Every salesperson dreams of being a sales G.O.A.T.
This is the type of salesperson that consistently exceeds their quota, can turn a rejection into an opportunity, and forms deep and lasting customer relationships that often lead to referrals. A sales G.O.A.T. is better than “good” — they’re the greatest in their industry.
If you want to head into the new year stronger than ever, these are the sales skills you need to be a sales G.O.A.T. in 2024.
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What is a sales G.O.A.T.?
A sales G.O.A.T. is someone who is so good at sales that they’re considered the G.O.A.T., or greatest of all time. To reach this level of sales success, you must be driven, customer-focused, and willing to adapt. People who are sales G.O.A.T.s are as analytical as they are empathetic and committed to always learning, evolving, and growing in their field.
According to HubSpot’s 2023 Sales Trend data, there were a few things that sales leaders believe made the greatest impact on their sales role this year.
These are some of the changes that can take you from good to great:
- Focusing more on presenting a solution instead of pitching a product or service.
- Collaborating and alignment between sales and marketing teams.
- Establishing trust and rapport with prospects.
- Offering buyers self-service tools to help guide their purchase decision.
12 Sales Skills You Need to be the G.O.A.T.
There are certain habits and personality traits that make for a successful salesperson.
Some of those are innate and other skills can be learned.
From AI to effective sales funnel management to product expertise, these are the sales skills you need to focus on to be the greatest of all time.
1. Video Skills
According to HubSpot’s 2023 Sales Trends, 56% of sales leaders say selling remotely has made it easier to sell. And one of the major elements of remote selling is video.
Video plays a role throughout the buyer’s journey. You can use it to connect with new leads, answer their questions, follow up and re-engage with prospects who have gone dark, give product demos at scale, and make your proposals more engaging.
Honing your video skills is a no-brainer if you want to be a sales G.O.A.T. Practice your delivery, tone, and pacing. Figure out the optimal length for each type of video. Experiment with different subjects — from product demos to proposal walk-throughs — to figure out which is more effective with leads.
To make sure your videos stand out, you’ll need to tap into your inner creator. Find the best lighting to film in, set up a nice webcam and mic, and make sure your filming area looks professional.
Mastering the video creation process early will put you far ahead of your competitors in 2024.
2. Ability to Be Genuine
It’s challenging to walk the line between being yourself and connecting with dissimilar people. In the past, you could usually get away with pretending you were a major sports fan or using cut-and-paste techniques. But now, 26% of sales reps say the importance of building trust and rapport with prospects has been one of the biggest changes in recent years.
“These strategies are no longer relevant,” says Tyson Hartnett, senior account director at Rev. “People know when you are playing tricks on them.”
And while anyone can do what Hartnett calls a “closing trick,” far fewer can be genuine. Rather than pretending to like something because your client does, Hartnett suggests being authentic.
“Say, ‘I’ve never been a big fan of museums and art, but I know you like it, so I'm willing to check it out with you,’” he advises. “It may seem like a weird thing to say, but push yourself out of that comfort zone, and they will respect you for trying to learn and do more, even if you don't like it.”
Hartnett also suggests that reps follow up with something you learned or found interesting from the experience. Hartnett continues, “Your prospect will think, ‘Wow, they hated museums, but kept an open mind.’”
3. Prioritizing Learning
Sales is always evolving, and you should be too. To be a sales G.O.A.T., you must continuously adapt to new information and improve your skill set, suggests Wayne Adams, head of sales at staff management software provider RotaCloud, a staff management software provider.
“Approach 2024 with the mindset that you can never complete sales,” says Adams. “Take every opportunity you can to learn more about your industry, your customers, and the ever-changing landscape.”
Adams adds that learning should be a priority in everything you do as a sales leader.
“You need to be an expert on your product, on the customer, their situation, and their sector,” he suggests. “You have to know your stuff and your market inside out, and you need to be able to show your buyer that you understand them and their world before you can show them how your product solves their problems.”
4. AI and Machine Learning
AI is on everyone’s mind this year and is sure to be a topic of conversation as we head into 2024. According to HubSpot’s Sales Trend Data, 83% of sales leaders who already use AI for sentiment analysis say it’s effective at recognizing a buyer’s emotion.
However, 59% of sales reps don’t yet use AI when communicating with buyers.
Translation? Experimenting with AI tools can help you get ahead of the competition next year.
“AI and NLP (natural language processing) are already being used by companies in their messaging to customers,” says Ramirez. “Salespeople must be able to match that level of messaging in order to be successful.”
He continues, “AI and NLP can help you create more relevant content and messaging as well as better connect with your customers. Using these technologies as part of your skills will help you differentiate yourself from your competitors and increase your sales.”
5. Customer Retention
A great salesperson understands the value of retaining customer relationships. Not only do returning customers lead to more sales, but 41% of sales leads come from referrals from existing customers, according to HubSpot’s 2023 Sales Trends data.
“A lot of people can sell, but not all of those people can connect,” says Erin Banta, co-founder of Pepper, an e-commerce site that provides sustainable home goods. “Making a one-time sale is a wholly different ballgame from connecting and building relationships, and is the difference between a good salesperson and a great one.”
Banta suggests that to be a sales G.O.A.T., you have to prioritize deep customer relationships.
“The great salesperson asks questions and finds a way to make the business work for the customer, versus attempting to make the customer work for the business,” she continues. “By doing this, the great salesperson increases customer retention and boosts brand loyalty, overall helping establish a better business.”
6. Framing Skills
According to “Pitch Anything” author Oren Klaff, our brains operate by four simple principles:
- If it’s not dangerous, ignore it.
- If it’s not new and exciting, ignore it.
- If it is new, summarize it as quickly as possible and forget the details.
- Unless it’s truly unexpected, don’t send it to the neocortex for problem-solving.
The result? Not only do prospects miss 90% of your pitch (i.e., the details), but they’ll ignore it unless it’s different and interesting. Anything complex will be treated as a threat — because complicated information takes more mental energy to process, leaving less brain power for survival needs.
You can only avoid this outcome with framing.
“Framing is all about how, as a salesperson, you maintain control of the conversation throughout your pitch or sales process,” says Mary Kheedo, a vicepresident of sales at GrowthLoop. “This is more important than ever now that buyers have the power.”
Review your pitch. Is it easy to understand? Are you telling a story — or are you reciting a series of dry facts? Do you present your product as the answer?
If you answered “no” to one or more of those questions, consider picking up a copy of “Pitch Anything” to refine your pitching skills for 2024.
7. Effective Sales Funnel Management
25% of sales leaders believe a more efficient sales process will help them achieve their goals in the year ahead, according to sales trend data from HubSpot.
David Godlewski, CEO of Intelliverse, a SaaS company offering global cloud communication solutions, agrees. Godlewski oversees the sales team at his company and suggests prioritizing sales funnel optimization in 2024.
“In the coming year, effective sales funnel management is essential for sales teams to meet their goals,” says Godlewski. “You can achieve this by leveraging analytics and customer insights to segment leads and prioritize them based on their likelihood to convert.”
Godlewski says this personalized approach ensures that your team invests time and effort where it's most likely to yield results.
8. Embrace Automation
Godlewski also recommends embracing the power of automation in the sales funnel.
“Implementing CRM tools and marketing automation software can streamline lead nurturing, track engagement, and trigger relevant follow-ups,” he suggests. “This, in turn, can enhance efficiency and ensure no potential sales opportunity falls through the cracks.”
Your CRM is one of the most critical parts of your sales process because it helps with automation and data collecting. 34% of sales managers agree that the biggest benefit of using a CRM is to keep track of your leads. Meanwhile, 30% say that CRMs increase productivity by reducing time spent on administrative tasks, according to internal data from HubSpot.
9. Time Management
taken into account…
The number of sales channels that sales teams manage has multiplied in recent years. Combine that with the need to collaborate and coordinate across teams like marketing, product, and customer service. Sales teams have a lot on their plate and very little time to balance it all.
“Prioritizing client response times, resolving issues, verifying fulfillment, streamlining conversion, and reserving hours for follow-up, must be taken into account and designated the proper amount of attention to make sure each is optimized and running smoothly,” says Kroytor. “This not only ensures that each detail is attended to but the best sales numbers will be achieved.”
10. Knowledge of Data Analysis
Gone are the days when you could rely on intuition to guide you. The modern salesperson has a nearly endless amount of information about their prospects — and you must use it to decide who you’ll target.
“You can avoid happy ears — and know who’s going to purchase before beginning a long and potentially fruitless conversation — by understanding the actions your buyers take,” says John Sherer, former Director of Sales at Appcues.
Perhaps CMOs at SaaS companies close at a 2X rate compared to CMOs at consumer goods businesses. Or your win rate is 30% higher for prospects who attended an in-person company event versus a webinar.
These insights are incredibly actionable: To boost results, reach out to more SaaS CMOs and aggressively pursue event attendees.
Of course, getting those insights requires accurate, thorough data entry and periodic analysis. Don’t wait for your manager or sales enablement to run reports for you; go to your CRM, apply the appropriate filters, and look for patterns.
11. Sales EQ
The other side of the selling equation? Emotional intelligence, also known as EQ. Although technology and automation have made salespeople less dependent on their people skills, sales will always be a people-first role.
If you want to be a sales G.O.A.T., a high EQ will differentiate you from the competition in 2024.
“Sales EQ is the ability to effectively read, influence, and control emotions,” says sales leader Shaun Crimmins. “Being able to stand out above the clutter of sales messages prospects are hit with, will be super important next year — and that’s what EQ is all about.”
12. Product Knowledge
Some of HubSpot’s top-performing salespeople are former support reps. They know the product inside and out, which allows them to give detailed help and recommendations to prospects.
These reps are generous with their time when it comes to the free CRM. Buyers are eager to talk to them and then receptive to discussing our paid products.
Having deep product knowledge means you can answer any question that comes your way, devise creative solutions to customer problems, and offer consultations that’ll lead to opportunities.
And as buyers get better and better at solo research, product knowledge will help you maintain your unique value.
Are you ready to be a sales G.O.A.T. in 2024?
If you’re ready to be the greatest of all time in your sales role, hone these skills for the year ahead.
Incorporate new channels and technologies, refine your pitching skills, embrace automation, and strive to always improve your craft and strategy. These are all ingredients to make 2024 your greatest sales year of all time.