Dear SaaStr: What is the best sales advice you can give to be a top sales rep?

I’m actually not that good at sales myself. But — I have observed a lot of successful sales folks and leaders.

What I’ve learned is that sales is never easy. It’s hard. But if you are gonna do it, it’s not that hard to be in the Top 25% — if you can do it all. There’s a playbook almost anyone can follow.

Here’s my Simple Guide To Be In The Top 25% of Sales Reps:

  • Sell a product you truly believe in. If you don’t, sell something else. You won’t go the extra mile if you don’t believe.  
  • Know the product cold. All of it. If you do, you can, if nothing else, add tons of value to your prospects. That alone is probably enough to put you in the top 1/3d of sales reps. Know every feature. Every core configuration. Know exactly the use cases for 20 top customers. Know why they picked you. Know where the feature gaps are, and how to honestly work around them. Know the competition cold. Speak with integrity here because you know. Very few reps really can do this. But almost anyone can if they want to put in the time.
  • Work harder. Work all the leads. Working harder works in any profession. But many in sales just don’t work anything but the hottest leads all that hard.  They barely follow up with the rest.  But there’s real money in the rest.  
  • Be hyper responsive.  Too many reps take a day or even 2 to get back to folks now.  Respond in minutes.  Prospects truly appreciate it.  It’s a sign they can see — that you actually care about their problem.
  • Treat every prospect with deep respect. No matter what the size. Whether they are paying $29 a month or $29,000 a year, every prospect’s business is important to them. Treat them all with deep respect, and you will close more.
  • Spend the time on the “B” leads. Lead scoring isn’t perfect, nor is intuition. You can close the so-so leads. Mediocre AEs don’t. If you do, you will be in the Top 25%. They do take more time. Put that time in. They didn’t inbound or respond to an outbound for no reason at all. The B leads still probably want your product.
  • Ask who else is a stakeholder, i.e. who else is involved in making the purchasing decision.  And go talk to them, too.  Way too many reps just try to sell to whomever inbounds.
  • Add a TON of value. Only then ask for the contract back. Sales isn’t easy, and creating urgency in general is even harder. But if you add so much value to a prospect that they are deeply grateful to you — and most reps don’t — they will respond back when you ask if they can sign this month. They probably will.

This may not make you $1m a year.

But I will bet you this puts you in the Top 25%. Maybe even Top 15%.

A related post here:

The 9 Qualities of a Great Sales Rep

(Top 25 image from here)

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