Every sales leader dreams of recruiting a team stacked with fast-pitch performers that knock their quota out-of-the-park. Although some top notch recruits are born with sales adrenaline coursing through their veins, most spend years perfecting their skills and honing their sales craft. And it’s up to sales leaders to determine who has what it takes to be a Sales All-Star.
Most sales leaders are constantly on the lookout for networking aficionados that go above and beyond what’s expected of them, but there’s another unique quality that great reps have in common: the willingness to learn.
In a recent SiriusDecisions study, researchers interviewed a panel of B2B sellers to better understand how quota-crushers stay ahead of their under-performing peers.
The study found that sales success directly correlates with content consumption and that reps that empower themselves with internal content are more successful than those who attempt to go at it alone. As a result, high-performing reps consumed eleven pieces of content during a sales cycle while their low-performing peers only consumed eight.
The fact that high-performers consume 35% more than their less successful counterparts suggests that reps who take the time to consume internal content are better prepared to win more deals. In other words, reps who learn more, earn more.
But an interesting aspect of this research is that it not only matters WHAT sellers are learning, it also matters WHEN they are learning it: Winning reps tend to consume 68% more content on the front-end of a sales cycle compared to low-performing reps.
Sellers who consume content in the front-end of a sales cycle have the upper hand because they’re educated early on in the buying cycle which makes it easier for them to close a deal. By the time the deal picks up the pace, high-performers have already done their homework and completed the preparation phase. After this, the main focus shifts on deepening their knowledge of the customer’s business and overcoming competitors that could potentially derail the deal.
Low-performing sellers approach learning in a more reactive way – they wait until deals are in full swing to start digesting content. Because they leveraged fewer resources at the beginning of the deal, they have to educate excessively and attempt to lay down a foundational plan. Primarily, these reps are playing catch-up while their higher-performing peers are racing toward the finish line.
Though most people don’t have sales skills etched into their DNA, certain habits help top-performers rise above their peers… and learning is one of them.
To build a strong sales force, look for salespeople that show a willingness to spend time learning and becoming an expert. And perhaps more importantly, make sure you’re enabling them with content that’s worth learning.