I’ve been around B2B sales professionals for 26 years now, first as a rep myself, then as a sales manager and later sales VP, also for a few years in a marketing capacity. Conservatively I’m guessing that totals a four to five thousand sales reps if all those teams were combined and sitting in one pretty good sized meeting room.
One constant over all these years has been the characteristics that distinguish the highest performing sales professionals from the rest of the pack. Whether you call them A Players, Top Reps or Sales Rain Makers, they have a very unique way of doing their job. This suggests a profile for sales managers to look for when assessing their current teams or looking to hire new reps.
What Makes Sales Rain Makers Unique
Here is my list of traits, behaviors and attributes of the Sales Rain Makers I’ve been around. Build your B2B Sales team with Reps like these and you are on your way to quota busting results!
Exceptional Work Ethic
Sales Rain Makers work long days, nights, weekends and sometimes holidays. The reason is they are obsessive about maximizing time with prospects or clients and those discussions generally happen between 8am and 5pm. They reserve the time before or after the normal workday to stay on top of their administrative responsibilities.
Top sales performers are unable to accept “no” or be told that something is not possible. You will see this in how they react to both clients and internal teams. There is often a fine line to this trait that sales managers must watch for, as this drive to find a creative solution around any obstacle can lead to challenges for delivery or finance teams.
Empathy (for client and internal teams)
Rain Makers are careful not to push a prospect too far and likewise are not abusive to internal resources such as proposal or pricing teams, delivery or inside sales. In fact, true Sales Rain Makers are often among the most popular reps because they understand how dependent their success is on their support resources. I’ve seen Rain Makers regularly spend their own money to reward a co-worker for going the extra mile. They are also willing to roll up their sleeves and help delivery or finance take care of the customer when needed.
This characteristic will usually balance out that of high creativity. The best Sales Rain Makers will not force bad business down their company’s throat. They are in it for the long haul and realize that is never the right thing to do an employer or a customer. While they will challenge their company to consider every possibility when they are trying to win a tough piece of business, business sense will keep them from forcing unprofitable decisions on the rest of the team.
They also do a great job of applying this trait to lead qualification. Rain Makers are quick to pass on leads that are likely to require a lot of effort for a low probability of closure.
This is one of those intrinsic traits that enables Sales Rain Makers to uncover opportunities where ‘normal’ reps do not. They ask good questions, not because it’s part of the sales process, but simply because they are naturally curious. Prospects open up to someone who seems genuinely interested in their business and how it could run better. Rain Makers make that connection – and they know what to do with it.
Sense of Urgency
Rain Makers are never comfortable waiting until tomorrow. It’s why they squeeze more out of every day than the rest of the team and why they get more done. They live by the maxim that Time Helps No Sale. They also expect their support teams to have the same drive, which at times requires their sales management to intervene. Just realize Rain Makers live this way for the good of the company and ultimately the customer.
So there you have my take on what to look for in a Sales Rain Maker. I’d love to hear from sales managers out there – and even better – from you Rain Makers on what I have missed! Comments welcome!