Episode OneHundredFiftyEight

3 Ways to to Perfect Your Craft in Sales

Guest: Christina Stone, the Account Director of Enterprise Accounts at TechTarget

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About This Episode

A few years into your sales career, you realize, I’m actually doing it.

I’m committing to sales.

…But now what? Learning to perfect your sales craft is the next major step for upping your sales game.

In this episode, I talk with Christina Stone, the Account Director of Enterprise Accounts at TechTarget, about how to perfect your craft in sales.

Christina joined TechTarget right out of college with an economics degree as a way to pay off student debt, and she’s been there for nearly a decade.

“One of the things I love most about my job is the relationships that you build with people both professionally and personally,” Christina said.

Control what you can control

…And acknowledge the things you can’t control, like coronavirus.

I had to ask Christina her opinion about whether she anticipated a long-term economic downturn because of the pandemic.

“I do think we’ll see a slowdown for a few months,” she said. “I’m trying to be optimistic that the coronavirus impact is going to decline in the next few weeks and months, and we’ll rebound a bit.”

Like all of us, Christina has been impacted by the coronavirus. She’s had to cancel trips to visit customers, which is one of the highlights of her role.

She suggested 3 ways to change your sales strategy during the pandemic.

  1. Use video, especially with customers you already know. It’s a way to differentiate yourself from all the calls.
  2. Lead with empathy. Understand that schools are closed and they might be working at home with kids.
  3. Don’t even consider fear-mongering. Using global uncertainty as a way to push a program is a bad call.

Christina gave a positive example: “I know you have this event, and you spend a ton of effort and money supporting it. I feel bad for you first as a person and as a partner. If you do need help with strategies on how we can maybe minimize that impact, I’m happy to have a conversation.”

Perfecting your craft

After you have your sales legs under you, instead of getting complacent, you should implement these 3 strategies to adapt and get better in sales.

#1 Record your meetings

“It’s really important to have self-knowledge and reflect on different sales calls that you’re having, both good and bad,” Christina said.

She suggested analyzing your technique, body language, and circumstances of the meeting or call.

Learn to adapt. “Be genuine and adapt a little to specific behaviors or energy that you have with the person you’re meeting with,” she said.

Focus on value. “I’m a big believer in setting the agenda at the beginning of a meeting or call based on your desired outcomes and then getting buy-in from the customer if that’s going to add value to them,” she said.

Remember to be human. “As you gain experience, you’ll become more comfortable,” Christina said. “If you do it enough times you realize you’re just having a conversation with another human being”

Record yourself. “As a new rep when you’re in the moment, your endorphins are firing,” she said. “Record your calls and listen to them to see what key takeaways you can gather.”

#2 Decide to commit

Making the conscious decision to go all in on sales is an important step in learning to perfect your craft.

Christina recognized that she was committed to sales when she was reading sales books on her beach vacation. “I realized, Oh yeah, I read these now for my craft,” she said.

If you’re finding yourself hungrily following sales influencers and realize you’re gathering insights by osmosis, it’s probably time to acknowledge to yourself that you’re going to be in sales for the foreseeable future.

Embrace it and take the next step…

#3 Educate yourself

“Any intellectual property or skill set that you build in your current role, you’re going to bring that with you to a new company,” Christina pointed out.

Educating yourself, whether by books, podcasts, mentors, or analytics, is a strength you carry with you no matter where you go.

“When you’re first starting out, identify who you should be spending your time with in terms of who within your organization you’re learning from,” Christina said. Be deliberate about recognizing who your teachers are.

Christina added a note of caution. “You can learn things from everyone, but everyone’s going to be a bit different. You need to make whatever you learn your own.”

Be willing to try everything but go with your gut about what is and isn’t working.

Christina’s 3 takeaways

  1. Control what you can control. You aren’t in charge of the stock market tanking, but you can work hard and have positive energy.
  2. Do what you can to get better at sales on a daily basis. Going the extra mile on your education will help you stand out from others.
  3. Go where your company is going. “It’s important to align your goals with the company’s goals,” Christina explained.

Get in touch with Christina on LinkedIn to continue this conversation about perfecting your craft.

For more engaging sales conversations, subscribe to The Sales Engagement Podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or on our website.

About The Podcast

The Sales Engagement podcast is the #1 podcast focused on engaging your customers and prospects in the modern sales era. This show features real-life stories and best practices from revenue leaders doing the job day in and day out, in a casual, radio-like talk show.

Each episode features modern tactics, strategies, hacks, and tips to get the most out of your sales engagement strategy and help you navigate the next generation of sales. You’ll find energetic talks that will provide you with real actionable value around building meaningful connections and creating a better selling experience through authentic conversations that you can measure.

The Sales Engagement podcast is here to help B2B sales leaders, customer success leaders, and marketing leaders innovate and usher in the next era of modern sales by building pipeline, up-selling customers, and ultimately generating more revenue with more efficiency.

Hosted by Joe Vignolo, Senior Content Managing Editor at Outreach, and Mark Kosoglow, Vice President of Sales at Outreach.

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