What makes a great sales rep today?
In the past, becoming a superstar sales rep was all about being a natural at persuasion.
That said—with the rise of automation and artificial intelligence, the most successful salespeople are those who can use those solutions to their advantage to continually build strong relationships and truly understand their customers' needs.
Today’s top sales reps are empathetic and great listeners. They are using data to think creatively, adapt quickly, and stay ahead of the competition. Those who can't keep up will undoubtedly be left behind.
In this article, we'll discuss the key traits and skills that make a great sales rep in today's world – and how you can use AI tools to reinforce and enhance sales performance.
- High-performing behaviors in sales
- The AI revolution in sales
- How AI tools reinforce high-performing behaviors
- Leveling up as a sales rep in the age of AI
High-performing behaviors in sales
The difference between an exceptional enterprise sales rep and one who's merely good often boils down to a set of high-performing behaviors. Let's delve into these behaviors and understand their significance.
In one study by Gong Labs, the higher performing salespeople sold 120% above their quota – by getting people to open up about their problems.
Imagine you're meeting with a potential client who mentions a recent challenge they faced with a competitor's product. If you're listening actively, you'll use the opportunity to get the client to talk about this specific pain point – and tailor your pitch accordingly. Active listening is more than just hearing words. It's understanding the client's underlying needs, challenges, and emotions and responding accordingly.
If you always keep your promises, deliver accurate product information, and seek genuine feedback, you’re always going to be boosting your reputation over time. Clients will come to trust you, knowing you won't oversell and underdeliver.
Trust is one of the most essential experiences top sellers can develop – but it isn't built overnight. It's the cumulative result of consistent honesty and reliability, built over years of putting the client's interests first.
The enterprise sales landscape is changing constantly. A sales rep who was a star performer last year with a particular strategy might find that same strategy obsolete today. Staying updated with market trends, new products and channels, and emerging customer preferences is crucial. So it's no surprise that 84% of employees in the best-performing organizations get the training they need – compared to just 16% in the worst-performing organizations.
Get aligned with marketing
When sales and marketing teams operate in silos, they miss out on opportunities to collaborate on lead generation, share customer insights, get messaging on the same page, and ultimately drive more revenue. But when they collaborate, the results can be powerful. Marketing can provide sales with content tailored to specific buyer personas, enhancing the sales pitch. And sales can provide marketing with real-time feedback on what messaging is resonating with customers to help marketing teams refine their campaigns.
Understanding buyer personas
By understanding buyer personas, sales reps can tailor their approach, addressing specific pain points and motivations. For example, a CFO might be more interested in cost-saving features, while a CTO might prioritize integration capabilities. Top sales reps focus on solving problems rather than selling products – and close more deals.
Shortening the sales cycle
The quicker a deal is closed, the better. But this doesn't mean rushing a client. It's about efficiency. For example, if a prospect hasn't responded to an email in a few days, a sales rep can use their SEP to see if the email was opened, and follow up with a call or personalized message. With modern sales platforms, sales reps can track their interactions with prospects, identify roadblocks, and tailor their approach to close deals faster.
The AI revolution in sales
The days when sales relied on intuition and manual processes have been fading fast but amidst our current revolution in artificial intelligence technologies, the shift is accelerating. Today, AI is reshaping the way sales professionals approach every part of the sales process.
Lead scoring used to be a tedious process. Sales reps would manually sift through leads, often relying on rudimentary scoring systems or just gut feeling. AI-driven tools are changing all that. Leads are scored based on a plethora of data points – ensuring that sales teams can focus their efforts on prospects that are actually promising.
Customer engagement is changing, too. With the help of AI, chatbots can handle preliminary interactions, answer basic questions, write relevant emails, and schedule meetings – freeing up sales reps to focus on more complex tasks. Bringing AI into your customer engagement streamlines the process and ensures that you're staying on top of customer touch points.
Personalization has transformed as well – from a labor-intensive process that required extensive background research to an AI-driven process that draws on customer data in real time. By tailoring your sales pitches and emails to your prospects' recent activities, preferences, and pain points, you'll drive way better results. In fact, companies with above-average revenue drive 40% of their revenue growth from personalization. That's according to McKinsey.
How AI tools reinforce high-performing behaviors
To make the most of AI, you need to use it intelligently.
It’s time to think beyond letting AI take over your processes, and use it to augment what your reps can do. AI has advanced to the point that it’s no longer just simply automating task A or process B. Instead, these processes are being fully executed by technology, with human guidance. By using AI you’re giving your team the tools and insights they need to amplify their skills – so they can sell smarter, faster, and more effectively.
Here's how today's leading organizations are using AI to create high performing sales reps:
- Sales Training: With AI-driven platforms at your side, training your sales reps has never been easier. Consider sales coaching platforms like Quantified that provide a way for sales reps to practice interactions with prospects with AI avatars. For instance, a sales leader can help a rep adjust if they frequently interrupt clients. This and similar platforms can help sales reps quickly improve on their individual strengths and weaknesses and sell more effectively – so it’s no surprise sales training tools deliver a staggering 353% ROI for the average company.
- Sales Enablement: By analyzing data shared between marketing and sales, AI tools can offer insights into which marketing strategies are driving sales (and which ones aren't). Getting marketing and sales on the same page ensures that your reps are equipped with the most effective collateral and insights... and leads to up to 19% faster revenue growth.
- Understanding Buyers: Getting a comprehensive picture of your buyers is a must for sales success. AI tools, integrated into the sales tech stack, can analyze data from various touchpoints—social media interactions, website visits, email responses, and more—to create a comprehensive picture of a prospect. And with that information in hand, your reps can tailor their pitches to address specific pain points and motivations.
- Active Listening: One of the most powerful developments in sales in recent years are sales assistant platforms – tools like Gong and Chorus can analyze sales calls and provide points of feedback, potential ways of addressing similar situations and more. Selling with the help of an AI assistant ensures that the client feels heard and understood, enabling your reps to develop better active listening skills.
- Building Trust: Trust is the bedrock of sales. AI platforms that offer insights into a customer's history, previous interactions, and preferences can be invaluable. For instance, if a sales rep knows that a client has faced issues with a product in the past, they can proactively address those concerns in their pitch, showcasing their commitment to the client's success.
Leveling up as a sales rep in the age of AI
Considering all these changes, it’s all the more important to understand how AI tools can help you become a better sales rep. Here are a few ways that salespeople can accomplish that.
Embrace AI Tools. Early adopters of AI technology often get a leg up on the competition – especially in enterprise sales. Over the last year, some companies have aggressively moved to integrate generative AI into their sales processes, while others have stuck to traditional methods. Over time, the early adopters will have the advantage – targeting prospects more quickly, personalizing pitches more effectively, and closing way more deals. In fact, according to McKinsey, companies that integrate AI into their sales processes can experience a 50% increase in leads and appointments.
Learn continuously. In sales, there's always more to learn. And with AI revolutionizing the sales profession, developing your skills is easier than it's ever been. AI platforms like Second Nature offer personalized AI-driven sales training to help sales reps continuously hone their skills. For instance, an AI-driven training platform might analyze call recordings and deliver custom training on overcoming objections or delivering upsells.
Use AI to drive collaboration. Siloed departments kill productivity. AI tools that can close the gap between sales, marketing, and tech teams can deliver game-changing results for your team. By considering technology as a teammate, AI can automate the repetitive parts of handoffs and interdepartmental processes between GTM teams -- like audience building for Operations, content creation for marketing, and sequence execution for sales. For instance, Regie.ai can read the content which marketing fills the CMS with and use it to generate perfectly personalized emails for reps to send to buyers. From there, Regie.ai will show you exactly what messaging is booking meetings and pipeline so you can feed those insights back to other parts of the revenue team. No more guessing what’s working and what’s not.
Iterate over time. Just like people, AI tools grow and evolve over time. And they perform best when given clear, specific feedback. To get the best possible results, sales professionals should actively provide feedback to the AI tools they use to further train the models and perfect the output.
Integrating AI and automation into your sales process is no longer a luxury — it's a necessity.
While data-driven sales strategies and custom, targeted pitches are still the way to go, AI makes it easier than it's ever been to deliver them thoughtfully, personally, and at scale.
In 2023, AI is giving sales pros the tools they need to become legendary sellers. If you're not on board yet, now's the time to get started.
Reshape your sales trajectory by using AI powered tools like Regie.ai to maximize your sales reps best qualities and improve the prospecting skills that need improvement.
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