How to be good at sales? It’s critical to know that trying to master every aspect of selling is a mistake. Three proven steps for sales mastery: 1) figure out what’s working & what’s not, 2) identify mentors to help with accountability & provide input, and 3) understand areas that need improvement and get to work.

Have you ever taken on more than you can handle? It’s an overwhelming feeling and one that can derail your career if not handled properly. Brian Smith, Jr., Member Services Executive at AA-ISP (American Association of Inside Sales Professionals) pins his career-defining aha moment on the realization that trying to master every aspect of selling is a mistake.

On episode 7 of INSIDE Inside Sales, Brian and I discuss the pursuit of sales mastery and why he says you should master one area of selling at a time.

Everyone has weaknesses and strengths. It’s a matter of self-awareness and devoting your energy to improving in the right areas. Keep reading to find out how to encourage self-improvement among your salespeople.

3 Proven Steps for Sales Mastery

Helping your salespeople to master sales is about more than the one-on-one time that you spend with them. While your direction is beneficial, there won’t be an improvement if they don’t go out and do what it takes to better themselves. They need to own their own career success. Offer your salespeople these three steps to guide their actions and dominate sales.

  1. Figure out what’s working and what’s not.

The most significant point Brian made in our conversation is that reps need to master one area of selling at a time. Encourage your sales reps first to identify what’s working and what’s not.

Focus on your low-performing salespeople. If a rep misses his or her quota, it’s a good time to jump in and pull sales data from your sales engagement software. Look at the data and create a comparison to other employees to identify what the individual needs to work on. Review response and conversion rates on social messages, phone calls, and cold emails. Which methods are triggering the desired results and which are failing? Help the rep develop a strategy that heavily utilizes his or her strong skills while giving the person time to develop their less mature selling skills.

  1. Identify mentors who can help with accountability and provide input.

Sales leaders and business owners are busy enough with their daily activities. You don’t always have time to mentor each rep personally.

Instead, set your team up for success by matching a new or struggling rep with a high-performing individual who can mentor them. This mentor will likely be a more senior employee who can share insights and observations based on personal experience.

  1. Get to work!

Once your sales reps have support, and understand the areas where they need to improve, it’s time for them to get down to business.

Consider allowing them a little flexibility to use their strongest skills to generate revenue, even if it means taking a small step outside of your normal sales process. Reps may want to A/B test different outreach methods and messages that build upon their strongest selling skills.. Just be sure to give them some parameters to operate within.

Brian’s recommendation to salespeople is to focus on your strengths to deliver results — even when it’s not necessarily what the boss expects or wants you to do. The ultimate deliverable for any salesperson is to generate revenue. Start winning sales competitions and hitting your quota first, then speak up about a new sales process or idea for team-wide adoption (or at least to advocate for yourself and what works best for you). Reps who can demonstrate the value of their thinking by delivering more deals and good data may be onto something that your whole team needs to hear.

As a sales leader, it’s important for you to be receptive to suggested changes, especially those backed by data. Create an open-door policy and encourage your salespeople to bring you proof if they find something in your sales process that can be optimized.

Lastly, some issues require commitment from the individual salespeople. You can give them recommendations for outside training, as well as suggested expert content to take advantage of on their own time. Taking time to learn from thought leaders like Trish Bertuzzi and other sales greats is extremely valuable. There are plenty of books, videos, articles, and sales podcasts like mine available that advise on sales strategies and techniques for sales success.

When on the path to mastery, sometimes we go all-in just to quickly feel crushed by the excessive pressures we put on ourselves. Start small with one thing you do well and grow from there.

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