Is Your Top Revenue Earner Actually Your Best Salesperson?

Written by Sean McPheat | Linkedin thumb

statuette winner with a starI have had many debates over the years about what makes a great sales person and the one thing I have always argued is that the amount of revenue they produce should not be the only key factor.

Let me give you an example based on Formula One (F1) racing. The reason the drivers strive to be in the top teams is that they generally have the fastest car! Let me repeat that, they have the fastest car! The top drivers are in essence all fairly equal in terms of their pace and it is the machinery and technology around them that can limit their performance.

The reason why team mates in F1 are so highly competitive with each other is that they know they have exactly the same car as them. Therefore whoever is fastest out of the two is definitely the quickest and best performer.

In business it is almost impossible to have two sales team members that have exactly the same territories or client bases. Despite the best efforts of sales management I have never seen a territory split that is 100% fair and equal. Therefore just because someone produces the highest revenue are they the best?

Over the past few years CRM systems have become far more effective at monitoring sales performance in several dimensions, not just revenue. In many cases profit margin, new business, up sell/cross sell and accuracy of forecast against achieved results can all be checked at the click of a mouse.

My personal favourite measure is the last one ‘accuracy of forecasting’. I would rather have a consistent high performer who delivers exactly what they say than a happy go lucky salesperson with performance that yoyos between awesome & poor! I’ll explain why?

In order to forecast business accurately you need to know exactly what is happening with each deal and each client. You must intimately know the clients decision making process and key people. You need to know where the deal currently sits in that process in terms of sign off. You know the potential pitfalls and delay points and fastidiously monitor and check.

This type of salesperson is most likely to pay the same attention to detail when engaging with the client in the first instance, real consultative salespeople that know their best chance of hitting their targets and goals is helping the client achieve theirs!

Here are my top tips to spot a sales star:

  • They never stop prospecting even when they are smashing targets with existing business
  • They intimately know the clients decision making process so there are no surprises
  • When they win a deal they share the glory with the team that supported them
  • They take responsibility for their learning rather than wait for training
  • They can articulate what the client will get out of the ‘deal’
  • They appreciate NOT all business is good business and are prepared to walk away
  • They see targets as ‘norm’ and always seek to exceed
  • They never ‘sand bag’ deals to make life easier next month
  • Their sales funnel & forecast is always reliable

It takes real courage to make changes to territories and move accounts around but if you want to be a sales leader then courage is not something you should lack! Put your best drivers in your best accounts and I’ll see you at the winning line!

Happy Selling!


Sean McPheat

Sean McPheat
Managing Director

MTD Sales Training | Image courtesy of Pixtawan at

450 sales questions free report

Originally published: 15 August, 2013

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