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How Top Sales Reps Rise Above the Rest

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Posted in:  Sales
how top sales reps rise above the rest

What do top sales performers do differently to consistently exceed expectations and crush their quota?

ValueSelling Associates and Selling Power surveyed more than 150 B2B senior sales leaders to find out exactly what differentiates the best in the sales profession. The insights from this survey can help all of us salespeople hone our sales skills and learn tips from the winners. The survey results were striking, and uncovered that desire, drive, and discipline separate top performing salespeople from the rest of the pack.

Desire to Win

Sales leaders report that having a burning desire to win is what differentiates the 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, more than 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.”

Drive to Create a Plan and Move it Forward

Top sales performers are also consistently described as having drive. They are motivated, invigorated, and goal-oriented. This mindset enables 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 and Build a High-Caliber Pipeline

Another sales leader’s response emphasized discipline as a key attribute: “Persistence. 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.”

Discipline leads to selling power when top salespeople consistently follow a proven sales methodology. Sales leaders agree that having a consistent methodology across the organization is critical to building a team of top performers. A methodology 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

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. And they also know what it takes to uncover whether an opportunity is qualified. They don’t waste time pursuing unwinnable opportunities. 

These 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.

building a high-caliber pipeline

7 Winning Habits of Top Sales Performers

Desire, drive, and discipline are critical behaviors that set the best salespeople apart from the rest of the pack. To learn about all seven mindsets, attributes, and behaviors of top-performing salespeople, download the ValueSelling Associates ebook, “7 Actionable Habits of Top Performers.”

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