10 Proven Characteristics of a High Performing Sales Team

Most companies waste years trapped in a cycle of onboarding lackluster performers that make no impact on their bottom line. Ultimately, most sales hires do little more than contribute to budget-draining turnover after a short stint in the sales office.

Yet every executive worth their salt understands that the health of their company relies largely on cultivating a well-oiled, high-performance sales team. So what are these decision-makers missing?

Strategic hiring practices and sales enablement can transform average or even underperforming sales teams into a world-class salesforce. But creating a powerhouse sales team is about more than just technology. It also requires a culture that supports crucial traits, habits, and values shared by top-performing sales teams across industries.

Read on to discover the ten critical characteristics of a high-performing sales team. 

What Is a High-Performance Sales Culture?

Sales culture is an umbrella term for the sales team's collective attitudes, beliefs, habits, and values. Various factors influence sales culture, including leadership style, industry, and established company values.

High-performing sales cultures are recognizable through a few key attributes. Among them is alignment with a collective vision and shared strategies, execution of key tasks with minimal friction, and continuous improvement that outpaces competitors.

10 Characteristics Needed to Have a Top-Performing Sales Team

A high-performing sales team is a multifaceted organization with many needs to balance. For smooth operation, managers and executives can cultivate a combination of winning habits and characteristics to establish sales culture and strategies that lead to consistent overperformance.  

1. Outstanding Sales Management

What are high-performance sales without strong leadership? Outstanding sales managers are an essential key to building a high-powered team. The best sales managers have a “boots on the ground” philosophy and significant amounts of time in the sales office training and working alongside their team. 

Outstanding managers understand how to build a high-performing sales team. They create a positive work environment that celebrates successes while also empowering team members who need more support to thrive.

This support is vital because managers that give their sales team a quota to meet without high-performance sales training can expect frustrated and demotivated teams and unmet sales goals. 

2. Time Management

The most successful salespeople identify people who are unlikely to convert into a sale. They spend little time with such people, as they recognize that higher-value leads offer a better return for their time.

Learning how to quickly identify viable leads plays a vital role in producing top-performing sales reps with excellent time management skills.

Consider including time management during your next round of high-performance sales training. Teach your sales reps to recognize and prioritize high-value customers and drive home the importance of dedicating more energy to winning leads.

3. Asking the Right Questions

Top-performing salespeople can strategically tailor questions to meet prospective customers’ needs. Often, the best questions for converting leads evoke emotion. Common examples include:

  • What have you tried in the past, and what were the results?

  • What would happen if you took no action and left things how they are?

  • As you work on making your decision, what can I do to help you?

4. Goal Setting

Effective goal-setting is one of the three most critical elements growing as a high-performing salesperson, alongside adaptability and drive.

High performers thrive when pursuing and achieving specific goals. By creating realistic and actionable goals tailored to each sales team member, you can generate previously untapped motivation and drive.

Be attentive and offer additional coaching if a sales rep begins falling behind on a goal. Never forget to celebrate the successes of your sales reps and teams.

5. Seeking Improvement

The best salespeople acknowledge their successes while seeking ongoing strategies to improve their performance for the next quarter.

However, identifying motivated salespeople is a consistent challenge for hiring and sales managers. That’s why an increasing number of managers are turning towards predictive analytics to hire the best candidates.

At PerceptionPredict, we create unique and highly accurate candidate profiles. Our sales candidate models called Performance Fingertips help companies preemptively determine critical key performance indicators, allowing for strong ROI forecasts.

6. Adaptability

One of the most critical characteristics of a high-performing sales team member is adaptability to situations. Top-performing sales reps use a variety of strategies to maintain flexibility in their pitch, including tailoring the way they speak to relate to prospective customers.

Top sales reps also have a humble attitude about learning and expanding their skill sets. They recognize that the sales environment is always evolving and take pride in adapting their sales style to match the current best practices. 

7. Letting Go of Under Performers

Strong sales teams only have room for overachievers. Letting go of sales members isn't easy, but it’s critical to show other employees that meeting their quotas is a non-negotiable responsibility. 

Emotions are often the primary obstacle in creating and enforcing effective termination policies. While it is important to keep the well-being of employees in mind, keeping poor performers on the payroll to avoid a difficult conversation wastes your company’s money and demotivates hard workers on the team. 

In the past, companies were also hesitant to terminate underperforming employees despite necessity due to the exorbitant costs of finding a replacement. Fortunately, predictably hiring a top-performing sales rep using PerceptionPredict's Performance Fingerprints makes it easier to move past an underperformer.

8. Focusing on Value

Internal sales cultures often focus on product prices, but high performers know that the key to driving sales is relating the value of the offer to prospective clients.

They do this by tapping into the emotional side of products and services, bypassing logical objections, and triggering the emotional decision-making portion of the brain. Examples of value-focused, emotional questions include:

  • How a product will make them feel

  • What the product will do for their family

To be successful with value-driven sales, salespeople must learn about their customers and what’s important to them.

9. Improved Sales Coaching

How do you create a high-performance sales culture without coaching? It’s nearly impossible. 65% of sales leaders that outperformed against revenue targets have dedicated sales enablement, including high-performance sales training for their teams.

Coach your salespeople regularly, both as a team and as individuals. Sales managers should be skilled at recognizing areas that even their highest-performing sales reps can improve. Above all, it is critical to engage and encourage team members with coaching so they feel comfortable and internalize the training.

10. Solution Seekers

High-performing sales reps genuinely want to help their customers. They have a service-oriented mindset and focus conversations on the customer’s problem and how they can provide a solution.

Customers can sense when a salesperson is trying to sell a product just because it’s their job. That’s why during the hiring phase, it’s essential to identify sales reps with savvy and enthusiasm about the product.

These candidates' natural interest and excitement will support innovative solutions and convert prospective buyers into customers without triggering their ‘salesman sense.’

Create High Performing Sales Teams with PerceptionPredict

Creating the optimal sales team is a significant challenge. It requires thorough vetting, intensive high-performing sales training, and strong confidence in your company’s ability to secure the best candidates. 

However, creating or hiring a top-performing sales team doesn’t have to be tedious or involve risky guesswork. Modern companies are taking advantage of emerging technology like predictive analytics to gain an edge in talent acquisition.

Performance Fingerprints

Performance Fingerprints analyze the characteristics of your sales team to quantify how an individual will perform before they take a new position.

Performance Fingerprints provide recruiters, hiring managers, and sales managers the opportunity to employ advanced predictive intelligence during the hiring process.

Performance Fingerprints create accurate, data-driven forecasts about key performance indicators, allowing companies to hire with confidence. PerceptionPredict’s Performance Fingerprints have been key in building world-class sales teams for companies like Mercedes-Benz, Crowdstrike, and Dymon Asia Capital.

If you’re ready to find the best candidates to create your high-performing sales team, book a demo today.

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