We are certain you have noticed how some individuals on your sales team continue to perform well while others don’t. Why doesn’t the whole sales team perform at the level of the top performers? 🤔

How are these top performers constantly performing at such a level while others aren’t? 🤔

These are just a few questions that managers of sales team have. However, rather than just ponder about it, maybe it’s time to allow your top performers to “rub off” on others. 😀

There are various ways this can happen and we have the insights for how you can use this to improve your overall team performance. 📈

What You’ll Learn:

The 3 Techniques To Improve Sales Performance With The Help Of Your Top Performer

From the moment you hire a sales agent, there may be uncertainty on how well they will perform. You can ask all the right questions during the interview but when it comes to actually performing the best interviewees may falter.

But that doesn’t mean you give up on them. You can get help from your top performers to help your team succeed in more ways then just through their sales.  These techniques will guide you on how you can do that.

1. Channel the Anthropologist in you

Okay, you don’t have to be an actual Anthropologist but you need to think like one and adopt similar techniques. Your first step should be to study your top performers. See what makes them great.

This doesn’t mean you follow them around and weird them out. Just observe how they go about their daily activities, talk to them and see what sets them apart from others.

There’s a good chance you can find things in their daily routine that is different and sets them apart. This could be something as small as spending a little extra time hunting for prospective clients, reading up on new trends in the market, or learning new ways to improve a specific skill they need help with. You will notice that they take time for subtle activities related to their position or that provide them extra depth, in terms of skills.

As a manager, it is your responsibility to note these activities.

Discuss with the top performers how these activities have actually benefitted them and how others on the team can benefit from them.

Just remember that each individual is different in your team, what may work for some may not work for others. When sharing these insights with the team, let them know to keep an open mind about these and monitor whether or not these activities benefit them.

There is a good chance, the majority, if not whole, of the team will benefit from adopting similar activities.

2. Design your KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) around these activities

Once you have identified activities that make your top performers stand out, the best way to make the team adopt these activities is by making them part of the sales KPIs.

We are certain that your team already has KPIs in place that are to be followed to achieve the daily or monthly targets. These activities should be integrated as indicators since they will hopefully lead to more sales.

Making them a part of the KPIs will also ensure that your team will perform these activities. You should define each activity in the KPI, for example, spending an hour a day researching prospective clients. Provide your team with a scorecard with the KPIs listed and let them tally their scores every day.

They can do this for a month and gauge whether these activities actually made an impact. Make sure you tell them to be honest when keeping score. This is for their development.

The whole process is a learning opportunity from the management and the agents. You can monitor the progress of agents through the scorecard and determine which activities work for them and which may not.

3. Have top performers become trainers

By trainers, we don’t mean have them stand in front of the whole team and talk about different sales techniques and what not. Let them become trainers by the process of shadowing others.

Shadowing works both ways, you can have agents shadow top performers and then top performers shadow them.

By agents shadowing top performers, they will learn exactly how to go about their daily activities to become successful. Not only that, but this process can also lead to them learning skills, which they lacked previously.

Skills like, how to be more persuasive, how to identify the needs of clients by asking the right questions, making the right sales pitch and so on. Shadowing presents a great learning opportunity for new and experienced agents on the team.

For experienced agents, they can pick up new techniques from top performers that they weren’t previously aware of. For example, your top performers may be prospective leads from a social media platform like LinkedIn.

Agents that are old-fashioned may not be familiar with such a tactic. They can learn how to approach leads on LinkedIn and pitch to them with the help of the top performer.

By having the top performer shadow agents, they can help identify what the agents can do to improve.

The top performer can guide them on calls and sales meetings by observing the interaction. They share how they would have approached the interaction to have a better outcome.

At times, it is easier for individuals to learn from peers. The interaction is more fluid and real rather than management or an unknown individual coming in to coach them. Training and coaching are valuable in sales.

The Sales Executive Council’s research showed that the middle 60% of the sales team benefit from coaching and saw an increase in performance by 19%. This was through effective coaching and learning from peers is very effective.

Making top performers trainers is also a way to show them some appreciation.

This serves as a mini-promotion for them, which shows how much the company values them. When giving them this responsibility make sure to inform them to pay close attention to the needs of the agents.

Where they may think the agent needs more help and they aren’t able to provide it. This will allow the management to focus on these needs through training sessions on their own or through external agencies.

How To Ensure These Techniques Work

When employing these techniques, you want to make sure you do it in an effective manner. These tips will help you do that:

The focus should be on everyone

Typically, the sales team is divided into three divisions.

You have the top 20%, then the middle 60%, and the lower 20%.

Most managers tend to focus on building the capacity of the top or lower performers rather than the overall team. They feel that if they can bring up the lower 20% or improve the top 20%, even more, this will benefit the team more.

This approach allows them to slack on their responsibilities a bit. Rather than focusing on everyone in the team you target the best or the worst.

However, focusing on the whole team, especially the middle 60% will yield the most benefit. As quoted earlier from the SEC’s research, the middle 60% experiences a long-term increase in performance from coaching, more than the top and worst performers.

Learn what motivates your agents

In the sales industry, money is considered to be the ultimate motivator. Having uncapped commission doesn’t necessarily mean your agents will perform at top levels. They may want to, but it is not a guarantee. When they see that their targets are way out of reach, they tend to get demotivated.

That is why it is important to figure out other ways to motivate your team. See what drives them and use it to your benefit.

You should be in touch with your agents asking them how motivated they feel moving forward and how you can motivate them to succeed in achieving the targets. You will learn more about your agents and with time these motivation techniques will automatically be a part of your weekly routines.

Incentives should be used wisely

Many sales managers make the mistake of putting forth incentives like a money prize for the first person to make sales. An incentive such as this may be a great motivator but it can also cause a rift between the team.

Agents in their hopes of winning the incentive may go over one another to get the first sale. The last thing you want is a team that doesn’t work well with one another because of incentives. Incentives are supposed to be motivators, not a means to divide the team.

It is smarter to put incentives forward that improve sales while doesn’t make competition an issue. Incentives that focus on selling products that don’t get much attention.

For example, if most agents pitch product X then you want to put an incentive on selling product Y. Every time product Y is sold, the agent gets an incentive.

Personal rewards go along way

A trait that agents cherish about a manager is how they cared for them. The sales industry can be cutthroat, so when you find a manager that cares and takes time out for you, it really sticks with you.

Personal rewards present managers with a way to motivate and get to know the agents on another level.

These rewards are not a part of any other incentive but from the manager to the agent. It doesn’t have to be fancy either. For example, if your agent is following through with the KPIs set and you see that they are constantly spending more time than usual prospecting client then taking them out for lunch will motivate them to continue to do this.

It doesn’t have to be lunch every time, use your knowledge of what motivates each agent to set the personal reward.

Think of sales as an art, some people are good at it while some aren’t. For those that aren’t good with practice and the right training, they can get better. There is no one better to train them then those that already know and excel at sales.

Act Now And Reap More Benefits From Your Top Performers

It is high time you count on your top performers to do more than just worry about their sales figure. Giving them little promotion with the responsibility of training. This will motivate them and show them how much they are valued.

Presenting them with a chance to “rub off” on their colleagues, improving performance.  But you will see your top performers become more motivated to perform and maintain their status on top.

All of which will benefit the sales of the company.


Kevin Thomas Tully is a globally-recognized Social Selling and Big Data strategist who employed the principles of Social Selling long before the term entered the popular business vernacular. A Johns Hopkins-trained data scientist, Kevin has applied true buyer intent data, predictive analytics, and data mining to the sales and marketing process for more than a decade to gain a strategic marketplace advantage for leading brands worldwide.

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