Sales Competencies Top Professionals Need

Sales Competencies Top Professionals NeedWhat sales competencies do the top sales professionals have - SDRs, BDRs, ADRs, account managers? Can sales people be built or are we born to sell? These questions fuel many discussions in board rooms around the world. It is a universal challenge to find the top sellers for your company’s sales team. But how to go about it?


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In the last year, I have been talking about getting more women into sales roles and sometimes people will tell me that women are BETTER than men in sales because of inherent qualities many women bring to the sales role. For their own company’s situation, this may be true. Science has not proven that either sex is better wired for success in sales – instead what we know currently is that each person needs to be assessed for certain things - traits and competencies that the top, most elite reps have that others in sales do not have.

"Never Hired Better Than 50%"

In my career as a sales manager, I never hired better than with 50% accuracy in finding top sales reps. Think about that for a minute. Half of my hires were not good hires. Later I learned that this is about the best you can hope for when hiring with your gut. If you are a leader and feel you do better than that through hunches, good for you. It's not the norm. Fortunately for us all, science has evolved and we now know the top competencies needed for the best (top 7%) of sales professionals.

What Things Do Top Sellers Need to Have?

We know (based on research) that a top seller needs to have the following:

The will to sell – how much desire and commitment someone has to succeed.

Coachable - the ability to receive feedback, shift, and improve

Have a high “Sales DNA” - the strengths that support your ability to execute in sales)

Have a high level of the right tactical and systemic sales competencies.

The 21 core competencies necessary to be successful in a sales career are based on Objective Management Group’s (OMG) work with over a million sales people. Within these competencies are attributes. You can learn more from the article called HBR or OMG – Whose Criteria Really Differentiate the Top and Bottom 10% of Salespeople?

Are salespeople born or made?
"They are made"

Should I hire someone with a high “Sales DNA” and other items listed above OVER someone who has lots of industry experience?


If you find a candidate who has THE WILL TO SELL – meaning that they have great desire as well as commitment to be successful, and they possess what we discussed above, they can be taught about your industry in short order. The problem many companies make is that they hire that guy or woman who has worked in a number of companies in your industry but may not have the skills, competencies, coachability and will to sell in order to be successful. Instead they are simply selling YOU, the sales leader, on how great they are. That could be their best sale made working for your company. Don't fall in love with the "wrong" sales rep.

I’m excited that now YOU can play with the OMG data for your own industry and gain more of a feeling of how sales rep data can help you build your sales team.


Now what about your sales leaders? Read "The Competencies You Need to Lead Your Sales Team" here


Lori Richardson  helps mid-sized companies grow revenues by solving key issues in their sales department - like recruiting, retention, diversity hiring, process, pipeline and leadership. She speaks at CEO groups on topics of sales growth. Clients include companies in the technology, telecom, manufacturing, distribution, and professional services industries. Subscribe to the award-winning blog, follow her on Twitter
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Topics: sales leadership

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