These are the the traits that B2B buyers’ value in salespeople, according to one recent survey:

Table of the traits that B2B buyers’ value in salespeople

Are these the traits that B2B buyers’ value in salespeople?

I’m always suspicious of surveys that average the results from a non-homogenous group but this one appears to ring true. Of course, the results will not be identical for all sectors. B2B covers everything from power stations to stationary, and the traits weighted differently, but they will all be there.

Active listening comes top, and that shouldn’t be a surprise. It’s the active part that’s most difficult. Good salespeople are very good at it, picking up the nuances and asking the right questions. And it difficult to be good at Problem solving, number two on the list, if you don’t ask the right questions and define the problem. Often the problem is not immediately obvious, unless say, water is running through the ceiling.

I’d like to think that being Technology proficient and Industry expertise are a given. But even good salespeople need regular updates to understand the value that their technology can bring to the customer, and the changes in their customers’ industry. The deeper their knowledge the better the salesperson, provided they can apply that knowledge to the customer’s problem and communicate it effectively. That’s part of the value of the sales enablement programmes we deliver.

Are there any surprises?

Of the ten, Confidence and Years of experience are the most surprising to me. Obviously, customers don’t want to deal with a shrinking violet, but providing the person has the other traits, confidence can be built. And, although there are exceptions, Years of experience is only of value if it adds to industry knowledge and technology proficiency. We’ve all met salespeople that have years of experience but can’t take on new ideas.

Can you suggest any that are missing?

Do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment.