Do you manage a team of sales reps with clear (or sometimes not-so-clear) over-performers and under-performers? Do you have a rep on your team who you wish you could duplicate? Are you able to weed the “A” players from the “C” players, and articulate why they fall in their respective categories? Simply put, are you able to define your Characteristics of Sales Excellence?
Characteristics of Sales Excellence are what separate the good, the mediocre, and the bad sales reps. An excellent sales person may not be a seasoned one, and a seasoned sales person is not necessarily excellent. It can be difficult to put your finger on what these characteristics actually are, because they are somewhat intangible and aren’t all based in training or background. Regardless of experience, there are some characteristics evident in every excellent sales rep. If a sales rep possesses these qualities, they will succeed in sales, regardless of product or industry.
Characteristics of Sales Excellence
Having assessed, hired, fired, coached, mentored, and trained hundreds of sales reps, we can define five underlying characteristics that every excellent salesperson possesses:
- Results Driven – an excellent sales person is driven by the number. It’s what keeps them up at night, it’s what gets them up in the morning, it’s what motivates and excites them. An “A” player is results-focused, both on their individual quota and the bigger picture of how their results impact the bottom line of their team and their company.
- Open to Change – an excellent sales person knows that there is always room for improvement, be in in processes, strategies, messaging, etc. Many sales people fall into a “my way or the highway” mentality, believing that they know what’s best even as things change around them. These are not “A” players; “A” players are always striving to learn and to hone their skills, and are open-minded to new ways of doing things that may help them quickly and more efficiently achieve the results they strive for.
- Good with People – we all have that friend that effuses charm, causing people to flock around them. These people generally seem genuine and authentic versus “sales-y”, causing potential buyers and customers to be more open to building relationships with them. A sales person who has this characteristic is often the one you’ll hear described as “a natural”.
- Motivated – the best sales people are often the ones that work the hardest. However, an “A” player works smarter, not harder, which makes them very efficient as they use their time wisely. They are the people who others always ask “I wonder how he/she does it all?”. They are balanced, dynamic, and strive for continual improvement and success.
- Fearless – an excellent sales person isn’t afraid of rejection, but they also don’t get rejected often because they learn from previous examples and their own mistakes. These are the “A” players who shine even in the face of adversity, always coming up with fresh ideas and new initiatives to get through the hard times that scare under-performing reps.
You can use these Characteristics of Sales Excellence as a baseline to build out definitions of “A”, “B”, “C” and “D” players for your unique sales organization, and define measurable objectives for each characteristic, based on your product, prospect and process. While not every one of your reps will come out an “A” player, many “B” and sometimes “C” reps can be molded into “A” players with the right coaching, mentoring, and training. This tranformation can be monitored through regular assessment and review.