Redefining the Talent Profile of the Ideal Sales Candidate

Complex B2B sales is evolving at a rapid pace, however the approach to recruiting sales talent is not. The increase in complexity means that B2B sales is becoming increasingly systemised and sales leaders need to reconsider the talent profile of their ideal candidate.

By changing the talent profile and implementing a recruitment process that effectively identifies ideal candidates, sales organisations will better optimise their sales processes and potentially create a competitive advantage.  


The changing sales environment requires a shift in thinking when it comes to the “ideal” sales candidate profile.

Firstly, the rise in highly informed and savvy prospects who can research online, join chat forums, read online reviews, browse websites, find news articles and even search academic content to get the latest information on anything they’re looking for. They’re choosing to do business with organisations that can give them something that they can’t get anywhere else.

And secondly, with so much data available, there’s a real shift towards a far more data-driven, predictive approach to selling. 

These changes mean there are some specific characteristics that the next generation of salespeople must possess to excel in their field.

A sales professional needs to be motivated, adaptable, honest and tenacious – and, without question, customer focused. But now there are some additional key traits that are considered highly valuable:

  • Intelligence and curiosity – More than ever curiosity and intelligence are imperative in a sales professional. The most desirable candidates need to be able to quickly assess and understand the business problem that a prospect needs solved. They need to essentially become an industry expert with enough knowledge to get the attention of a prospect. Often, the salesperson needs to understand and have more knowledge about the prospect’s business than the prospect does themselves. 

  • Organised and process driven – No longer can a salesperson be that high achieving lone wolf. Access to copious amounts of data and sales enablement tools means sales processes are highly effective and constantly being improved. This means a salesperson needs to be methodical in following these processes and organised enough to manage processes across all their prospects. The best sales outcomes come from a highly structured approach.

  • Analytical thinking – Interpretation of data is central to the role of a salesperson. With insights provided every step of the sales journey, a candidate must be able to work out what the data means, then use that information to uncover new sales opportunities and for their own professional development.


When it comes to the recruitment process, it’s essential to implement evaluation tools that will assess these traits, assisting in objectively identifying the right candidate for the role. 

This can be achieved through giving candidates certain tasks to help assess their suitability.  Those tasks should contain a research component, communication component and an interpretative component assessing the candidate’s ability to digest complex information and show that they understand it.

There’s no question that the sales environment has, and is, evolving exponentially. It’s now important to find the qualities in sales talent to join the evolution.