40 Tips for the Modern Sales Leader

The sales world is increasingly complex and cluttered with expectations and emails, competitors and customers. Sales leaders are often too busy with the day-to-day to think critically about the future of their industry and organization.

That’s why we sat down with nine sales leaders to get their advice for sales leaders—and thoughts on their future of sales. Here are 40 quotes that every sales exec, manager, and trainer should consider as they lead their teams towards better work—and more closed deals!

Get all these quotes—and more—in a stellar ebook, entitled The Future of Sales. Click here to download!

Quotes about industry shifts

“The massive proliferation of sales tech vendors has created insane amounts of noise to buyers. These vendors want to ‘automate’, ‘accelerate’, and ‘replace.’”
— Kyle Porter, CEO, SalesLoft

“The sales industry will continue evolving to engage and empower buyers and to dignify customer input. B2C is ahead of B2B in this regard.”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

“The buyer has changed more in the past 5 years than in the past 50, more in the past 10 years than in the past 100. Sales needs to change because buyers are changing.”
— Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Advisor, Marketo

“B2B buyers are acting like B2C buyers now—a lot of millennials are turning to the web to do research. So the next step is for sales and marketing teams to engage with buyers based on their behavior.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

“The big trend for 2018 is conversational selling…Trying to treat them more like a human, really engaging with the prospect on a one-to-one basis, and tailoring the message to who they are and their needs at the time.”
— Marko Savic, CEO and Founder, FunnelCake

“B2C experiences raise buyers’ expectations for what will happen in the B2B buying process. Over time, the sales industry will be more receptive to buyer demands and more nimble in meeting them.”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

Quotes about AI

“We would be foolish to not to at least consider what the role of AI in sales will be two or three years down the line. It’s going to impact everything from prospecting to territory planning—maybe even into some levels of negotiation.”
— Jeff Hoffman, Principal, MJ Hoffman and Associates

“Everybody’s talking about artificial intelligence, machine learning, and the fact that the simplistic tasks salespeople have done in the past will eventually be gone. In some companies, they’re already gone.”
— Lori Richardson, CEO and Founder, Score More Sales

As an industry, we’ve got 15 years of CRM data. How that gets applied, and what artificial intelligence applications might be available—that’s something everybody needs to be considering.”
— Jeff Hoffman, Principal, MJ Hoffman and Associates

Quotes about sales reps

“Sales reps need to be coachable— willing to learn new things and improve every day.”
— Lori Richardson, CEO and Founder, Score More Sales

“Sales success comes from the right balance of quality human interaction and appropriate use of supplemental tools.”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

“Reps must…rise above the noise with their buyer. The best way to do that is earning trust through sincerity and a human experience.”
— Kyle Porter, CEO, SalesLoft

“The idea that you’re going to be ultimately prepped before every call, demo, or trial is impossible for a sales rep to achieve. So the rep has to become a far better listener and far more curious when talking to customers because their opportunity to qualify has shrunk.”
— Jeff Hoffman, Principal, MJ Hoffman and Associates

“I hear reps saying all the time, ’I sent 300 emails.’ Okay, well, were those emails personalized? Were they customized? We don’t want the spray and pray model. For reps to be successful, they have to listen and tie information into the prospect’s pain points.”
— Michelle Pietsch, Senior Director of Sales, Drift

“Really listen to what your buyer is saying and don’t just assume that you know what their problem is. If you know your buyer’s customers’ challenges, you can really help your buyer.”
— Lori Richardson, CEO and Founder, Score More Sales

“The most important ingredient in sales success is the ability to connect with people. You can’t close sales until you open relationships.”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

“Practice is important to make sure that reps keep learning every week. So you’ve got to feed them knowledge so that they learn and get better as professionals.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

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Quotes about changing buyers

“Sales teams… [must take] the time to write personalized messages to individuals…People don’t want to be hounded or mass-emailed anymore.”
— Michelle Pietsch, Senior Director of Sales, Drift

“In the next 5-10 years, the sales industry will continue to become more data-driven…The companies and sales organizations that measure and execute best will increase efficiency, productivity, and overall success.”
— Michael Manne, VP of Sales, Namely

“Nobody wants to be a target in your database; nobody wants to be prospected with call, email, call, email, call, email. So a salesperson who wants to succeed needs to do research on her buyer. What is my buyer trying to achieve? What is their current situation?”
— Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Advisor, Marketo

“What won’t change in the next ten years is B2B buyers with business challenges will want to do business with those they trust—and trust comes from human interactions of value and customer-first solutions.”
— Kyle Porter, CEO, SalesLoft

“Reps will need to become better at finding out the customer’s pains without having to get on the phone to run a discovery call. Many vendors already expect the salesperson to know a considerable amount about them and their business before the first call.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

Quotes about sales strategy

“Understand why salespeople are losing deals or why deals are stagnating, and solve those recurrent patterns. Be proactive and ask, ’Where are the real issues we should be solving?’ and ’How do we remove those roadblocks from the team?’”
— Marko Savic, CEO and Founder, FunnelCake

“It’s essential to identify the ideal, high-value target profiles and decision-makers then communicate with tailored messages and content.”
— Michael Manne, VP of Sales, Namely

“We need to be customer-obsessed and always look at things through the eyes of our customer.”
— Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Advisor, Marketo

“The sales industry is headed towards people using more of a chat and conversation mechanism to get in touch with their prospects in real-time…It puts a face to a product instead of just a sales rep hounding someone via email with the same email or cold call.”
— Michelle Pietsch, Senior Director of Sales, Drift

“Have patience with people and impatience with pipelines…Most organizations are completely inverted—they work under the assumption of incredible impatience with every deal, but lots of laziness in stewarding the pipeline.”
—Jeff Hoffman, Principal, MJ Hoffman and Associates

“More progressive businesses are moving towards a unified view of the customer lifecycle, where you have sales, marketing, and customer success under a single leader…[this] will really change the entire go-to-market strategy.”
— Marko Savic, CEO and Founder, FunnelCake

Quotes about sales tech

“Enablement tools are extremely useful when they inform sellers and help them stay organized….Being good with tools does not replace being good with people.”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

“I think the most important thing about purchasing sales tech is to find out if the product is already fully baked. Oftentimes, companies come up with great ideas, get a Series A round of funding and then start selling software to customers, when in fact, the product is not ready for prime time.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

“I love technology. I love tools. I love being more efficient. I love having greater real-time insights. I love all of that, but if I don’t have the right mindset about buyer-centricity, then I’m going to use these tools in the wrong way.”
— Jill Rowley, Chief Growth Advisor, Marketo

“Over-relying on tools is what makes them detrimental…”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

“It’s crucial when buying new software to do two things: First, ask to speak with customers who are using the software and have them share their advice on how to best implement it. Second, it’s imperative to understand how you will measure the ROI.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

Quotes about sales training and enablement

“Sales training will change. There will be a lot more virtual, just-in-time training and more ways to get knowledge as you need it….It’s really about immersion on the job—through peers, an onboarding program, ongoing coaching, and just-in-time learning.”
— Lori Richardson, CEO and Founder, Score More Sales

“You can have a kick-off meeting or sales training where you unload a bunch of stuff—but people aren’t going to remember 75% of it 2 weeks later. So the important thing here in sales is continuously training.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

“Structured mentorship programs provide major benefits to both sides through increased collaboration, learning, and skill development….For the organization, it’s a great way to accelerate the path to productivity for new hires.”
— Michael Manne, VP of Sales, Namely

“To build repeatable enablement and training, we need a defined process that people know how to follow. It’s about eliminating the roadblocks in your funnel, identifying what information is required at each point, and making it super simple and easy to use so that reps can follow it.”
— Marko Savic, CEO and Founder, FunnelCake

“No enablement tool can replace the human-to-human factor. Sales trainers and sales enablement specialists should focus on helping sellers build soft skills that engage, inspire, and enable buyers.”
— Deb Calvert, President, People First Productivity

“The ability teach your reps, then quiz them right away—and do that continually—is crucial.”
— Olivier L’Abbe, VP of Sales, G2 Crowd

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