Under the Surface: Motivating Values of Top Performing Sales People

by Kara

You have likely noticed that some of your sales team members produce much higher numbers than others. What separates those that produce high numbers - top performers - from those that produce low numbers - low performers?

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High Job Fit Predicts Top Performers

There are many factors that contribute to "Job Fit"- the extent to which an individual fits their position.  When a sales person is a natural fit for the job, they are able to focus their effort and energy on the required tasks rather than struggling to keep up.  They will perform better, be happier in their work and will emerge as top performers.  

Those who have a lower job fit- the position is not matched to their natural talents and tendencies - have higher stress levels, lower productivity, generally display lower morale and contribute to higher turnover rates. 

The Behavior of Top Performing Sales People

Behavior plays a large role in job fit.  Behaviors are how one responds to challenges, how they interact with others, how they respond to change and how they comply with rules and procedures.

Generally speaking, an outside sales role is required to make new contacts, find and engage new opportunities and drive new business.  Behaviorally, a good fit would be a sales person who is aggressive and enjoys a challenge, someone who is outgoing and friendly so that they will be received well and someone with a strong sense of urgency and ability to multi-task.

That same behavior style would fit relatively well in an inside sales position. However, the dominant/aggressive side would become bored and disengaged sitting behind a desk when they would prefer to be out "hunting".  

Having awareness of behavior styles prior to hiring someone for a position will contribute to a high job fit and ultimately greater success.

A person’s behavioral profile is crucial for determining that they are an appropriate fit for the job, but behavioral fit should not be solely relied on. The necessary behavior style for a top sales performer can vary slightly based on the job requirements, industry and company culture, but there is one commonality among all top sales performers - what motivates them.

What Motivates Top Performers?

Studies show that top performing sales people have a common Motivating Value. In a study of top performing sales people, 72% of the 178 examined, shared Utilitarian (economic) as their top value.  Someone who is motivated by economics and money (Utilitarian) will produce at higher levels than someone who is not because sales teams are generally enticed by bonus and commissioned based on performance.  Sales teams work fairly autonomously, so hiring someone who is naturally driven by power to be in charge of themselves and their future is also important. 
Unlike behavior, you cannot observe what drives or motivates your employees or see why they do what they do.

What is "under the surface" of your sales team?  Are they wired motivationally to become your top performers?

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