How can you tell if a sales person is truly achieving sales excellence? What are the definitive qualities and patterns of behaviour that separate excellent sales people from the rest of the pack?
Let’s consider the traits that define sales excellence and determine the best ways to incentivise and reward the reps who exhibit them.
Achieving sales excellence is, in large part, a matter of putting in more effort than your colleagues. You want your sales people to be ambitious and dedicated — willing to do that much more to book an extra meeting or keep a prospect with waning interest in your pipeline.
Truly excellent sales people are willing to take initiative. They excel because they sincerely want to set themselves apart and are willing to prove it. Motivation is the underlying factor that enables every other point on this list. Without it, the other components of sales excellence don’t pan out.
2. Working Smarter
While motivation is central to sales excellence, it doesn’t mean much if it’s applied ineffectively. A sales person who haphazardly gives it their all might burn out or see returns that are disproportionately low, relative to the amount of effort they bring to their work.
Excellent sales people know how to manage their time and are selective in how they apply their effort. They’re sensible in how they structure their day-to-day. They’re savvy in understanding when a deal isn’t viable enough to warrant an extra push. And they can work tactfully to get the most out of the extra effort they’re willing to put in.
3. Quickly Getting Up to Speed
True sales excellence materialises at every point in a sales person’s career, no matter how early. One of the marks of a truly excellent sales person is the speed at which they onboard and ramp to a full workload.
How much did it take for them to learn the ropes? Did they take the initiative to learn the ins and outs of your product or service on their own? Could you be hands-off and still expect them to figure out your sales process?
Sales excellence is often a measure of what a sales person can do for your organisation beyond their immediate contributions. By ramping quickly and effectively, an excellent sales person spares your company time, effort, energy, and resources.
Excellent sales people resent complacency. They understand that there’s always room for improvement. Falling into inertia is easy in sales. Sales people often find a daily rhythm that suits them and avoid embracing different processes, methodologies, or strategies that could improve their efforts.
An excellent sales person is willing to keep an open mind. They’re always learning, looking to incorporate any tactics that could help them grow and progress as sales professionals. That could mean something like trying new messaging on sales calls or transitioning to a more customer-centric sales methodology.
Not everything they’ll try will work for them, but excellent sales people are willing to stay abreast of new strategies that could potentially take them to the next level.
5. An “Onto the Next One” Mentality
Excellent sales people aren’t afraid to fail. They can take rejection on the chin and keep moving forward, using every roadblock they run into as a learning experience. If an exceptional sales person drops the ball on a deal or makes a mess of a call, they don’t sulk or get demoralised.
Instead, they analyse their performance, try to identify where they went wrong, and do everything in their power not to make the same mistake twice. And if they notice they’re running into the same issue consistently, they don’t keep it to themselves. Instead, they seek out some insight that can set them on the right course.
Rewarding Sales Excellence
Rewarding sales excellence can be tricky. Excellent sales people are bound to smash any target you give them but might stall if you impose ceilings — meaning capping commission can hold them back.
So one of the more straightforward ways to foster sales excellence is to let them earn all the commission they can. Another effective means of enabling sales excellence is allowing for overachievement commission — slightly increased commission on any sales made beyond the target.
That said, your organisation might not have the financial flexibility to have a more liberal, generous compensation plan. If your business fits that bill, there are still some sensible courses of action that motivate excellent sales reps without straining your company’s budget.
Prizes can be valuable incentives to motivate your sales team. Periodically implementing programs like Spiffs — short-term, competitive, incentive-based initiatives meant to motivate sales representatives — can keep your excellent reps engaged.
If you offer recognition, a financial incentive, a holiday, or any other sort of reward for achieving a certain level of performance, you can foster sales excellence by actively and demonstratively encouraging it.
Sales excellence isn’t easy to come by. The individuals who truly go above and beyond in their drive, team contribution, and hard results need to be identified, further challenged, and rewarded for their exceptional performance.
Try different ways to keep your excellent reps at the top of their game. Sales excellence is a tremendous asset to a sales team, so you have to make a conscious effort to get as much of it out of your reps as possible.
If your team aren’t performing as you think they should, then let’s talk.
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