Sales execs are the backbone of any fast-growing business. Their job is to bring revenue into the business, and look good doing it.
It isn’t a role that comes without its difficulties, however, and there is a very particular set of skills and attributes that a sales executive must have to be a success.
1. Communication and interpersonal skills
Communication skills are massively important within sales. However, people perhaps mistakenly think this means you must be the outspoken, loud, super extrovert in every situation.
Anyone worth their salt within sales and has had training knows the old saying “we have two ears and one mouth, so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”.
There is never a truer saying for rockstar sales reps – they spend more of their time deep diving into the customer problems so they truly understand the customer pain points before aligning those pains with what their product and solution offers.
Despite this, being able to be engaging and convincing when speaking to potential customers is also incredibly important. In spite of technological advances including AI, the fact remains that people still buy from people and most people want to do business with people that they respect and like.
One of the key traits of the best rockstar sales reps we see here at Resst is that they are storytellers.
Selling Enterprise SaaS is complex. In a sea of noise with many competitors, it is important a sales rep can stand out.
A relatively easy way of doing so is moving away from espousing the merits of the features and functions of the software and instead inspiring buyers. They do this by appealing to the buyer’s emotions and communicating the value of the solution they sell concisely yet with authenticity and enthusiasm. This can often involve using case studies, as well as all the information captured in the qualification stage. This helps create the story, taking them from their current ‘pain’ stage to what the future could hold if they invest in a solution that alleviates this pain.
3. Able to inspire through insight
When considering insight, this can be manifold when it comes to sales professionals. It involves being able to draw from product knowledge, industry expertise, and understanding of the competitor landscape. Rockstar sales reps then utilise all of this information to become a trusted advisor and ultimately educate prospects and clients to inspire and challenge them to think away from the status quo.
By leveraging the storytelling skills we mentioned above, a rockstar sales rep is able to not only appeal to their emotions in the buying process but also create evidenced base reasoning through this insight into why they should buy their product.
4. Controlling the process
We all know that processes in enterprise sales are slow. Many stakeholders exist within the buying process and all come with different and complex drivers. We are all also painfully aware of the fact that time essentially kills deals. Top sales reps therefore have to control the process – meaning they have to set clear expectations from the outset and create a sense of urgency throughout.
One way which top sales reps control the process is through what formidable sales trainer Richard Harris calls “The Respect Contract”.
As part of that Respect Contract, getting a verbal agreement that at any stage of the process, if this does not feel right for either the seller or buyer, they will raise it as soon as possible so as to not waste anyone’s time. This keeps a top rep’s pipeline real and help ensure there are no opportunities that are making the forecasts look nice but in reality will never close.
Another key skill apart from setting expectations is creating a sense of urgency whilst striking that balance of not over-pressurising a prospect and making them uncomfortable.
Maintaining the urgency does three things, firstly it keeps the process moving at as fast a rate as possible.
Secondly, it tells a buyer that this is important to you and so should be important to them. It gives them further confidence that they need this solution to make a positive change.
Thirdly, it can make prospects recoil and actually admit that this is moving too fast and they are not ready to buy yet. This isn’t the end of the world, a real rockstar sales rep will simply acknowledge this in their CRM and ensure follow ups are scheduled to keep in touch for when they are ready to buy.
After all, it is better to qualify someone early in the process than to hold out hope and waste time.
It is impossible to get away from the fact that to be a successful sales rep, you need to be able to close deals. In every step of the process they move things forward, and most importantly they get that signature and close the sale effectively.
The skills of a good closer encompasses all of the above aspects we’ve mentioned. They will have communicated well, utilised storytelling, inspired through insight and controlled the whole process.
By the end of the process they are likely to have already closed many times and they will have used pre-closes/trial closes to gauge interest and challenges throughout the process. Ultimately, the real closers in the team will be the most confident in the pipeline they’ve built and perfected.
Some say closers are born. We won’t disagree that the best sales reps have certain intrinsic qualities. However, the best closers – and therefore rockstar reps – are those who mix hard work and their intrinsic qualities with a process-driven approach. They follow the playbook, the sales methodology and utilise all the support and materials at their disposal to get things across the line.