What Skills and Qualities Do a Successful Sales Team Need?

7 Minutes

The sales industry is fast-paced and competitive for employers and those who make up their sales teams. To stay ahead of the game and ensure maximum impact, performance, and conversion rates, your sales teams must have the right skills to empower sales success.

Training courses are essential to ensuring everyone in your sales team is as skilled as possible, but it all starts with having compelling insight into what skills matter most and where you can train your team to give them a better chance of achieving their goals. 

Sales success can be supported by hard sales skills requiring specialist training and all-important soft skills that help build relationships and close deals. The best way to ensure optimal results as a business is to ensure your team has a broad range of sales skills to maximise performance.

Within this article, we delve into the question: what skills and qualities do a successful sales team need? Whether you want to improve efficiencies, ramp up conversion rates, or refresh the knowledge your team possesses, we’ve listed some of the essential skills your team needs to prosper in the world of sales. 

Utilise the Benefits of Active Listening

From fostering an atmosphere of effective communication within the team to engaging effectively with prospective clients, utilising the benefits of active listening is one of the essential soft skills for sales professionals to have in their repertoire.

Active listening involves reacting and responding to the person you’re interacting with, letting them know they have your complete attention. This skill helps build a positive working relationship and avoids any potential misunderstandings that could throw a spanner in the works of a potential sale.

Some effective active listening methods include:

  • Using gestures such as nodding and keeping eye contact to engage with the speaker during face-to-face conversations.
  • Limit distractions by stepping away from the computer. Do this when on the phone or find a quiet spot in the office when listening to your team.
  • Offering feedback or asking questions to reflect on what’s been said, demonstrate your understanding, and show you’ve taken an interest in the conversation.

Build Strong Knowledge Retention

In sales, more than in most industries, an ability to retain knowledge is vital. You never know when your salespeople will likely face questions out of the blue or be asked a difficult technical question about a product. So it would help if you had people who are good at thinking on their feet and have strong knowledge retention to give the most effective answers possible.

As a sales manager, knowledge retention also plays an essential role in effectively understanding and utilising the expertise of individual team members strategically, making sure that the best people for each task are allocated.

Develop Relationship Building

Many factors are involved in an effective sales pitch, such as a strong understanding of a product or service. Still, one of the most straightforward factors to overlook is how well the salesperson and prospective client get on. Relationship building between both parties can play a big part in the success or failure of a sale, so it pays to start on the right foot.

Also known as relationship selling, this sales skill involves first developing trust and making a connection with your client before closing in on the sale. It might seem more time-consuming, but it can be invaluable in the short term and for making future sales with that particular client.

There are several steps to relationship building with a client which can pay dividends in the long run:

  1. Reach out to the client and find out what their pain points are
  2. Try to connect on a personal level. Look for common ground and talking points
  3. Empathise with the issues they face and try to find a solution
  4. Offer advice and talk through how your product or service can add value for them
  5. Answer any questions honestly, allowing them to push back and challenge
  6. Find and deliver an effective solution that benefits both parties
  7. Continue to communicate post-sale, offering aftercare and showing the client that their satisfaction matters to you

Embrace Empathy

Another soft skill for sales professionals is having empathy with potential clients and their situations.

Being empathetic allows you to understand a client’s needs ahead of time and act on them effectively. This skill involves prioritising their feelings over the sale and putting yourself in the client’s shoes, deepening your understanding of their situation and thought process. With this tactic, clients will begin to trust and rely on you to offer something of added value to them, increasing your overall sales success over time.

Adaptability Leads to Sales Success

Few industries change as quickly or as constantly as sales. With new challenges, disruptive technologies, and new processes, teams need to be adaptable and flexible to ensure sales success is a constant.

Working effectively in a fast-paced environment and not faltering when change occurs is the adaptability skill your salespeople need. This flexibility allows you to easily change what you're selling, from face-to-face conversations to telesales calls.

A few ways to boost adaptability across your team and create sales success include:

  • Looking for new opportunities: From training courses to tasking them with a challenging sales call, encourage your people to step outside their comfort zone.
  • Change ways of working: Avoid monotonous work by switching up sales approaches and challenging your staff to innovate and find new ways of working.

Strategic Thinking is Key

As with any job, even the most successful salesperson will face setbacks at various points. However, strategic thinking allows successful salespeople to plan and prepare for these setbacks, meaning they can act quickly and appropriately to rectify situations before they escalate.

The sales industry may be fast-paced and reactive, but taking time to think and plan upcoming sales calls can give you a competitive edge. In addition, it will ensure staff is providing the correct answers to your client's concerns.

In terms of management, strategic thinking allows you to prioritise and identify any sales skills gaps or actions your team needs to take. Strategic thinking will ultimately help to increase your overall success, helping you plan sales training effectively to ensure the team is always up to speed.

Ramp Up Your Technical Sales Expertise

Technology is at the forefront of a successful sales team. As well as having the right set of hard and soft skills for sales professionals, salespeople need to understand and effectively use the various available sales technology tools.

These tools can impact all sales areas, from finding new leads to recording conversions, so having an active interest in getting the most from them can prove invaluable.

To boost your team's technical expertise, it can be a good idea to bring in members of staff who have a firm grounding in all things tech. At Pareto, we can help uncover your next tech superstar through our IT sales apprenticeship. We understand that there is a difference between generic sales skills and the knowledge required to show potential clients the value of a piece of technology to them and their business. Having technical sales expertise within your sales team can make all the difference in delivering positive results.


Ensuring your team has all the skills they need to succeed means having an effective training plan to help maximise success. Now that you know what skills and qualities a successful sales team needs, see how we can further support you. Discover how you can improve your sales team and their ROI with bespoke sales training solutions from Pareto and realise your potential today.

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