This blog is for all people in a company of any size that are looking to hire a top salesperson in the future. I found this piece below especially relevant since our entire business is built on providing companies with a part-time sales resource to help boost their revenues as fast as possible while building the infrastructure and process to support long-term sales growth.

The information below was based on a blog in the Harvard Business Review that was written by Steve Marshall a teacher of sales strategy at the USC Marshall School of Business.  His findings were based on interviewing thousands of top business to business sales people and doing personality tests on 1,000 of them.  Below I have summarized his findings of what attributes are found in the top salespeople.


Interestingly enough, the best salespeople are not push and egotistical.  Rather 91% of the top salespeople were relatively modest and humble.  These individuals also displayed a team sales approach, meaning they would not position themselves as the key resource in the sale, they would position the entire team and utilize the various team resources available to them to help close the deal


Top salespeople are very serious about their jobs and take responsibility for the results.  The stats say that 85% of top salespeople were very conscientious.  These same individuals like to take control of the sales process and not let it be dictated to them by the customer or another competitor.  Why?  They want to control their own destiny.

Achievement Orientation:

Achieving goals and measuring their success in comparison to their goals is a key driver for over 80% of salespeople.  Top salespeople want to understand what is driving their customer’s decision making and will strategize as to how to ensure the products they are selling fit into the organization and the business pain it is solving.


Great salespeople are more curious than their less successful counterparts.  82% of great salespeople scored really high with respect to curiosity levels.  This level of curiosity correlates to taking an active interest in the client and asking qualifying and probing questions that will help lead to a close as soon as possible.

Lack of Gregariousness:

Top performers averaged a score of 30% less gregarious than their below average peers.  The reasoning here is that top sales performers while being friendly want to maintain a level of credibility with their customers such that recommendations made by the salesperson are followed.  Being too friendly leads to being too close to the customer, making it hard to operate on a peer to peer level where recommendations are easily given and then received.

Lack of Discouragement:

Over 90% of the best salespeople experience very little discouragement or sadness.  As you can imagine, most are optimistic and driven.

Lack of Self-Consciousness:

Not surprisingly, over 95% of top salespeople have low levels of self-consciousness.   Meaning they do not get embarrassed easily.   The best salespeople are willing to fight hard to win the business and not afraid to stand up to their customers during the process.  They are action orientated and not afraid to cold call or call in at a high level.

I know it is tough to hire a great salesperson and I know we struggle with the same challenges trying to scale our own business.  I hope you find this piece written by Steve Marshall helpful when interviewing for your next candidate.

If you are looking to hire a top sales team, that has the attributes listed above, feel free to contact us.  We are experienced, seasoned and have proven results.

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