DNA of a Rainmaker: Four Qualities of the Best Salespeople and Organizations

By Nick HedgesMarch 7, 2017

Every rep wants to be a “rainmaker,” and every sales leader wants to build a team of them…so how do they do it?

Sales can be a highly divisive discipline, with a big gap between average performers and exceptional ones. Some of this disparity is attributable to inherent skill and some to luck, but there are also factors at play that salespeople and their managers can control.

My company, Velocify recently performed an in-depth study that examined the differences between top-performing sales reps and everyone else. We were able to distill the differentiators down into four major points. If sales organizations want to boast a team of rainmakers, they need to understand how to create and support them.

1. Rainmakers set the bar higher–and are held to it.
There may be wisdom in the concept: under-commit, over-deliver…but not in sales. In sales, part of that delivery is based on the commitment. Ambition is as fundamental a part of sales success as talent, and organizations need to foster an environment where reps are compelled to keep pushing themselves. Great salespeople not only meet expectations, but set them high to begin with.

The drive needs to come from the sales rep, but the burden of accountability lies with sales leaders. Fifty percent of over-performing representatives who took the survey responded that they "strongly agree" that they are held accountable for meeting quotas and setting high goals, while only 26 percent of underperforming reps answered the same. Sales teams where higher standards are the norm achieve higher results.

2. Rainmakers are incentivized.
The flip side of asking reps to expect more of themselves is giving them a reason to. This, of course, brings us to commission and to one of the most harmful practices in sales–capping commission. Simply, the more money salespeople are able to make by beating quota on a percentage basis, the more likely they are to beat quota.

Our study found that companies who did cap commission also achieved lower percentages of their revenue targets.

3. Rainmakers have faith in their leaders.
It shouldn’t come as a shock to any sales professional that confidence is a key element of an individual’s success. But what’s equally important is confidence in leadership. High-performing sales reps consistently rank their companies more highly than less successful teams do. Oftentimes, trust in leadership directly trickles down to how confident the individual salesperson is.

One telling question to ask salespeople is what they value most in their leadership. Top performing sellers selected "experience" rather than "product and industry knowledge" (the most popular answer amongst less successful organizations). The implication is that lower ranking sales teams don’t feel well-educated enough about their products or supported enough to sell effectively. Investing in training and mentorship is the best way to create an environment where rainmakers can flourish.

4. Rainmakers prioritize process.
According to our study, process is everything. In fact, having a well-defined process was the factor most closely associated with company success after lead generation and pipeline activity.  Over-achievers in sales typically have a very systematic sales process for managing their leads and relationships. The lowest performers, on the other hand, do something different every time they open their CRM, on every call they make, and every time they send an email. They haven't struck a process that works.

Structures keep reps accountable, leads tracked, and momentum going. It's a good resource for everyone–regardless of skill level and background–and can improve performance immensely.

Whether you’re a new rep trying to maximize your potential or a manager looking for ways to boost your team’s performance, these core concepts are a great framework for taking sales to the next level. Think about ways you can apply them and soon enough, you’ll be needing a (metaphorical) umbrella.

To hear more from Nick, be sure to check out his main-stage presentation at LeadsCon Las Vegas on March 21st titled "It’s Not Your Leads that Suck, It’s You!" Register for LeadsCon today!

To learn more about how Velocify can help turn all your reps into rainmakers, visit us at LeadsCon Las Vegas at booth #201 or register for a free consultation at www.velocify.com/LeadsCon2017

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