Profiling High Performing Sales Reps

Brian Williams, PhD

 There are many assessment products that promise the secret sauce: the perfect picture of a high performing sales rep. An appealing pitch, but one that fails in the face of reality.

We helped one client move beyond the hype to a more scientific and sound approach to assessing their reps. Our project involved two stages.

In the first stage, we surveyed a random sample of their large salesforce, seeking to identify the key traits and behaviors most associated with top performance. Our experience has shown that key variables don’t usually have a simple linear relationship with performance outcomes. In certain selling environments, and for certain people, different combinations of variables interact in route to higher performance. To combat this issue, we used advanced statistical analyses to develop profiles of variables that work together in different ways. In the case of this client, we identified two distinct profiles of a successful rep.

In the second stage of the project, we implemented a customized version of our PointForward online tool that allowed each of the company’s reps to individually assess how they compared to the two target profiles by taking a short survey. The tool then generated a personalized report that outlined key training and other development activities designed to help the rep move closer to their ideal profile target. Sales managers also received coaching guidance customized for each individual rep profile.

Brian Williams, PhD

Brian Williams, PhD

Researcher, consultant, and sales leader, Brian uses a data-driven approach to drive sales effectiveness. His clients include leading sales organizations in financial services, technology, healthcare, and professional services. Using insight from academics and change management, Brian helps senior leaders and sales enablement teams understand and succeed in today’s more demanding market. His research has been published in Harvard Business Review and other outlets.