Why hard skills are important for sales -- and how to master them
What makes one sales development representative rise to superhero status while everyone else is still trying to figure out how to put on their capes?
To ace a sales career, you need to practice both hard skills and soft skills. Oddly enough, there’s not a lot of clear information out there about hard skills for sales. Most advice lumps the two skill types together or gives soft skills the bulk of the attention.
But it’s important not to overlook hard skills in sales development training. If you want to stand out in a sales role, you need a solid grasp of the basics that make the whole sales process work.
What are hard skills?
Indeed.com defines hard skills as “technical knowledge or training that you have gained through any life experience, including your career or education.” In other words, hard skills are things you can learn to do through any type of training.
You can’t do your job unless you know how to do your job.
Hard skills are often job specific. You’ve probably seen them listed as bullet points in job postings, declaring, “At least 3 years experience using Some Popular CRM Platform required” or “Experience with This Common Word Processing Suite preferred.” You’re more likely to get hired if you have the desired know-how.
Soft skills, on the other hand, stem from your personality traits and influence how you interact with other people. You can learn the basics of these skills from someone else, but they’re mostly honed over time as you work in a sales role.
It’s easier for employers to measure hard skills than soft skills, but both are important in sales development training. We’ll cover soft skills in the next post -- for now, let’s focus on what hard skills employers are looking for and how to develop them so that you stand out!
Why are hard skills important?
The most obvious reason why hard skills are important in sales is that you can’t function as a rep without them. You’d be lost if you didn’t have the practical and technical knowledge required for the position.
Basically, you can’t do your job...unless you know how to do your job.
But hard skills have benefits beyond simplifying your day-to-day work. Mastering the technical aspects of an SDR role also:
It can also mean a bigger overall salary. If you’re really rocking it, connecting with prospects, cranking out emails and zipping through successful calls, you’ll close more deals and take home more commissions. You might even catch your boss’s eye with your SDR superhero talents and get a bonus.
(That shouldn’t be your only motivation, but it’s nothing to sneeze at, right?)
What hard skills do sales development reps need?
Sales advice often talks up the importance of communication, teamwork and dedication, but you can’t be great at those without working on hard skills first. Here’s what you need to master to be amazing in an SDR role:
How to develop hard skills for sales
You should have picked up some of the skills you’ll need as a sales development rep when you were in school, but you can’t stop there if you want to be truly great at what you do. Boost those skills -- and show your boss you’re serious about your job -- by:
Of course, you should never underestimate the power of learning on the job! (Check out the video for a breakdown of the benefits.)
Continue to practice your skills once you’ve landed a sales job. Colleagues can be a wealth of information; they know all the tricks and hacks to make the sales process even more efficient. Hang out with them for a while, and you’ll start to assimilate their sales superhero secrets. (But you have to actually use what you learn -- it doesn’t happen by osmosis!)
What if you want to get going with those hard skills for sales right now? TheSDS Sales Leadership Training Course gives you access to training drawn from on-the-job SDR experience. You get access to everything you need to know to land -- and succeed -- in an SDR role, plus personalized coaching for that added edge. Join the Sales Dev Squad today to get started!