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Which sales skills and behaviors, when done well, had the most positive impact on purchase decisions? And which negative behaviors were most likely to tank a deal?

We recently asked the Emissary human intelligence network of Fortune 1000 technology buyers to reflect on their most recent technology purchase of $250,000 or greater. In 22 percent of these deals, they reported that the decision was easy, because the winning solution was “ideal for their needs” and far superior to competitive options. The rest of the time (78 percent of purchases), the decision was a close one, influenced by a range of factors controlled by the seller. The best sellers earn more than their fair share of these neck-and-neck contests. So what do buyers want to see from their sellers that earns them the business? A lot of things! Buyers in our studies want, and expect, rich conversations, advice and expertise, and partnerships.

And generally speaking, they don’t perceive that they are getting them.

Why Sales Skills Still Matter

There is a lot of ground to be gained by sellers and marketers. To put a finer point on it, we took the buyer expectations from our previous studies and we distilled them down into a list of 10 sales skills and behaviors that technology buyers see as influential:

□ Aligning to buying process

□ Configuring messaging

□ Demonstrating account intelligence

□ Demonstrating buyer intelligence

□ Discovery skills

□ Facilitating dialogue

□ Insight selling

□ Managing buyer time

□ Objection handling

□ Responsiveness

Ten things can be a lot of focus on. So we reached back out to the buyer network to help us prioritize. We framed each critical sales behavior in two ways: a scenario in which a seller was highly skilled, and a scenario in which a seller was poorly skilled. We then shared these good and bad examples with 424 technology buyers and asked them to consider the impact of each behavior.

Four behaviors scored above average as both negative derailers and as positive influencers. Sellers and sales enablement leaders should spend extra attention on getting them right, as they are clearly visible to buyers and significantly influence the buying process.

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Want More Buyer Insights?

Each quarter, we examine the IT buyer’s perspective and current trends to provide sellers and marketers with valuable insights to sell tech solutions:

How Do Tech Buyers Buy?

Why Do IT Executives Buy? And Why Don’t They? 

Selling Tech is Hard. Buying Tech is Even Harder