No matter how well you coach, no matter how powerful your tools are, no matter how airtight your sales process is ‒ you won’t achieve sales success if you don’t have the right sales reps.

The history books are littered with optimistic Sales VPs who thought they could take any old group of reps and turn them into a sales machine. But the inconvenient truth is that the quality of your sales reps matters. Of course, this just raises an obvious question: How can sales managers tell which reps are great and which are merely average? What are the characteristics that separate the best reps from the rest?

And this is where it starts to get tricky. Every sales managers has their own thoughts about what makes a rockstar rep. And, unfortunately, most of these ideas contradict each other. Here’s just a smattering of the expert advice out there:

  • Some experts suggest looking for reps with experience, ideally in your specific industry. Others say just the opposite.

  • Some people claim that you should only hire reps who are great listeners. Others, though, believe that the best sales reps are experts at pushing their prospects and forcing them to challenge their assumptions.

  • Many sales professionals believe that being a great sales rep is tantamount to being a great closer. Some people, on the other hand (are you starting to sense a theme yet?), believe that other traits severely outweigh closing skills.

Whew! It’s a lot to take in, huh? All of this contradicting advice about the traits of great sales rep has probably left you clamoring for a simpler, less subjective way to distinguish the cream of the crop from the run of the mill. It certainly made us feel that way.

Which is why we decided to answer the question for ourselves.

How did we do it? First, we gathered data from more than 50 B2B inside sales teams. And we mean data: sales cycle length, win rate, rep efficiency, CRM usage, deal size ‒ everything we could get our hands on.

And then we separated the top 25% of reps in terms of monthly bookings from the rest of the pack and looked at what exactly they did differently. Did they push deals past the finish line faster? Did they work more opportunities at once? Did they have dramatically higher win rates?

We used this information to hire reps, coach the reps we had, and design a sales process that emphasized the traits we found to be most important.

And now we’re sharing the results with you. For the first time you can get our FREE one-page guide to understanding what makes a great sales rep.

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