Five Traits of an Elite Seller

Five Traits of an Elite Seller

Categories: Sales Coaching Tools  |  Sales Transformation  |  Sales Planning  |  Talent Management

Leading your organization to sustained revenue growth begins by honing your greatest asset: your talent. Every organization has its top performers, and usually others within the ranks hold the potential to become elite. When organizations invest in the learning, coaching, and development needed to level-up each team and player, they give themselves a competitive advantage at every touch-point in the customer journey. 

A great talent development strategy begins when you identify and codify the behaviors that drive your core business objectives. These behaviors apply to more than just sales reps; BDRs, SEs, and even Marketing and Customer Success roles are more successful when they leverage a common mindset. Raise up your entire customer-facing organization with a plan for identifying and developing the characteristics within individuals and teams that help elevate your organization to greater heights.

Here are five traits that we encourage leaders to seek and develop in their revenue teams:

1. Committed to Preparation

For sales organizations, tomorrow’s success is driven by today's preparation and planning. Account planning refers to the ongoing, dynamic process of acquiring knowledge, developing relationships, identifying targets, and executing strategies to advance your position. During a recent Ascender webinar on Sales Planning, John Kaplan weighed in on the importance of preparation:

“There’s a quote I love from Rick Pitino, ‘The difference between stress and pressure is preparedness.’ Stress is bad. When we’re not prepared, we get stressed. Pressure is good, kind of like an old friend or one of those heavy blankets. Persevering through pressure comes from effective sales planning; that type of success separates elite sellers from the rest of the pack.”

Building effective planning strategies relies on navigating the internal and external factors that make up accounts. There are relationships and dynamics that make up the political landscape of any buyer organization. Slightly different is the actual hierarchy (the economic landscape) that sellers must navigate to influence the right people and uncover hidden opportunities. Every purchasing decision occurs within the competitive landscape, including competitors and the internal push to “do it ourselves.” Each piece of the landscape is intertwined; effective navigation comes from a steadfast approach to preparation and planning. Elite players relieve themselves of stress from surprises along the path by coming prepared.

Sellers who exhibit extreme ownership and a “franchise mindset” know they should understand more about their territory and accounts than anyone else. Their knowledge and confidence result from their commitment to preparation and planning. 

2.  Always Prospecting

Reps who are always seeking out leads exemplify the ownership and preparation habits listed above, but top performers prospect with added intention. These sellers make the most of each opportunity with behaviors that increase the likelihood of turning leads into deals. They engage in effective pre-call planning to optimize time, provide value from the start, and convey their ability to serve as a trusted business advisor. They use powerful opening statements to establish credibility and address the buyer’s priorities. They know what to listen for, use active listening skills to recognize buyer signals, and follow up with relevant questions.

3. Voracious Qualifiers

The best salespeople follow a systematic, consistent approach to qualification – for both new business and renewals. In the B2B tech space, the gold standard qualification method is MEDDICC.

Ascender’s MEDDICC certification path helps sellers master the method and ensure they uncover the right information. Coursework includes Getting to the Economic Buyer, which outlines how to identify the budget owner and earn the right to speak with them. Validating Champions courses help learners recognize the difference between a champion and a coach, employ methods to verify the champion is selling on their behalf, and ensure the champion has a vested interest in their success.

Organizations using the MEDDICC approach benefit from accurate forecasts, visibility into the true health of each opportunity, and efficiency throughout the customer relationship. Build a manager coaching cadence that ensures consistency around the actions that create and maintain healthy pipelines.

4. Focused on Fundamentals

The most successful individuals keep their skill sets sharp by practicing the fundamentals in the relentless pursuit of perfection. Pick any elite athlete: Tom Brady, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods… each one’s dedication to practice is well documented by coaches and teammates. These top performers were first on the practice field and last to leave, with practice routines that carried a burning intensity and translated to immense success. 

Elite sellers are willing to put in the hard work; they’re never too experienced to disregard the fundamentals, constantly refining skills such as:

 Using storytelling in their sales conversations to influence and establish trust
  Delivering effective, engaging presentations that compel the customer to act
  Staying on top of best practices for virtual selling and communication
  Using anchors to instill value early in the conversation and throughout negotiation to influence decision criteria

Michael Jordan once said, “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” 

5. Receptive to Coaching 

The best athletes in the world still answer to (and benefit from) coaches. Likewise, elite sellers are amenable to coaching; pride takes a back seat to the drive and motivation to improve. Top performers make the most of opportunity coaching with their managers; they come prepared to coaching sessions, welcome feedback, and leverage coaching to develop strategies for moving deals forward. Their lifelong learner mindset is why they never stop growing.

Create a learning cadence around testing, evaluating and coaching; build on knowledge and skills they already possess with new knowledge and skills that help them excel at their job.

Elite Culture: Powering an Organizational Revenue Mindset

Today's top sales teams achieve consistent revenue growth by committing to an elite mindset across the whole revenue organization. It's not just about hiring elite sellers; it's about aligning your team on the approach and process that supports your greatest revenue goals for improved GTM execution. Imagine the downhill momentum of elite players elevating teams and elite teams lifting up an entire organization. Create success that’s contagious.

In this resource for leaders, we’ve outlined three paradigm shifts that help establish and drive the revenue mindset across customer-facing teams. Leverage this guide for actionable advice that unifies departments around common goals, boosts productivity, and engrains the pursuit of being elite into a cornerstone of company culture.

Driving the Revenue Mindset Ebook Download CTA




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