Top 5 Lessons for Sales Managers: Boost Your 2024 Performance

18 Mar 24

Explore transformative sales strategies with Norman Behar in this podcast interview. Learn five key lessons to revolutionize your team's performance.

2023 presented a unique set of challenges for sales managers. Economic uncertainty, cautious buyers, and reliance on existing customers contributed to longer sales cycles and pipeline woes. However, 2024 brings new opportunities, and with these five lessons by Norman Behar, sales organizations can get on track for a fast start in 2024.

Lesson #1: Align Skills with Roles

The sales landscape is evolving, and roles like product specialists have shifted to full solution sales and platforms, demanding more complex selling skills.

To align sales skills with specific sales roles, conduct talent assessments to ensure your team has the skills needed for success. Here is how:

  • Identify Skill Gaps: Analyze your sales pipeline, compare the performance of top sellers to others, and focus on closed-lost deals.
  • Look for Patterns: At what stage are deals most frequently lost? Are there specific skills that could have helped progress these opportunities?
  • Track Competitive Losses: If customers choose a competitor, understanding their decision highlights potential skill gaps related to differentiation, value proposition, or negotiation.

Once you have identified areas for improvement, use the following strategies to close the gaps:

  • Skills assessments: Utilize talent assessments to understand individual strengths and weaknesses better. This data can inform personalized training and development plans.
  • Focus on qualification: Many lost deals stem from inadequate qualification early in the sales cycle. Equip your team with strong questioning skills to uncover customer needs and identify viable opportunities.
  • Embrace the pull, not push: Ditch the outdated "present-close" approach. Align your sales process with the customer's buying journey. Focus on creating value, understanding needs, and guiding them through their decision-making process.

Lesson #2: Master Modern Prospecting

Rushing from opportunity to opportunity without dedicated planning time is a recipe for disaster. Sales reps should block time in their calendars to strategize for each interaction by diving into the following three areas:

  • Industry: Research industry trends, challenges, and competitor landscape. Identify success stories relevant to your offering.
  • Company: Analyze financial performance, key initiatives (public reports, news releases), and recent developments.
  • Individuals: Leverage LinkedIn and other tools to map decision-makers, roles, and potential connections.

Planning empowers you to ditch generic "pitching" and ask thoughtful, open-ended questions. This modern prospecting approach fosters high-value conversations, uncovering customer needs and showcasing your expertise.

Lesson #3: Move from Push to Pull

The days of "hard sell" tactics are fading fast. Today's customers are empowered and informed and demand a buyer-driven sales process.

Instead of pushing, you should focus on pulling customers towards your solution. Demonstrate how it addresses their specific needs and aligns with their priorities. Use data, success stories, and industry insights to build trust and credibility.

Understanding the purchase process is essential, yet many salespeople lack this knowledge. Ask hypothetical questions, such as: "What would moving forward look like?,” “Who else would be involved?". This unveils their decision-making process and allows you to tailor your approach accordingly.

Lesson #4: Coach for Success

In today's complex environment, sales coaches play an even more significant role:

  • Addressing increased stakeholder involvement and budget scrutiny by honing selling skills and deal coaching techniques.
  • Aligning sales with the customer's purchase process to ensure smooth progression.
  • Identifying stalled opportunities and devising strategies for advancement.

Effective sales coaches need to be credible, skilled listeners, and humble. They shift the spotlight from themselves to their team, fostering collaboration and open communication. Key qualities include:

  • Active listening and open-ended questioning to understand individual needs and challenges.
  • Candid evaluation and motivation to empower team growth.
  • Collaborative coaching: creating a shared learning environment instead of a top-down approach.

Lesson #5: Focus on High-Quality Leads

With 2024 presenting a potentially challenging selling environment, self-generating opportunities are crucial for sales reps and BDRs.

While outbound calling remains relevant, consider supplementing it with diverse prospecting techniques: Leverage LinkedIn Navigator, outreach tools, and a multi-pronged approach to reach your target audience.

Craft messages that resonate with your prospects' current situation. Be it industry trends, internal company priorities (identified through research), or external triggers like economic shifts, use these as hooks to initiate conversations. You will grab their attention and establish relevance by aligning your messaging with their reality.

Don't limit yourself to a single contact within a target account. Utilize tools like LinkedIn to map key stakeholders and identify multiple entry points. This increases your chances of connecting with the right decision-makers and securing buy-in.

If you are looking to explore more strategies to position your sales organization for a stellar new year, download our free whitepaper, where we highlight 7 key areas for a strong start in 2024.


Use the lessons of 2023 and prioritize pipeline growth early in the year. Start by realistically evaluating your existing pipeline, identifying active opportunities, and nurturing those needing attention. Aim for 3x pipeline coverage based on your quota to ensure you have ample leads in the funnel.

Focus on 3-4 key priorities impacting your sales efforts most. Don't overwhelm your team with endless tasks. Maintain consistent communication with your team, informing them about progress, priorities, and goals.

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