The four insights learned from analyzing 1000 top sales performers are:
- Motivation: Survey after survey show compensation is the No. 1 driver for sales professionals. Similarily, the study data supports this finding. Compared to the rest of the team, top performers are just as motivated by compensation. Basically, top sales performers differ because their motivation to perform is internal. That is, selling is more personally fulfilling compared to the average salesperson. All things being equal, salespeople with a genuine passion for their job tend to outperform their peers.
- Selling Skills: This analysis found the major difference with top performers is their ability to influence others. However, it really doesn’t matter how good a sales rep is at communicating the product’s value prop or how good they are at creating rapport with a prospect. The ability to persuade someone to take the next step in the selling process is truly what sets a top performer apart.
- Personality: Many experts have argued that selling is more complex than ever, which requires a different skillset such as strong analytical abilities. The study data supports this. Top performers are more analytical compared to other sales reps and, also, are more assertive compared to the average. Thus, these top performers seem to be able to successfully balance when to confidently move things forward while not appearing too pushy, which is the most common complaint about this profession.
- Cultural Fit: Contrary to the ultra-competitive sales team stereotype, the analysis of cultural fit found that top performers prefer a more collaborative team culture. The “lone wolf” sales archetype may be on the wane because modern teams are more specialized in sales development, account management, and even customer success roles. In addition, a more complicated buying process means reps often need to get buy-in from multiple buyers. That’s a difficult process to navigate on their own.