Any seasoned account executive will tell you: closing deals is rarely easy. It requires a delicate balance of art and science, not to mention a heaping helping of patience. And, of course, some AEs are better at it than others. So, what is it that separates these top performers from the rest of the pack? Among other things, it’s the ability to strategize. Sales Quota-crushing AEs know how to develop account-specific strategies that more effectively push deals forward. Let’s take a look at five such strategies and how you can apply them in your own career to crush your sales quota.
Great AEs know how to listen.
The ability to listen more than you speak differentiates great account executives. This may seem counterintuitive, especially if you’re just starting out since it’s a common belief that the “gift of gab” and the ability to communicate persuasively are the traits that make salespeople successful. But while these things are certainly part of sales, the ability to listen well and gain a deep understanding of a prospect’s needs is the ultimate ace in the hole.
Rather than focusing too much on giving your sales pitch, it’s more important to let your prospects do most of the talking. Ask the right questions and listen to the answers with intention. Absorb as much information as you can. This will enable you to deliver a solution that is just what the prospect is looking for, thereby improving the chance of conversion.
Awesome AEs aren’t afraid to show their human side.
How would you react to an email that sounds as if it was written by a robot? Probably not in a positive way, right? Yet, countless AEs continue to make the mistake of churning out poorly written messages that lack value simply because they’re so focused on closing the deal that they forget to be human.
High performing account executives demonstrate their human side, both in their demeanor and in their outreach efforts. They’re also capable of admitting that there’s always more to be learned and ways to improve – another human trait that is critical to success. Great AEs focus more on providing their prospects with a solution than on showing off how many emails they can send in a day.
Successful AEs know when it’s time to pick up the phone.
As part of being human, awesome AEs recognize that the sales process is all about timing. Obviously, email messaging is an important component and should be leveraged as such, but knowing when to pick up the phone (and not being afraid to do so) is still a highly effective sales strategy.
Speaking with a prospect person-to-person, in real-time, is a very powerful weapon in any account executive’s arsenal. So while email campaigns should still be a focal point of your strategy, don’t write off phone calls. They just might just become your secret sauce.
High performing AEs keep their ear to the ground.
Staying connected with prospects through every step of the buying journey is essential to winning them over and closing the deal more effectively. This is why social selling has become such an integral part of the sales process. By keeping their finger on the pulse of their target audience, successful account executives can more effectively earn trust and gain a deeper understanding of the needs, preferences and motivations of their prospects.
Sales is by no means a one-size-fits-all approach. Social selling can enable you to hone your messaging and personalize your campaigns to make them more relevant and therefore much more effective.
Sales Quota-crushing AEs are coachable.
Last, but certainly not least, top performing account executives acknowledge that they didn’t get to where they are today on their own. They’ve worked alongside and learned from others who have helped them along the way. More importantly, they’re never too “seasoned” to be coached. Some of the greatest athletes in the world are coachable. The best AEs should be as well.
Even if you feel that you’ve reached a pinnacle in your career, there’s still going to be room for improvement. Besides, sales is an ever-changing process. To achieve sustainable success, you must be open to learning new methods, receptive to feedback and willing to adapt and evolve accordingly.
The art and science of effectively closing the deal can be learned from those who have gone before you and paved the path to success. The five strategies above should help prepare you to handle any scenario or challenge that is thrown your way and position you to become a top AE that others will one day emulate.