You may know that your best salespeople contribute disproportionately to company revenue, but do you know how much? Research suggests a top salesperson can contribute up to four times more sales than the company average. So what do your top salespeople have in common? And, if Ideal – the online sales job marketplace for sales professionals – could find that “DNA,” could we effectively duplicate your top performers?
As CEO of Ideal, my team and I had a lot of questions. Good thing we also had a lot of data.
At Ideal, we’ve collected resume, personality, salary, and cultural fit data on thousands of sales professionals. After three years of collection, we began searching for the answer to the question: what does the DNA of a top salesperson look like? Is it the same for every business? Every role?
Ideal has been able to analyze 22 cultural fit values and 16 personality traits – for a grand total of more than 100,000 unique data points. Led by head data scientist Ji-A Min, MASc, our study reviewed data on thousands of top-performing salespeople and found the “formula” correlated with sales success.
Employers can use this data to effectively duplicate their top performers. This research is groundbreaking for sales leaders. For the first time, technology can help you find the “DNA” of your top earners and then select their carbon copies from a pool of active sales candidates.
Four Traits of Top Performers
The study found four compelling insights that will be valuable to sales leaders. Ji-A summarizes:
- Internal motivation: It is a commonly held belief that compensation is the number one driver for sales professionals. Our data supports this finding: compared to the rest of the sales team, top sales performers are just as motivated by compensation. Top sales performers differ, however, in that they are more internally motivated to perform.
- Selling skills: Our analysis of selling skills found that the major difference with top performers is their ability to influence others. The ability to persuade someone to close in the sales process is what sets a top performer apart.
- Analytical and assertive: Many sales experts have argued that selling is more complex than ever, which requires a different skill set – such as strong analytical abilities. Our data on personality traits found this to be true: top sales performers are more analytical than other sales reps. We also found that top sales performers are more assertive than the average.
- Cultural fit: Contrary to the ultra-competitive sales team stereotype, our analysis of cultural fit found that top performers prefer a more collaborative sales team culture. The “lone wolf” sales archetype was not supported.
Using this research, we have released a scientific Top Performer Benchmark. This benchmark is effectively the specific personality traits of a salesperson who will be most likely to succeed based on industry, team size, and corporate culture. Ideal’s cofounder and COO, Shaun Ricci, explains, “For an employer, this means they can use their top performer benchmark to hire sales professionals that are statistically more likely to ramp up faster, hit quota, and stay longer.”
The Best Way to Duplicate Your Top Reps
Our data on 1,000 top sales performers has found that they differ in terms of motivation, personality, selling skills, and cultural fit. This research confirms that certain personality traits can be used to identify salespeople who are statistically more likely to become top performers at your company.
Keep in mind, however, that these are general findings across several different sales roles. The best way to duplicate your top reps is to assess your current sales team, create a Top Performer Benchmark, and recruit salespeople who fit your benchmark.
While this research is only the beginning of our exploration, data-backed recruiting technology is developing rapidly and we could not be more excited.
You can learn more about the top performer benchmark and how to use it for your team at Ideal.com.