We all want to know what top sales performers do differently to consistently exceed expectations and blow away their quota numbers year after year. As sales professionals, we want to hone our skills and learn tips from the winners. As sales leaders, we want better criteria to hire more top performers and effective coaching techniques so reps can go from good to great.
Selling Power and ValueSelling Associates recently conducted a survey of more than 150 senior leaders in B2B sales to identify the mindsets, attributes, and behaviors of top-performing salespeople, defined as those who consistently exceed expectations.
When we asked the sales leaders about the main distinction between their consistent overachievers and everyone else on their sales team, desire was by far the top response. The overachievers wanted to win. However, wanting something and achieving it are two very different things. These reps also had the drive and discipline to put a plan in place and realize their goals. Here’s a look at these behaviors and how they help sales professionals succeed.
Desire to Win
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 respondent stated that top performers embrace “the 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
The top performing salespeople were also consistently described as having drive. Being self-motivated and goal-oriented leads to the top performers being proactive in creating a sales plan and using sales tools to solidify their success.
When asked why top performers stand out, another 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 to show value. They sell value and build credibility.”
Discipline to Employ a Proven Sales Methodology and Build a High-Caliber Pipeline
Another sales leader’s response focused on discipline: “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.”
Two areas where discipline translates into sales success include consistently following a proven sales methodology and building a solid, high-quality sales pipeline. Employing a consistent methodology across the organization is critical to building a team of top performers by creating a common skillset, toolset and mindset around the sales process.
Prospecting is often a salesperson’s least favorite activity, even for top performers. However, overachievers have the discipline to be rigorous about prospecting. They implement a cadence that is built into their daily activities, so that dedicated prospecting time actually happens. They stay extremely targeted in their approach and create real opportunities.
7 Actionable Habits
Desire, drive, and discipline are critical behaviors that set the best salespeople apart from the rest of the pack. To learn about all seven key habits that define top performers, download the ValueSelling Associates ebook, “7 Actionable Habits of Top Performers.”
Julie Thomas, president and CEO of ValueSelling Associates, is a noted speaker, consultant, and author of ValueSelling: Driving Sales Up One Conversation at a Time. She credits her mastery of the ValueSelling Framework® for her own meteoric rise through the ranks of sales, sales management, and corporate leadership positions and is honored that Gartner has positioned ValueSelling Associates as a Leader in the 2021 Magic Quadrant for Sales Training Service Providers.