As a CEO, being able to hit your quarterly revenue projections predictably is paramount to your success. Knowing that you will make your number quarter-after-quarter, and year-after-year starts with the talent of your team. If you get the talent equation right, your board meetings become much less stressful. However, if you get the talent equation wrong, you are in for some sleepless nights.


In my experience building sales teams, behind your sales leader, the second most important person that can set your company on a trajectory of continued success, is your top-performing sales representative. This valuable addition to your sales team sets the bar for all other salespeople to strive to reach.


So, how do you identify the Top 1% of Sales Talent?


Here are 4 markers that you can use to help identify consistently high achievement standards within your sales team:


  1. They are relentlessly disciplined – when a new rep starts at your company, be sure to watch them intensely. What you should be looking for is the non-social rep. The one who doesn’t chit-chat with everyone else. Disciplined reps understand that their co-workers are not buyers of your product, so they don’t waste time with them. The top performers may not be the most liked by their teammates, but they understand that remarkable results take sacrifice, and in sales, which comes from maximizing their time selling.



  1. They are always building new relationships (prospecting) – anyone can have a good month or a good quarter, but sustaining an elevated level of execution in sales takes a different approach. Top reps are always working on the top of their funnel because they know that opportunities are their lifeblood. So, they prospect each day even though prospecting is not glamorous.



  1. They are confident and command a premium – watching a top 1% sales performer negotiate is an impressive sight. Because, most of the time, they don’t. Recently, I got a LinkedIn InMail from the number one rep at a company.  I asked him, “what do you do differently than your peers?” Here is what he said:“I have the confidence to ask for what my service is worth. Most of my peers are timid when it comes to asking for what it is worth. I also understand my company’s goals inside and out, as well as, the services that we provide. I work smart and hard! I do research perfect my craft daily. I also keep an open mind and always look at new ways to streamline my processes. I also have the best team in the world! And, I look forward to Mondays because I love my job.”



  1. They are focused –  just like in Business, the consistent winners in sales, (1) have a plan, (2) work their plan, and (3) enlist others to help them achieve their goals.



Once you have found a top 1%er, and they have consistently outperformed their peers, you should assess them. Talent assessments are a powerful tool you can use to understand what it takes to be successful in sales within your organization. Below you can see an example output of one of these assessments.




As you can see from the above results, this individual got higher marks than both her peers and our SBI sales talent benchmark. With this data in hand, it will make your job of finding additional talent that much easier.



One last tip – talent is something that you need to measure at least yearly. If you are making gains in the area, here is an example of what your progress may look like:



Example: Talent Assessment Progression Chart



To dive deeper into planning your talent strategy and people plan, leverage SBI’s “How to Make Your Number in 2018” Workbook or interactive tool. 


Sales Revenue Growth