Five essential skills every sales rep needs to know in 2024 [Updated]

You probably see it on social media every day; “It’s 2024, why are we still doing [insert something that really shouldn’t be happening anymore]!?”. So when it comes to sales, there are some tried-and-tested methods that are always going to work. Not everything needs to change with the latest Instagram filter.

sales rep skills

However, at the same time, some traditional business development methods and approaches are no longer fit for purpose. Best practices and methods need to evolve with the times. Mass outreach doesn’t get the same rates of response and potential buyers are inclined to ignore bland generic messages and calls.

And this isn’t a “fad” or “trend” piece either. Our buyers are changing. We are selling to a younger generation, in many cases, the same generation who are salespeople are also moving into buying and budget holder roles in client companies and amongst potential clients.

Increasingly, sales reps are selling to buyers of a similar age. In some cases, they’re younger, already with years of experience and management responsibilities. So let’s take a look at new approaches that sales professionals need to be using today to close deals tomorrow.

#1: Target fewer prospects, with more customization

Business development outreach used to be all about quantity.

Now there is a shift towards quality. Outreach that makes more of an impact. Doing more research before picking up the phone, or before sending that first message or email. This way, potential buyers have more reason to respond because a rep has shown that they’ve taken a little more time before attempting outreach.

It is still a balancing act, of course. Reps need to hit relevant performance metrics and KPIs. But with a little more time invested in pre-qualifying before outreach they can improve the outcomes and chances of converting cold prospects into warmer leads.

#2: Active listening

Any sales rep who simply fires off a script of product/service benefits and features isn’t going to have a very high conversion rate.

When a rep has a prospect on the phone, they still need to use a script. However, it also pays to use active listening when talking to a prospect. Asking the right questions at this stage will improve the qualification process, thereby adding more value for both parties and making it easier to generate a win from a higher percentage of calls.

#3: Video prospecting

Something of a buzzword, although in an era when YouTube, Instagram Stories, Facebook Live and online streaming is more popular than ever, now is the time to engage in new approaches.

Your sales teams don’t need to use any skills or technology that they don’t already have. If they’re comfortable making videos on social media, then they should be adept at recording short pitch videos to send to potential sales prospects.

Companies are already seeing great results from this approach. If you’ve got easy-to-use editing tools, such as Vidyard, throw in screen-grabs or screenshots and other visual inputs. Most prospecting videos only need to be short, but they should be engaging and encourage a potential client to take action.

#4: Instant online demos

Modern buyers prefer to take action quickly.

Think of modern consumer habits. Why is Amazon and Prime so popular? People want things instantly. When it comes to B2B buying, there is usually a longer process. But unlike e-commerce, there is often a delay - an information gap - between a prospect wanting to learn more and speaking to a rep who can fill in the details.

This gap, unfortunately, can reduce the chance that a prospect is still interested. They might have found another solution elsewhere. So don’t take that chance. Give your sales team the tools they need to get a prospect in front of a demo straight away, on any device.

With an instant warm lead capture tool, you can demo and start qualifying whenever a prospect has the time - and it doesn’t have to take long. It also helps that they don’t need to download any software and can join in from wherever they are.

Sales reps need every advantage. Adapting to a modern buying environment, with new techniques and more tailored approaches will go a long way toward convincing modern buyers that they are worth investing in.