What Makes a High-Performing Sales Team: 5 Tips

High-performing sales teams don’t become that way by accident. They are assembled and developed over time by dedicated sales managers who understand the key drivers of selling success. As a sales leader, if you understand what makes a successful sales team, you are going to be in a much better position to emphasize these qualities and take your team to that next level. 

How to Get Your Sales Team Performing Better

No doubt, every business is a unique case and needs a personalized approach when increasing their sales team efficiency. However, after years of experience helping our clients to improve their sales process, CIENCE has differentiated certain patterns that are common for high-performing sales teams. Here are five of these essential characteristics and behaviors, which you absolutely need to adapt in your business.

1. Achieve high win rates.

High-performing sales teams first and foremost close a higher percentage of opportunities than average teams. They do so by:

  • Setting and maintaining ambitious targets
  • Challenging themselves to resolve buyer problems 
  • Concentrating on the delivery of high-value solutions

While several other factors contribute to conversion efficiency, high performers necessarily set top-ambitious goals. If you don’t challenge your team to strive for top-level productivity, they will never take the steps necessary to grow and develop the abilities to reach them. The highest performers reach their high goals by prospecting to higher-value sales leads, often using account-based marketing.

Aligning the right sales professionals, a high-value solution, and a precisely targeted buyer contributes to top-level opportunity win rates.

2. Perpetually improve sales development processes.

One of the most integral points of differentiation between high-performing sales teams and average performers is a constant emphasis on improving the selling process. Sales leaders spend much of their time looking for growth opportunities, developing effective coaching strategies, and implementing training activities aligned with the specific areas in which their team or individual representatives need to grow.

Businesses can provide greater opportunity for their sales teams to thrive by allowing them to focus on closing deals and removing the need for prospecting, which can be easily outsourced to a third party. By providing your team qualified opportunities in the form of qualified sales leads or even appointments, you enable them to use their time and energy more efficiently, paying more attention to what is most profitable for your business.

As gaps are detected in your sales process, managers on high-performing sales teams invest in resources that help your team. Thus, high-growth companies with more top performers invest way more effort in deploying more technologies and sales engagement platforms (SEPs) than laggard businesses. As you develop the abilities and performance capabilities of team members, continue to raise the bar. Being a high performer means never settling into a comfort zone. 

Set new targets, search for improvements, make them happen, and repeat the sales development cycle over and over again.

What makes a high performing sales team?

3. Maintain your team’s motivation.

Understanding your team’s motivation plays a critical role in the sustained success of salespeople. Its importance is often overlooked. In many cases, at the very beginning of their career, sales representatives feel inspired by the new beginnings and selling challenges. However, when the honeymoon phase wears off, some salespeople lose their grip.

In high-performing sales teams, their leaders sustain salespeople’s motivation intensity over the long term. It is in our human nature to have ups and downs, and highs and lows. Companies who expect their salespeople to both nurture and close more deals daily experience greater turnover and burnout among their teams. 

In fact, many of the most successful salespeople failed during the periods of their career where they were expected to prosper. You need to nurture the habits of top sales performers in your team and let them do what they are best at. 

habits of top sales performers

Those salespeople who are better at starting the conversation typically aren’t the most successful in guiding the decision-making process to the end. When supplied with qualified sales leads, they often have an increase in energy and motivation by focusing on what they excel at best. 

Understand the factors that drive your team to overcome adversity and stay focused in the long term. Don’t make the success of the salesperson limited to their weakest ability.  

With a motivated and resourceful team, you don’t have to invest as much time into trying to stoke the fires to optimize sales productivity.

4. Deliver real value to your prospects.

The ability to understand the full value of the solutions you sell and to articulate that value to buyers can increase sales productivity. The only thing that separates your business from low-price sellers is the superior quality of the products and services your company provides. If buyers don’t see this enhanced value, your price points may seem too high.

Value comes in many different forms, including style, durability, dependability, reliability, and compelling differentiating features, along with a multitude of service and support features. Top sales teams clearly recognize the full value of the benefits they provide, which positively affects their revenues. A major component of achieving this is by first understanding the problems and deep-level frustrations experienced by an individual prospect. A customer-centric attitude is inherent among high-performing sales teams.

At CIENCE, we take the time to go through a questionnaire to understand the pain points of your prospects and develop messaging targeted specifically to them. We make sure to truly know your company and products so your sales team can properly engage with qualified leads nurtured by our SDRs. This also gives your salespeople the ability to focus greater on sales tactics and product/service education, saving time that is spent finding new business. 

The ability to translate value to customers is highly correlated with high-performing sales teams.

Deliver real value to your prospects

5. Focus on nurturing new accounts.

Lead nurturing is a common pain point for any sales organization. The ability to efficiently convert interested prospects into buyers is crucial for the survival of your business. However, top-level sales teams move beyond just nurturing leads. They focus on nurturing new accounts.

Generating one-time sales deals isn’t a strategy that is going to lead to high efficiency and profits. In many cases, the first sale may not even cover the acquisition costs required to get the account. Therefore, it is necessary to focus on repeat purchases, loyalty, and long-term retention to build a powerful profit engine.

Nurturing accounts begins with a one-hundred percent follow-through on delivering the solutions promised. Complete fulfillment may include delivery of tangible products, installation, training and support, and ongoing customer service. Follow-up communication is equally important. Intentional, regular phone and e-mail communication with clients demonstrate that you care about their experiences. Building this trust leads to renewals and reorders, as well as add-on sales, cross-sells, and referrals.

By providing your sales team with sales leads found from extensive research, they’re able to focus on nurturing new accounts and closing a greater percentage of deals. 

Make Your Sales Team High Performers

The list of major factors that separate high-performing sales teams from average ones isn’t overly long. However, the lengths to which the top teams implement these key elements of sales strategy are impressive. The most important quality that defines high performers is that they commit to delivering value and achieving high win rates. They seek out every opportunity to improve the selling processes stage by stage.

Sustained motivation and focus on nurturing new accounts are other key qualities demonstrated by top teams. To jump-start your efforts to become a high-performing sales team, book an appointment with CIENCE today. 

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in July 2017 and has been completely updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.