Sales 101: 6 keys to become a highly successful AE

Andrés Alvarado
By Andrés Alvarado
2020-10-08

In this article, you'll find useful tips to master the art of sales.

On paper, most Sales jobs, if not all of them, seem interesting and exciting. Imagine you are Leo Di Caprio as the Wolf of Wall Street. You are closing deals daily, working in an extremely hyped environment, and of course, getting commissions. Sounds promising, right? Sales are fun, but it’s also hard and very demanding. 

So, I wanted to share with you my personal experience with what I’ve learned during these past 9 years. In case you’re pursuing a career in Sales. 

There’s no such thing as a “born sales rep”. Sure a lot of the greatest salesmen and successful executives were good with words since they were kids. But still, they had to work hard and fail several times until they learned and mastered the art of sales. 

There’s a common misconception that the key to be successful in Sales is to be extremely outgoing. Today I would like to debunk that myth and I want to share with you, 6 keys to becoming a highly successful Account Executive.

 

#1 Read

To close deals and acquire new customers you have to take your A-game to a whole new level. Stay on top of trends, new industries, new technologies, new companies getting funding. The best way to absorb that type of information is by reading

Reading will not only help you to follow the trends out there but will also help you do better research of your prospects and will give you enough material to have a great foundation for an initial discovery phase. 

 

#2 Become a calendar freak

Being organized in your daily/weekly and monthly activities translate into a proper follow-up and properly follow-up turns into? Yes, you guessed it, turns into close deals. 

While working with several opportunities at the same time you can easily lose track of what needs to be done, so make sure you use your calendar to set up events and reminders. That way you will master your time management skills.

 

#3 Identify your go-to guys (work as a team)

Working in Sales is not just talking to prospects and convincing them to buy your product or service. Over 50% of your success rate will depend on answering questions, of course, we’re not scholars and customers don’t expect you to know everything. 

Fostering a collaborative environment with your sales enablement team, in my case, our Solutions Architects (unsung heroes) will allow you to have more credibility while answering questions to your prospects during sales calls. 

 

#4 Take notes

Can you imagine what the world would’ve missed if Alexander Fleming wouldn’t have taken notes when he was discovering the formula for Penicillin? 

Taking notes is mandatory for every successful Account Executive. With so many things on your head, you cannot fully rely on mental notes. Make sure you always have a pen and paper on every sales meeting you attend and try to avoid taking notes on your computer. 

In 2014 Pam Muller (Princeton University) and Daniel Oppenheimer (UCLA) conducted a research and compared students that took notes with their laptops and those who used pen and paper. They discovered that taking notes by hand will help you deeply understand what the other person is saying and from a client-facing perspective also shows that you care about what the other person is saying. 

 

#5 Learn to incorporate feedback into your workflow

As I said in the beginning, no one is born as a kick-ass sales rep. You have no idea how many times you’ll fail and do things the wrong way and there’s nothing wrong with it, however, always make sure you put into practice the feedback you receive from a peer or a mentor. 

As human beings, we don’t like to acknowledge our flaws or our mistakes, so it is very important to learn to ask for honest feedback. This can come from different actors, a peer Account Executive, your Sales Manager, your Sales enablement team, and even your customers. Believe me, if you incorporate feedback into your workflow you’ll be unstoppable.

And last but not least, and also my personal favorite. This is the one that has gotten me through for so many years, so I’m opening my heart and mind with this one. 

 

#6 Don’t let a NO breaks you

I cannot even count the number of times I’ve been rejected by entrepreneurs, small, medium, and enterprise size companies. The first NO stings and it hurts so bad that makes you rethink if you want to continue working on Sales. 

It’s natural, humans are not built to support the rejection. The good thing is that, as a Sales rep, every time you hear a NO that small but powerful word becomes the driving force that will make you achieve and crush Sales quota over and over again. Long story short, keep your eyes on the bigger picture and don’t let a NO steal your mojo. 

Sales are not easy, Sales are tough and stressful but if I can say one last thing about Sales, is that Sales are so incredibly rewarding! 

 

About the author

Andrés Alvarado

Andrés has over +9 years of experience in Sales and has worked in B2B and B2C Sales for different industries. He’s currently an Account Executive at Applaudo Studios.