aritculate_differentiationWhat sales team leader doesn’t want a team of high-performing reps? We spend a lot of time providing sales managers with the tools that allow them to replicate the behavior of their top performers.

This edition of The Sales Snapshot highlights some of the latest articles on developing your salespeople. Remember, you’re only as good as the team you lead. Use these tips to drive success.

Characteristics Of High Performers

Research demonstrates that sales performance isn’t only about what individual team members do, but about who they are. Understanding the traits that identify top performance potential will help you nurture your best team members, and support low performers in developing the right characteristics.

We highlighted this study published by the Harvard Business Review in this recent blog. But, in case you missed it, you may want to take a second look. Steve M. Martin analyzed a pool of 1,800 high, medium, and low-performing sales people, and identified five key characteristics that set the highest performers apart from the bottom 25 percent. Some of these characteristics—such as situational dominance and inward pessimism—may surprise you.

Stronger Networks

“A sales person’s network is their net worth,” says Jill Rowley. In today’s digital world, one of the most powerful tools for building that network is LinkedIn, and standout sales people take full advantage of it. From developing new leads, to nurturing relationships and researching customer needs, few platforms can surpass LinkedIn’s effectiveness as a sales tool.

Equip your team to stand out on LinkedIn with this infographic from Hubspot that lays out a formula for building a stronger LinkedIn network in minutes per day. Here’s an eBook we published on aligning your social activities with your sales process.

More Effective Emails

If your team is like most, they spend a large portion of every day in email correspondence. While email is a notoriously poor mechanism for persuasion, it is a critical component of the customer relationship cycle. Emails that are unprofessional, overly long, or poorly written damage the customer’s perception of the sender. You can help your team improve email open rates and customer relationships by sharing these tips from Andrea Lehr.

Better Sales Conversations

The best sales teams don’t just read about how to have great sales conversations—they practice the skill regularly. Just as practicing drills helps a sports team develop “muscle memory” for the activities necessary to win the game, consistently practicing conversations can also help a sales team to develop “muscle memory” for winning sales. However, as Ian Altman points out, very few sales teams actually engage in role-playing activities, but these practice sessions can be critical to being audible-ready in front of a customer. That’s why we incorporate them into our Command of the Message® trainings.