The Ideal Candidate for a Sales Role


Your company is growing, you’re succeeding, and you’re extending your team to reach more prospective customers. Whether you’re recruiting your first salesperson or expanding your sales team, it’s critical to understand how to recognise a good salesperson.

Hiring a great salesperson is a complex process. There is no universal model that spells out every step and how to accomplish it. It takes a lot of skill, planning, supporting tools and good judgement. 

To ensure that you continue to grow, you must first understand what makes a successful salesperson and then attract the ideal sales talent to join your team and assist you in scaling. In this article, we help you build a sales profile and hire top sales talent.

What is the Ideal Candidate for a Sales Role

There is a misconception that the most effective salespeople are Type A, overbearing and straight-talking people. Perhaps this used to be the ideal sales approach. Nowadays, diverse product and service offerings require a variety of sales approaches. Salespeople who are comfortable with details and confident in their product expertise are required for technical items and services. On the other hand, relationship selling requires salespeople who can rapidly and readily build long-lasting ties with clients who make recurring purchases. The ideal candidate for a sales position has a close personality and behavioural match to the expertise demanded by a product or service.

There has also been a rise in prospects who are well-informed and knowledgeable enough to research online, read online reviews and testimonials and compare websites to obtain the most up-to-date information on anything they’re interested in purchasing. 

Because of these developments, the future generation of salespeople will need to exhibit specific attributes to thrive in their business.  A salesperson must be driven, adaptive, honest, and persistent – and, most importantly, customer centred. However, some additional key characteristics are highly valuable. These include:


Prospecting is essential in sales to find and identify possible customers who are a good fit for your business. Salespeople need prospecting to expand their customer base and bring in new business. Prospecting involves actively searching for new potential, qualified customers and encompasses activities such as cold calling, asking for referrals, cultivating existing cold leads, and networking.

Active Listening

Salespeople are frequently too preoccupied with talking to listen. Even if they are tuned in, they generally only listen for a single word or challenge indicating whether the prospect requires their product. However, the best salespeople listen differently. They set aside the script (and sometimes their personal agenda) and pay close attention to the words and emotions conveyed by a prospect through their language, tone of voice, facial expressions, and body language.


Sales qualification is the process of establishing whether a prospect or lead is a good fit for your product or service. Qualifying involves the systematic process of carefully verifying whether or not a prospect is willing and able to buy. Your ideal sales candidate should have strong qualifying skills. 

Critical Thinking

Critical thinking is one of the most highly sought after skills in the workplace. It involves evaluating information from the prospect and making the connection, if any, between the prospect’s challenges and your solution.

Building Rapport

Building rapport is critical for establishing trust between you and your client. The more you get to know your client, and the more they get to know you, the easier the process. Building rapport involves creating, developing and maintaining an open and trusting atmosphere for honest communication and sharing of information.


Being proactive is key to generating leads, customers, and sales in a sales environment. Sales candidates with high initiative aspire to achieve something or succeed, accompanied by motivation, determination, and an internal drive to perform at a higher level continually.

Following the Sales Process

A formalised sales process guarantees that your team’s efforts are directed towards activities that generate the highest revenue. However, having a sales process is pointless if your salespeople do not adhere to it. A sales prospect who outperforms in following the process is dutiful and diligent in sticking to it.


Presenting is critical to success in sales as it helps your potential customers develop trust in you, your product, and your business. Presenting is essentially the act of skillfully and compellingly communicating the proposed solution’s effectiveness in solving the prospect’s issues.

Goal Orientation

Your sales candidates need to show excellent goal orientation. Goal orientation is the disposition towards developing and demonstrating the ability to achieve higher levels of performance and success. Candidates with high goal orientation set targets to ensure they reach high performance levels.

Time Management

Salespeople regularly interact with many prospective clients simultaneously. Time management is essential to ensure they use their time effectively or productively. Salespeople who can manage their time wisely productively divide time between specific sales activities.

Need for Approval

The need for approval in sales can be detrimental and may get in the way of asking tough questions, limiting where a sales conversation goes and undermining the progress of a deal. Salespeople who effectively use the need for approval, respect the prospects and want to keep them positive throughout the sales process. 

Dealing with Failure

Dealing with failure is a necessity for sales. Salespeople do not win every sale and need the ability to recover from setbacks and losses while gaining resiliency and the ability to better deal with adversity.

Controlling the Sales Process

Salespeople who control the sales process actively take charge of every step of the sales process by clearly defining and agreeing upon all the steps and possible outcomes with the prospect. Your ideal sales candidates should have strong control of the sales process as it will help guide the prospect towards a decision.


Salespeople require the drive to engage in competition for opportunities and take action. Sales candidates who have a strong desire to be better and more successful than others will consistently and persistently strive to improve their level of performance to win at any cost.

Handling Objections

Sales candidates who understand that stalls and objections are part of the sales process and do not threaten a favourable buying decision are likely to succeed. 

Money Concept

Salespeople, especially those involved in selling high-value goods or services, need to view making money as a healthy endeavour in compensation for their selling activities. Sales candidates with a good money concept hold objective and non-emotional views and beliefs about money. They view it as an abundant resource used to measure performance and obtain things and lifestyle. They value their own time and are not afraid to charge for it.

Questioning Effectiveness

There are several reasons why your ideal sales candidate profile should include effective questioning tactics. Good questions expedite qualifying and reduce stalls and objections. A structured and effective way of using well-thought-out questions reveals the prospect’s real issues and challenges.

Emotional Distance

Emotional distance is the ability to avoid getting engaged in the sales process with one’s own or the prospect’s emotions. It shields the sales professional from reacting emotionally instead of objectively and rationally and supports them to make the best decisions to move the sales process forward.

How to Recruit the Ideal Candidate for a Sales Position

Complex B2B sales is growing quickly, but the approach to recruiting salespeople is not. Because of the increased complexity, B2B sales are becoming more systemised, and sales managers must reconsider the talent profile of their ideal sales candidate.

Sales organisations may improve their sales processes and gain a competitive edge by modifying their personnel profile and developing a recruiting strategy that successfully finds prospective employees. While it may seem overwhelming when there is an extensive list of sales characteristics, the reality is that not all these characteristics may be necessary for your goods or services. We recommend picking 3-5 of the above list to guide you in creating a talent profile of your ideal candidate for a sales position.

In addition to reevaluating your talent profile, some other tips to hire the ideal candidate for a sales role include:

  • Set the minimum preferences for your ideal candidate.
  • Create an attractive job advertisement
  • Select the best applicants for interviews based on experience, cover letters and phone screening
  • Pay close attention to applicants who contact you prior to the interviews
  • During your interviews, ask thoughtful questions beyond technical and skill-based questions
  • Make sure that the applicants also ask thoughtful questions
  • When describing what you require, be detailed and honest to ensure they are the right fit
  • Follow up with prospective applicants as soon as possible.

How to Assess Behavioural Traits

When it comes to the recruiting process, it’s critical to use assessment tools that will evaluate these characteristics, aiding in objectively finding the best applicant for the job.

This can be accomplished by assigning specific tasks to candidates to assess their eligibility. These activities should include research, communication, and interpretive components that assess the candidate’s ability to digest and demonstrate an understanding of complicated material.

When assessing the behavioural traits of your ideal applicant, you can also employ other sales candidate assessment tools such as a DISC Profile and sales talent assessments

DISC Assessments

When assessing an applicant’s suitability for a sales position, defining the behavioural traits that help a person excel in the role is advantageous. DISC assessments help identify the traits that an individual possesses that would enable them to succeed in a sales environment.

A popular belief among sales consultants and business owners is that a DI or ID DISC profile pattern is ideal for sales effectiveness. That may work brilliantly for many sales professions. However, consultants, sales managers and business owners sometimes ignore the fact that not all sales roles are created alike, and this DISC profile does not apply to all sales positions.

To find the best DISC profile for sales, first, define the best sales style for the role. The most effective sales style is determined by the type of product or service you sell and the industry you work in. 

Once you have determined the ideal DISC profile for your role, you can then ask your top candidates to complete the DISC questionnaire and evaluate their results to help you recruit the ideal candidate for a sales role.

Sales Competence Assessments

A Sales Competence Assessment is an employment tool that assists recruiters and managers in objectively identifying and selecting salespeople with the greatest potential for long-term sales success. A sales competency test aids in the simplification of your recruitment needs.

A salesperson’s natural aptitude, predispositions, attitude, degree of expertise, and mentality all contribute to their success. The ground-breaking Sales Competence Assessment integrates all of these criteria into a single assessment, allowing recruiters and sales managers to make more accurate personnel selections, reduce employee attrition and recruitment expenses, and boost salesforce productivity.

Furthermore, the recruitment assessment provides a match between a salesperson and a job role and the sales cycle. This match helps to guarantee that you place your recruit in the appropriate position within your organisation.

In comparison to other sales recruiting tests, the results are not static, and the tool assumes that everyone is hireable since people may grow or reprioritise their abilities. ​