How to be a top 1% Sales Rep

How to be a top sales rep

My Story of Being a Top 1% Sales Rep

I have been in B2B software sales for nearly 34 quarters, that is 3,053 days. I started my career at Act-On Software as a Sales Development Representative (SDR).

My goal was to be a top 1% sales rep as soon as possible.

You know what? I achieved that goal. I’ve been promoted from an SDR to Account Executive to Director of Sales, and finally to VP of Sales. Sales is in my blood at this point. So much so that in 32 out of 34 quarters, my team and I have hit our number.

So I’m diving into what I’ve learned throughout my career in sales in hopes of helping you become a top 1% sales rep. Because if you think you’re #1, let me tell you, my friends – you are not. There is always someone better than you, that’s what makes this a fun and competitive journey!

1. Work Smarter, Not Harder

Working hard nowadays doesn’t get you to where you need to be. Sure, don’t get me wrong you definitely need a strong work ethic. But wasting time doing something that can be broken down to a few minutes – that’s working smarter.

For example, you need to take advantage of technology, like the best sales enablement software. But the top 1% of sales reps still do things a bit differently. You have to be able to use the tech to your advantage – not just have it as a resource.

Another thing I learned is to break up your days. You can take 6am-10pm and break one day (not including sleep) into three days. For example, you have 6am-12pm (Day 1), 12pm-6pm (Day 2) and 6pm-10pm (Day 3).

Then you block your time. This not only includes your work activities, but it includes hobbies, working out, family time, time for yourself, etc.

2. Be Willing To Do Something That Others Won’t

Here’s the thing, in order to be in the top 1% of anything, you have to be willing to do some things that others simply aren’t willing to do.

So before anyone decides they want to be at the top of the leaderboard, an introspective look at the boundaries placed upon yourself should be the first order of business.

Are you willing to work weekends?

Are you open to sales coaching that might not “feel good” or might be uncomfortable?

Are you open to responding to emails and requests for information at all hours of the day?

What sacrifices are you willing to make?

The best reps, who always hit their number, grind 24/7. They are the first ones online (or in the office), and the last ones to go to sleep.

When I first began my career as a SDR, I wasn’t getting the training I needed from my U.S. manager. So, what did I do? I came to the office every day at 3am to shadow and learn from the UK team that was consistently killing it.

I would get in 5 hours of sales coaching before I even had to make my first phone call at 8am.

The thing is, there was one rep who was always there before me. Her name was Jennifer. I set the company record for the fastest time to be promoted to AE, she beat me by three weeks. First in, last out.

3. ABC – Always Be Closing

Sure, it’s fun to throw up a GIF in slack when a deal closes or talk about it in a team meeting. But some reps bring this acronym and the action behind it to a whole new level.

On Sundays, when the game is on, are you chomping down on chips and salsa, or are you in your home office building out your targeted account list for the week ahead?

Some may argue that you can do that while watching the game, however, the best of the best know what the sound of distraction sounds like. As an Account Executive, my total pipeline coverage was something that I always kind of knew in the back of my head, but never was a priority.

I always thought that I had “enough” to hit my number. Well, not having enough opportunity in my pipeline was the reason for one of those two misses in my career.

Sales reps that never miss their number, are always prospecting to ensure they have a surplus of pipeline coverage, even if that means working on the weekends.

4. Find Your Edge To Be A Top 1% Sales Rep

Professional athletes, race car drivers, CEOs… The top 1% of performers in any given category are always looking for an edge.

What tool, strategy, tactic, or resource can they use to give them an advantage over the competition? Early in my sales career, I was exposed to a sales enablement software called conversational intelligence software.

While others shied away from it, calling it “too big brother”, I saw an immediate advantage to being able to go back and watch my demos. While other reps were missing their number, my success rate skyrocketed. The same is true for high-performing teams today.

Maybe your team is ramped and continually hitting their number. Is it fair to say they are the 1971 Dolphins or the 2007 New England Patriots?

Nearly perfect, is not the same as perfect.

Nowadays, sales enablement software like conversational intelligence doesn’t cut it. Sales reps need to look for the next best thing – like real-time call coaching software. This helps them to avoid any lapse in success, versus reps who are looking outside the box.

In order to be a top 1% sales rep, basically do the opposite of what the majority does. Don’t work just 8am-5pm during the week, don’t relax and disconnect every weekend, and especially don’t shy away from technology.

If you are willing to invest in yourself, remove the barriers or excuses you give yourself and always be looking for the next big thing when it comes to sales enablement software.

You will find yourself alone, on top of the leaderboard 100% of the time. 

Welcome to the big leagues.