you see types where the natural talent works a long way. e.g. there have been situations where a team of guys went for meetings, and i personally have found occassions where i just smelt an opportunity, lined up with one person sitting in a corner on sheer instinct and found a huge opportunity of selling something which the team had not even gone for.
There was another case where we were making a CMMS pitch, a guy promised a purchase the next day, and within 48 hours i smelt there is no sale. However, the in-charge still spent 3 more months running behind this huge prospect he had found.
PR skills, friendliness, talking and feeling good with strangers, waiting in the reception and making cool talk with the receptionist or the secretaries, extracting information of your target, their coming and going times, what time they sit in the meetings, now these have got to come naturally to you. This can only be acquired as this element is different in every office, every situation. The ability to cultivate a company high tech person, giving him gyaan, and also wheedling out your expenses and late dinners and leads, now this has also got to come natural.
Even when i travelled Economy class AI, i got my copy of The Economist, Forbes, some more magazines, a few beers or a couple of Bloody Marys within the first 20 minutes of take-off, by simply cultivating the lady sitting across (I normally book the seat on the wing, where an air-hostess sits there facing u). And all this with the guy sitting next to me denied 80 percent of what I am getting, and having to wheedle for the stuff.
However, Training is a must, as it smoothens out other things - a sale guy becomes more well rounded in writing proposals, using tools for presentations, being able to use his skills to talk to different purchase drivers within an organization e.g. finance director, a technical guy trying and giving the thums up for the product, the IT guy who whets and approves the solution and the number of licenses and coordinates the training for the internal staff. A lot of this training has got to be something the company has to give - not many Marketing MBAs would have all of this on them.
Most of the above that I mentioned is a personal charm - nice to sing and boast about, but formal training is needed as a sale is complete only when the client gives an order, the order is executed, deliverables and commitments are honored. For this, training is a MUST and never be compromised. Industrial sales are complex, agreements, master agreements, legal issues, contingencies and their mappings, alternate solutions, risk mitigation and protecting your client interests only come thru proper training.
Whatever be your charm quotient, a technical client will always look at alternate solutions, and only your internal trainings and knowledge of competition and their products / pricing / services will give extra edge. The charm and suavity would give u the additional leeway, but at the end of the year, one better have concrete sales figures.
I have come across Master of Financial Management guys and Engineering types also giving extremely good sales performances and out-performing their peers. These types have been able to sell by simply playing numbers on the client and always talking of either cost savings or profits or ROIs with such alacrity and ease, that it become just to overwhelming for any competitor to blow this windstorm away.
Ten years of whatever I saw of this guy, he always beat his annual planned figures by June or September in a Jan - Dec timeframe consistently.