales persistence and patience in key to making sales, because statistics show that only 1 out of every 50th call will be a sales and 80% of sales are after the fifth follow-up call.

 Knowing this, the sales candidate will have to be able to set and achieve goals for themselves, as well as help the sales team reach the big picture goal. 

#3 Customer Focus

Although sales isn’t considered customer service, they are very similar. The aim for both is to nurture and fix the needs of the customer. Having a customer-focused mindset will determine a great salesperson from a mediocre salesperson. The goal is to find candidates who know that they aren’t just selling a product or service, but that they are selling an experience, a solution, and something that will enhance the customer’s life. 

#4 Time Management

Having good time management skills means the individual will be able to prioritize their task as well as achieve their goals fast. In sales there are much more tasks involved besides selling that the salesperson must do. For instance creating and updating campaigns, uploading leads, creating reports, and following up with customers. 

While you will still need to hire a candidate with good time management skills you can also provide a software that helps ensure good time management for all your agents. One software in particular, the Power Dialer, can take away many other tasks that do not include selling, so the agent can optimize their time with customers and leads. 

Automation is another way to optimize the time of your agents. We selected four automation tools for you to view and see which one or ones would work best for your team!

#5 Continuous Learning

If one is willing to learn he can acquire all of the other skills. In fact a study in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 103, No. 4 (2012) ,states that the suggestion of possibility can beat the reality of achievement. In other words, find someone who is optimistic about the job and is willing to learn what is necessary to do the job. 

As you learn to look for skills in a good salesperson, why not also learn how to be a good sales manager? Take a moment to see what we picked as the top ten sales manager skills we suggest make a good sales manager.

Works Cited 

Douglass, D., 2021. Key Competencies for Sales Reps in Today’s Marketplace. [online] Sales Training Company – Award Winning Sales Training Classes & Seminars. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 March 2021].

Doyle, A., 2021. Hard Skills vs. Soft Skills: What’s the Difference?. [online] The Balance Careers. Available at: <> [Accessed 5 March 2021].

Brandon, L., 2021. Traits That Make A Good Call Center Agent | EVS7. [online] EVS7. Available at: <> [Accessed 8 March 2021].

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