SalesTech Star

What Makes A Top Sales Rep Tick?

By Julie Thomas, President and CEO, ValueSelling Associates

It takes something special to be a top sales rep. The most successful sales performers consistently exceed expectations and crush their quota. So, what are they doing differently?

Recent research from ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power sought to uncover the answer. They surveyed more than 150 B2B senior sales leaders to find outexactly what differentiates the best in the sales profession. The insights from this survey can help all of us hone our sales skills and learn tips from the winners.

The survey results were striking, and uncovered actionable habits of top sales performers, including the desire, drive, and discipline that separate top performingsalespeople from the rest of the pack.

A Burning Desire to Win

Sales leaders report that having a burning desire to win differentiates their overachievers from everyone else on their sales team. Yet, wanting something and achieving it are two different things.

When asked to rate reps on their desire to win, over 70% of sales leaders gave the top performers a rating of 9 or 10, compared to an average rating of 6 for the rest of their sales reps.

One survey respondent said that top performers have a “belief in themselves to achieve their goals and the desire to keep learning and understanding the variables that surround them.”

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Motivation and Drive to Achieve Success

Top sales performersare also consistently described as having drive.They are motivated, invigorated, and goal oriented. This mindset helps them to be proactive in creating a sales plan and using sales tools to achieve their success.

When asked why top performers stand out, one sales leader explained, “They don’t have ‘happy ears.’ They don’t get emotionally tied to opportunities. They build pictures and use tangible customer examples that relate to the buyer. They sell value and build credibility.”

Discipline to Use a Sales Methodology

Discipline is another a key attribute of successful salespeople. A sales leader comments, “My top performers are relentless in the pursuit of excellence. Their work ethic is above and beyond the rest of my team. The top performers are harder on themselves than I can ever be on them.”

This work ethic enables top salespeople to consistently follow a proven sales methodology which creates a common skillset, toolset and mindset around the sales process. Sales leaders gave top sales performers a score of 7.5 for consistently using a sales methodology, versus the rest of the reps with a 5.4 average rating.

Repeatable Sales Methodology

Prospect to Build a High-Caliber Pipeline

Regardless of top sales reps’ achievements, prospecting is often their least favorite activity in the sales cycle. However, overachievers have the discipline to be rigorous about prospecting. They know what it takes to reach the right people, with the right message, at the right time to build a solid sales pipeline. High-performing sales reps possess key skills – time management, identifying goals and objectives, overcoming obstacles, and making phone calls. They also maintain a disciplined prospecting cadence.

When we asked sales leaders to identify how good their reps are at building a high-caliber pipeline, 66% rated their top performers at 7 or higher on a 10-point scale. By contrast, only 10% of sales leaders said their low and middle performers had the equivalent skills.

Caliber Pipeline

Winning Habits of Top Sales Performers

Desire, drive, discipline, and prospecting skills are critical behaviors that set the best salespeople apart from the rest of the pack.

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