Mastering Fundamental Sales Skills to Close More Deals in 2024

In this masterclass, revenue leaders from SEON, Rev, and Sales Assembly share what sales teams need to do to close more deals in today’s challenging environment.

In an era marked by market volatility, bringing in new business has become increasingly challenging. With larger buying committees, extended deal cycles, and stricter budgets, the landscape of selling has evolved. To navigate the complexities of this new world, there’s one essential tool in your sales stack you can count on: the fundamentals.  

In this masterclass, revenue leaders from SEON, Rev, and Sales Assembly share what sales teams need to do to close more deals in today’s challenging environment. They cover:

  • Core sales skills
  • Building a culture of excellence 
  • Frequently overlooked sales skills 

Watch the full masterclass and get their advice below!

What are basic sales skills?

Basic sales skills are the fundamental competencies that serve as the cornerstone of successful selling. They encompass a wide range of abilities that are essential for engaging with prospective customers, understanding their needs, and closing deals. 

Examples include: 

  • Sense of urgency with clients: Sending a follow up right after you wrap up a call or within the same day if you’re back to back. This creates an exemplary client experience and, more often than not, prospects will mirror this behavior back. 
  • Follow through: When you say you’re going to do something, do it. Always follow up with the timeline you set - even if this means sending an email letting your prospect know you’re still looking into their question. 
  • Problem statement: If you’re unable to articulate and confirm your prospect’s pain point during a call, don’t get off the phone. Landing on a clearly defined and mutually agreed upon problem statement is how you move the deal forward. Also, it’s essential to reconfirm the problem at the beginning of every call to maintain alignment.
  • Have a strong point of view: Do your research before you hop on a call. Buyers are more educated than ever, and they have an abundance of options. To set yourself apart from the competition, come in with a strong point of view about their business, challenges, and how your solution can help solve their problems. 

How to build a culture of excellence around these standards

To build a culture of excellence around foundational sales skills, start by automating where you can. “I bring in intelligence tools to extract data and verbiage around our different sales methodologies that we use for qualification,” says Meg Peterson, VP of Revenue Operations at Rev. “This cuts non-revenue generating activities, increases data integrity and accuracy, and saves the seller time.” 

In addition to simplifying as much as possible, dedicate time every week to highlight what peers are doing to be successful. This may look like reviewing winning Gong calls to understand how these fundamentals come into play when closing deals or reviewing effective follow-up outreach communications. 

Similarly, it's vital to establish a supportive environment where reps facing challenges with specific accounts or experiencing unsuccessful calls can seek coaching from their peers. Acknowledging that everyone faces setbacks and that it's acceptable to discuss and dissect unsuccessful calls builds a culture of continuous improvement. By implementing regular reviews and feedback sessions, your reps gain invaluable insights into effective strategies, identify areas for improvement, and refine their selling skills.

Your reps care about what you care about, and they will model your behavior - so lead by example. According to Matt Delauro, CRO at SEON, “If I show genuine curiosity, and a rep messages me on Slack saying, ‘I'd love to pull you into this deal’ the first question I ask is: "What business problem are we solving?"’ Questions like this ensure your reps come to you prepared, armed with the right information, so the next steps are seamless. 

Frequently overlooked sales skills 

There are a handful of simple, yet often overlooked sales skills that leaders can implement to empower their teams. These include: 

  • Spending time in deals: A paradox of leadership is that you’re the furthest away from the customer, but you’re expected to make decisions about what’s right for them. One of the most important and basic sales skills for leaders is to spend time in deals, talking to customers. Utilizing tools like Gong for call reviews, attending on-site visits for major renewals, and participating in calls alongside your reps are essential practices.
  • Maintaining data integrity: Another frequently overlooked but imperative sales skill as a leader is to make sure you have good data hygiene. To achieve this, you need to make sure your sellers aren’t taking shortcuts around things that are data driven, otherwise your data integrity will suffer. Neglecting this aspect can result in inaccuracies in your CRM data, leading to challenges from the C-suite or executive team regarding its validity.
  • Building on-site skills: Empowering your reps with the skills and confidence to engage with clients and prospects in person is essential, yet it can pose challenges for many organizations. As Matt Green, CRO at Sales Assembly, highlights, some reps lack on-site experience, especially those who entered the workforce during COVID. It's crucial to work closely with these individuals to help them develop the necessary skills and confidence for in-person interactions. “Coach your reps about on-site etiquette. For example, if they’re at a hotel for an event and have to Uber to someone’s office for a presentation, make sure they are accounting for traffic, security check-in, and so forth so they aren’t starting the meeting flustered, creating a bad first impression.” By investing in the development of these competencies, you equip your reps to build meaningful in-person connections. 

Another great way to build strong in-person connections is to provide younger, more inexperienced reps with opportunities to attend trade shows and conventions. By setting clear objectives and encouraging active engagement — such as avoiding sitting down and actively interacting with attendees — reps can hone their networking skills and build valuable connections. On the other hand, for AEs, focusing on attending targeted sessions and scouting for ICPs offers a strategic approach to networking and lead generation. 

Holding yourself accountable as a leader

Holding yourself accountable as a leader is crucial for setting the standard and building a culture of excellence. Here are three practical ways to achieve this: 

  1. Better documentation: Clearly define the expectations for excellence during discovery calls and throughout the sales cycle. And integrate these expectations into your processes. 
  2. Inclusive planning: Invite sales reps and revenue leaders to participate in the planning process. This provides them with visibility into key metrics, territories, and targets. It also allows them to voice their opinions about certain KPIs and share any concerns they have. This cultivates a sense of ownership and promotes trust, openness, and collaboration. 
  3. Understand motivations: Take the time to understand what motivates each member of your team, as well as what doesn’t. This information will help you determine the best way to lead your reps to success. 

Closing thoughts

Going back to the basics is an often overlooked way to help your reps hone their skills, build a culture of excellence, and prioritize what matters most. By investing in your team’s development, and holding yourself and your reps accountable, you empower your organization to build stronger connections and close more deals in 2024 and beyond.