The Best Sales Reps Have These Traits

Everyone wants an all-star salesforce. I break down reps as either “A,” “B” or “C” players. To know who you have on your team, we need to understand the qualities that make “A” players different from everyone else.

Elite salespeople outperform their peers. “A” players generate five times the sales revenue of “B” players and outperform their “C” counterparts by a factor of 10x.

Unfortunately, these standout reps are few and far between. Building a sales team comprised of “A” players is a tall order because they are only 7 percent of all salespeople. The “Bs” represent just 16 percent and the lowly “Cs” comprise a whopping 77 percent of all sales reps.

Let’s look at the qualities that make an “A” player. “A” players display measurable differences in three important areas:
• Tactical Selling Skills
• Sales DNA
• Will To Sell

Tactical Selling Skills: The “A” salesperson excels at building business relationships, following a milestone-centric sales process, using a consistent approach, asking tough questions, thoroughly qualifying prospects, and closing sales with reckless abandon. These skills are measurable and can be learned. They are also the skills that we traditionally expect salespeople to have. While ”A” players cannot succeed without superior tactical skills, they are no longer enough to guarantee success.

Sales DNA: In an increasingly difficult selling environment, Sales DNA, or having the “right stuff,” is more important than ever. Sales DNA consists of six measurable attributes that either support or hinder selling. For example, a rep with a higher DNA does not panic during a sales call, doesn’t feel the need to be liked, is comfortable discussing financial topics, and recovers quickly from rejection, among other traits.

A salesperson with strong Sales DNA will always outperform a salesperson with lower DNA and better tactical skills. The consultative selling strategies that are required to succeed in modern business-to-business sales require far more positive DNA than ever before.

The Will To Sell: The Will To Sell, also known as “grit,” includes desire, commitment, outlook, personal responsibility and motivation. All successful salespeople have a strong Will To Sell. The challenge, is that, like DNA, it is not readily observable. However, it can, and must, be measured in every salesperson. A strong Will To Sell is needed to overcome everyday challenges and to continuously improve.

Building an elite sales team is the key to succeeding in a dynamic and challenging marketplace. Only the elite “A” players have the skills to overcome myriad challenges ranging from internet sales and nontraditional competition to increasingly price-conscious customers.

The first step to building an all-star team is measuring both your existing sales team and all sales candidates along all three of these important dimensions. While tactical skills can be developed, fixing Sales DNA and the Will To Sell takes a long time and a lot of effort. That is why you must have a highly predictive method of identifying “A” players.

On my website, you can download a free sample of an assessment report to identify “A” players at

Jim Peduto is the managing partner and the co-founder of the Knowledgeworx, LLC and is certified in Sales Force Effectiveness. Knowledgeworx is dedicated to working with business owners and CEOs who want to grow revenue and increase profitability. He can be reached at