Business Acumen is no longer a “maybe”; it’s a requirement for salespeople

Posted by Paradigm Learning on April 30, 2015

Salespeople need business acumen!  

Okay, sales leaders…

Open your eyes because the industry is broadcasting a very consistent message: Salespeople need business acumen

Take these three quotes:

“Salespeople need a high degree of business acumen in order to fully understand their buyers’ goals.”
— Mark Roberge, Chief Revenue Officer of Hubspot | Author of The Sales Acceleration Formula

“To be a great sales person, you really need to have a fundamental understanding for how your customer and prospects’ business works. The level of business acumen allows you to appreciate what drives the good, bad, and ugly within their four walls.”

— Bill Golder, CEO of Slingshot Growth partners | 5 Traits of the Best Sales People I’ve Ever Seen

“ When business acumen is missing, the salesperson is unable to speak the language of business with their prospects. They lack the conceptual understanding to be able to discuss the business issues, challenges, and opportunities in a way that is meaningful and valuable to their prospects.”
— Anthony Lannarino, The Sales Blog

We could go on, but we don’t need to. There has simply been a paradigm shift in sales skills and it begins with business acumen. The future is calling for more than just a salesperson to be able to “sell.” Sales skills are dramatically different than what they were even just a few years ago, yet some organizations are training or providing the same tired products without truly understanding the deeper skills needed for their sales teams. Business acumen is a way to “upgrade” these skills. Take a look at some trends we found through industry research below.

    • OLD
    • Sales Person: Driving sales based on internal agenda for short term wins  
    • General questioning techniques for information
    • Understanding pricing
    • Responding to customer needs, challenges, agenda, etc.
    • NEW
    •    Sales Consultant: Blending mutual interests of company and customer for longer term wins, high satisfaction, and loyalty
      Deeper interview skills for insights (consultative)
      Being financially savvy and agile in all financial calculations and discussions (especially as it pertains to the customer’s business)
      Leading discussions more proactively—in both positive and more challenging situations

Business acumen training is an effective way to turn your salespeople into customer-centric sellers, as well as upgrade their skill sets. And we don’t need any more quotes to prove that. 

Topics: Business Acumen for Sales Professionals, Business Acumen, Human Resources