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What Makes a Salesperson a “Rockstar”?

The new ads for Workday featuring “rockstars” makes me chuckle each time I see one. Although the ad is generic in a way to include many types of workers, the term “rockstar” has become predominantly known in the sales arena.

Most companies would welcome a “rockstar” to drive revenue to their bottom-line. Locating, hiring, motivating, inspiring, and keeping top-level salespeople is very difficult!

Although I’m not particularly fond of the term “rockstar”, I can fully understand what it means in terms of sales and selling: someone that overachieves in selling, and no one else can seem to perform as well.

I have been very fortunate to have worked with some of the most elite, enterprise-level salespeople in the B2B Software, Digital Media, Data Centers, Internet Marketing, and other industries over the years.

Each one had/has their own style, but there are several attributes (these are just three) that separated them from others who sold on our team(s):

  • Passion – If you truly want to be a rockstar in sales, you simply must just love to close. That means, obtaining higher commission checks and a sense of gratitude inside, that you tracked the lead all the way through the sales process, and then CLOSED it. Enterprise-level salespeople enjoy the hunt for a sale all the way from Prospecting through Closing. There is a passion inside them that seems to be innate, and it’s hard to find in many so-called “sellers” today. They are the ones who will work any hour of the day, nights, weekends, and are sure they are in a position to close the deals in their pipeline.
  • Presentation – Enterprise-level sellers present themselves as experts in the USP (Unique Selling Proposition) of the product and/or service they are selling. In everything they speak, write, dress (appearance), and present, they are cognizant of how it fits the prospects needs and, that they are the expert to meet/exceed their needs. Granted, many companies do not offer some of these sales tools, so the best rockstars generally navigate their way to a place where they can get/deploy them. Great sellers know how they are perceived because they’ve done their homework. They are likeable and genuine and are genuinely interested that their solution will work for their prospect(s).  
  • Pipeline – Great sellers (rockstars) understand the power of their pipeline. In other words, they consistently know the value of the gross amount of their pipeline, the % opportunity to close it, and what type of commission they will receive on the deal when it closes. The math with a pipeline is always easy, and it’s always right. I know sellers who want to make $350K a year, and they also know that the value of that pipeline better be over 3mil, or better. They know the averages to close and are watching those averages every day in CRM. The best salespeople I have known (and will know), know that their work in CRM is vital to their bottom line, their commission checks!

Looking back at two (of many) instances:

  1. There were 58 salespeople on a sales floor I was selling on a few years back. 5-6 of us were making well into six figures. We were the ones there that didn’t go to lunch with everyone, were there after 7pm many nights, and came in on Saturdays to prepare for next week. It’s simple passion and work ethic. We were ALWAYS ready to present our value to our Sales Managers and substantiate it.
  • I hired a junior sales rep for a great brand in the Digital Media business. I told him to do the work in CRM that we taught him with the tools, training and, technique we offered and that within a couple of months (usually on a Friday), he’ll get the opportunity to get a deal. Well, he did. He actually got two the same Friday and closed both. When I walked into the office on Monday around 8:30am, he was there updating his pipeline and getting ready for the week, hungry to close more.

He did eventually become a “rockstar” for us and had a pipeline of over 1.2 mil in his first year.


Sales, Sales Training, CRM in a Karmic Fashion!

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