How Top Sales Reps Stay on Top


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Top sales reps share a common trait. They are determined to keep getting better. That explains the runaway success of a post by Steve Loftness six months ago. Why Top Sales Reps Will Be Unemployed in 2 Years set an SBI record for most views in one day. The post offered advice for top sales reps to avoid becoming obsolete. The post was widely read, shared and tweeted.

What can sales and HR leaders learn from this massive response? What separates top sales reps from the rest?

This article reveals how top sales reps stay on top. It will help if you are seeking to hire a top rep. Or if you are a manager trying to develop an “A” player. Or if you are a top player looking to maintain your edge. Read on to answer the question, “How can today’s sales rep be ready for tomorrow?

To assist you further, download the Top Sales Rep Renewal Guide. You can access it when you sign up for SBI’s Sales & Marketing Research Review here. This no-cost tour presents findings from SBI’s research in 2013. You’ll have access to a host of guides, templates and tools.

Top Sales Rep Renewal Guide

Staying On Top

There are 5 key traits shared by top sales reps:

  1. Reinvention – Top performers don’t stand still. They relentlessly seek to improve; never satisfied with the status quo. Unafraid to experiment with a new tactic. More worried about missing a new technique than suffering a failure.
  2. Best Practices – “A” players constantly monitor what peers are doing. They persistently expand on new ideas to get to the next level. Best practices are just a launch pad for more innovation.
  3. Technology – Top sales reps use technology as a force multiplier. They accelerate their pace with communication devices. They reach new prospects with social media. No moment is wasted in a connected world where support resources are a text away. Customers expect and receive instantaneous response.
  4. Rapid Adoption – Not satisfied with just learning new ideas, top reps deploy new concepts immediately. No pilot test, no resistance; just swift implementation and iteration.
  5. Mobility – The Bluetooth earpiece and the Wi-Fi hotspot turn the top performer’s world into a virtual office. Video training modules are completed on a smartphone. Chat apps keep connections with the sales team. CRM reporting, appointments, call prep, and forecasting are all done on the fly.

What This Means for Top Sales Reps

Steve’s post about Top Sales Reps smashed records on Day One. Was there a massive coincidental urge to search the term “Top Sales Reps?” Probably not. It’s more likely that top sales reps had alerts set to notify them. They were using technology to find best practices. They probably read the post on a mobile device, miles from any office. The readership expanded when they shared the post with colleagues via social media.

To stay on top, take advantage of the Top Sales Rep Renewal Guide. Compare your practices to the best. Learn, adopt and share. See the image below for a preview of the guide.Top_Sale_Rep_Guide

The sample above shows just a handful of the 13 top sales rep traits. Each is accompanied by a comparison of an obsolete rep and an evolving rep.

What This Means for Sales and HR Leaders

Buyer behaviors have changed and top sales reps are steadily evolving. The guide shows you what they are doing and what they need to succeed. This affects everything from employee engagement to sales performance management:

  • Assessment: Do your current players exhibit the traits of winners or dinosaurs?
  • Sourcing: What competencies should you look for in your hiring process?
  • Development: How can your training programs help top performers?
  • Retention: What do top performers need to be productive and successful?
  • Engagement: How can you foster a positive, winning culture?

Understanding what drives top performers is the first step to a strong talent program.

Next Steps:

Prepare for 2014 now. Learn what it takes to hire, develop or become a top performer:

  1. Register for your copy of the Top Sales Rep Renewal Guide
  2. Use the guide to assess how you stack up against the best-in-class
  3. Develop an action plan to fill the gaps
  4. Make the Number in 2014

Republished with author's permission from original post.

John Kenney
John Kenney serves as Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI). John brings more than 20 years of direct sales and sales management experience to his consulting role. His recent client list includes: Hewlett Packard, Phillips 66, Motorola Solutions, and Sanofi BioSurgery.


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