The War Room
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Post

In your experience what's more important for a sales person?

I know this can easily be answered by saying you have to have a mix. But let's avoid that. I have known many people over the years who have fallen into both categories. Either they have known the product inside and out but couldn't have a great conversation to save their life. Or they were a very very good sales person but only halfway knew the product. I've seen success in both areas and am curious what everyone thinks.

What's more important
Attached poll
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👑 Sales Strategy
12
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Why can't you have superb sales skills and invite a product specialist to attend the meeting 🤔
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Outside the box answer I love it @CuriousFox 
CuriousFox
WR Officer
+13
Senior Account Executive
Then upvote it 🦊
Show 3 more replies
SiliconBBQ
Politicker
+4
The Metal Rooster
hahahahahaha.... sounds like what my bdrs do/think they do.

but i agree with CF.
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Perfect to the core 
Austin
Celebrated Contributor
+7
Regional Corporate Sales
Best way I’ve seen it done. 

Matter of resources, I suppose. 

I wish I had a technical expert to attend at least vetted major opportunities - but mostly I’m flying solo, getting the technical answers I don’t have in the moment - back to them as soon as humanly possible, after huddling up w my inside team... who should’ve sent someone with me in the first place. 

... but, I digress. 
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
Since you've ruled out the mix option, I think knowing the product inside out would be the way to go.

I feel once you know the capacity and the workings of your product inside out, you eliminate the need to talk anything up, hype anything up or even say a white lie. You'll totally rely on case studies, real stories and will be easily able to answer any questions they may have about the product providing them with a safe space to explore your solution better!
softwaresails
Politicker
+4
Sales Manager
I agree, I think a mix of both is definitely the answer.
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
100%
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Well said, it’s crazy watching people like this become successful but it shows you there is more than one way to skin a cat.
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
Absolutely! We need to have that mix option haha 
RB
RBO
Executive
+3
Sales Manager
It's definitely a mix but if I had to choose, I couldn't disagree with this more. When in doubt lean on sales skill. Product knowledge is useless if you can't determine whether or not the person needs what you're selling.

People don't buy rationally, despite what current "influencers" would lead you to believe. 
Ace
Arsonist
+9
CEO
But determining what the person needs is a part of knowing what your product can do 
Show 4 more replies
RahRahBooty
Opinionated
+4
Business Development
If you’re fearless and confident, pretty sure you can sell anything even if you don’t know the product. 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
I feel the same way on this
CR8
Good Citizen
Business Development Representative
I’ve always been a believer in fine tuning your skills and the product knowledge was secondary. You can always bring in one of you product experts on important sales calls but it’s a real struggle to make your way through a prospective organization without the soft skills. At least that’s my thought on it. Open to hearing any counter points
funcoupons
WR Officer
+12
that's queen coups to u
I'm in agreement here. You can know every detail about a product but if you can't sell it then who cares?
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
I’m with you. But I have seen it done both ways and can’t picture not having the sales skills and still being successful myself.
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Preach!
Chep
WR Officer
+10
Business Development Team Lead
I think sales skills are more important for an SDR, but for a sales engineer, it's the opposite!
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Interesting. That’s a good point part of it depends on where you are.
mel
NAM Account Executive
I have seen some reps who just LOVE the products and know it inside and out to the point that they confuse and complicate the sales process because rather than sell, they start to teach ins and outs of features and totally lose their prospect. Even those those features are cool, knowing everything doesn't always mean you are more likely to get the sale (and I agree with @curiousfox -product specialists are golden)
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Yep I have seen that a lot too. It can totally be a big negative 
Kiona
Opinionated
+2
Head of Business Development
Industry expertise is a must, but soft skills are harder to teach than technical skills. 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Yea this is a lot more of a natural ability type of thing than people realize
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
That's so right and true
that_indian_guy
Account Executive
The ability to say no + product skills. If you know the product, you can sell it faster than having to wait and coordinate a call with a product specialist. 

The ability to say no helps build boundaries over what you can/won't help with during the sales cycle + post-sale. When starting out as an AE, I used to have a major problem where I was too willing to help a customer to the point where they felt like they didn't need to buy implementation or would solely rely on me for support after the sale. After nearly burning out, I now correctly set expectations with my customers. 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
That’s so true! I’ve seen that especially early on where reps are willing to do anything to be successful that it becomes part of their normal process and totally hurts their psyche 
ZebraStripe
Opinionated
+2
Sr Sales Director
You can always teach someone about a product, it takes time, but they'll get it.  Sales skills are less teachable, and some of it is just part of you.  

Over selling or selling past the close is something that will happen when you just completely geek out about a product and don't focus on creating the need.
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Well said
RB
RBO
Executive
+3
Sales Manager
I watch this happen all the time with Product/feature focused sales teams.
letsaddvalue
Sr. BDR
I feel when you have product knowledge + great skills the sales cycle is shorter and quicker.
BillyHoyle
Tycoon
+11
Senior Account Executive
I feel like it’s a mix of both of these. Understanding how to drive the conversation is extremely important, but if the entirety of your selling strategy is based on sales tactics your going to leave something to be desired. Having a deep understanding of your product and the industry it serves can allow you to come at things with a much more consultative approach. All about being able to demonstrate and communicate that deep f*cking value!
UserNotFound
Politicker
+10
Mid Market Manager
Can you sell without product knowledge? Yes
Can you sell without sales skills? Yes
Can you be successful in sales without product knowledge? If your company has SMEs, yes. 
Can you be successful in sales without sales skills? No. Even though the saying 'even a blind squirrel can find a nut' definitely holds here- that would never be called 'success'. 

Sales Skills is all-important here.
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Preach!
bswdr
Old School Bravo
Inbound Sales Manager
I mean you definitely need both, but if you have to choose 1, probably knowing the product inside and out. If you don't know your product, how do you value sell?
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
I like the logic there
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Product in and out is my vote

Once you know what to serve, how would only be a matter of time - in case of food
Same holds here
I'd still put my 100% on mix
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Fair take, but yea a mix is clearly ideal lol
Salespreuner
Big Shot
+11
Regional Sales Director
Absolutely 💯
EQSales
Contributor
+2
VP of Sales
depends if you have a transactional, not complex product or a technical product with lengthy sales cycles and pre-sales engineers.  the best reps in the latter, leverage their sales skills and communication to maximize how they and their SE resources fill each other's skill gaps
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Yea every situation can totally change the answer here
Telehealth_2the_Moon
Notable Contributor
+13
Director of Business Development
In a perfect world both, but I think you can be successful with either of the options as long as you know where your blindspots and weaknesses are so you can compensate. 

Great Sales Skills: Make sure you add some prep time to refresh on the use case for the customer and some product features you learned from discovery are important to them. 

Know the product in and out: When you prep, set out some specific impact questions and ways you want to add urgency, set timelines, and achieve other "sales" stuff.
Lumbergh
Politicker
+3
Sr Account Exec
Having sold mostly very complex stuff over my career, I have almost always had Sales Engineers as part of my process. I know my tech, but they know it better and so does the customer. Most important job for sales is listening and being able to translate customer need into how your product can satiate that need
Dr.Sales
Executive
I would say neither and rather go with curiosity. 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Interesting. Can you elaborate?
StonedColdCloser
Opinionated
+4
Business Development Manager
In my past two roles, I have tried to become a product specialist because I never wanted to asked a question that I didn't have the answer to. I was successful, but ultimately never as good as I knew I could be. In the end, my motivation was all to feed my own ego because I wanted to be the "Smartest" guy in the room. In my newest role I have reached my full potential by relying on my ability to listen and respond with the proper feature, benefit, close sequence. Simply asking good questions and being prepared for the most probable responses is all it takes. 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
I like this, always looking to improve
StonedColdCloser
Opinionated
+4
Business Development Manager
Once you stop learning, you start dying... Right?
Show 1 more replies
SalesSage
Valued Contributor
+8
National Account Manager
I think curiosity is key.
RB
RBO
Executive
+3
Sales Manager
Product knowledge is wildly overrated. I've sold so many different products to different buyers and had success across the board. 

It's about working opportunities the right way and quickly determining if the person you're talking to has a problem you can solve
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
Love this!
Sa
SalesTO
Personal Narrative
+2
Team Supervisor
Working from home - going off the grid with time management. Having freedom can be dizzying because you do everything that you can end up doing nothing. 

Time blocking to do certain type of sales activities everyday, regardless of the result, can lead to a lot more than skills or product knowledge. 
Bittersweet0326
Politicker
+5
Digital Business Associate
All of these are very important. I don’t think people understand how beneficial it is to block time for growth like that.
Austin
Celebrated Contributor
+7
Regional Corporate Sales
Knowing the product is required. 

But you could know everything in the world about your product, and if you can’t connect with the prospect... unfortunately, it’s all for not. 

You win the account when you become the first person the prospect / client thinks to call when their in a bind. You win the business by being their answer - whether it’s with your product or service, or someone else’s. 

Cus no matter what, help that guy out of a bind one time, and he’ll pick up the phone to call you the next time. 
10
Do you think a sales person can be considered overpaid?
Question
48
Can a sales person be over compensated
+149
sales_pirate ,   FeelItInMyPlums ,   showmetheroi   and 149 people voted
*Voting in this poll no longer yields commission.
11
Sales is more important than product. You are more important than you know, friends.
Discussion
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