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Are sales stars born to the breed, or do they engage in specific, teachable behaviors that correlate with success? We believe the latter is true, and that sales leaders can use hard data to identify which behaviours matter most.” ( Harvard Business Review)

I read the above quote in a recent article posted on the Harvard Business Review, which was reviewing a study in which researchers used workplace analytics to study how salespeople managed their time and to identify what the behaviours of top performing sales reps were, and I found the findings extremely interesting.

According to the research, top performing sales reps were:

  • “Three times as likely to interact with multiple groups inside the company.” (Collaboration)
  • “Twice as likely to collaborate frequently with peer generalist reps.” (Collaboration)
  • “50% more likely to have weekly pipeline reviews with their direct managers.” (Coachable)
  • “The most successful reps came better prepared to their meetings with customers. ” (Preparation)

These findings are significant because they challenge the status quo of how we believe we should manage and reward sales reps. These findings show that the behaviours that lead to success in sales aren’t just activity levels, aren’t hitting funnel KPIs and most importantly: aren’t tracked inside the CRM.

You can’t measure “being prepared for a meeting” or “collaborate with another group inside the company” in your CRM – so most companies don’t bother. However, the research above shows that indisputably – adopting these behaviours will lead more of your staff to succeed.

It should be obvious to us, but it isn’t. It’s the “little things” that lead to success in sales, however as leaders – we complicate things. We obsess over whether we can funnel it through our business analytics system and our CRM, instead of actually promoting our staff to adopt the behaviours that we KNOW will lead to success.

Sometimes the simplest solutions are the best. Promote your staff to adopt the behaviours that correlate with success and reward the people who adopt those behaviours.


Written by

James Pember
CEO Sparta, gamification & performance management technology for the world's biggest and most-loved enterprise brands.Passionate about performance. Passionate about helping companies drive change. Love the intersection of behaviour, business, psychology and technology. One-time marathon finisher (probably won't try again).