// Research

The Top-Performing Seller

What Makes a Top-Performing Seller?

Your best sellers are the cornerstone of your sales team. They're the ones you count on to consistently win deals and hit their goals.

But replicating the success of your top performers can be a challenge. It's hard to know which skills make the biggest difference to performance and how to support sellers at an organizational level. 

To answer those questions and more, we undertook a global study of 1,000 sellers and sales managers. 

We analyzed what sets the best sellers apart from the rest and how organizations can best enable their teams. We discovered that Top-Performing Sellers have specific, tactical skills they employ across the sales cycle and in critical categories of selling.

We share our findings in The Top-Performing Seller Benchmark Report

Who Are the Top Performers?

Who Are Top-Performing Sellers?

Top-Performing Sellers meet challenging sales goals, have higher win rates on proposed sales, and achieve premium pricing. They also have stronger capabilities across the sales cycle.

The Role of Sales Organizations in Top Performance

The Role of Sales Organizations in Top Performance

Between stronger management, regular coaching, and effective sales training, sales organizations play a major role in fostering top performance among their sellers.

Top Performers Create Value

Top Performers Deliver Value

Top Performers are significantly more capable of leading conversations and building strong relationships. They achieve their goals by creating and communicating value to buyers.

Key Findings in This Report

Top Performers Win Across the Sales Cycle

Top Performers are more likely than The Rest to...

  • Energetically prospect over the long term: 50%
  • Change buyer thinking about needs: 60%
  • Collaborate with buyers across the buying process: 59%
  • Communicate strong ROI cases: 63%
  • Overcome price pressure and maintain margins: 81%
  • Lead highly effective finalist presentations: 65%

Skills and Behaviors Associated with Top Performance

  • Each of the 9 productivity behaviors studied is positively correlated to Top Performance.
  • Top Performers are 33% to 120% more likely to have account management skills than The Rest.
  • Sellers who excel with advanced consultative selling skills are almost twice as likely (94%) to be Top Performers.

Impact of Sales Organizations

  • Top-Performing Sellers are 83% more likely to say their sales managers are effective in supporting their ability to achieve top performance.
  • When sellers get the trifecta of an effective manager, regular coaching, and effective sales training, they’re 63% more likely to be a Top Performer.
  • Top-Performing Sellers are 58% more likely to receive very or extremely effective sales training, and they have stronger capabilities across all areas studied.

The Top-Performing SellerSM Model

We studied 100 skills and behaviors across 13 categories. Our findings became the basis for the Top-Performing Seller Model.

Top Performers are significantly more capable in the following categories:

  • Achieving the Outcome of Value
  • Winning the Sale
  • Driving Account Growth
  • Succeeding with People
  • Maximizing Personal Effectiveness

Outside the model are three categories that impact sales performance but that sellers themselves do not control: 

  • Sales Management and Coaching
  • Sales Training
  • Sales Performance Environment
Top-Performing Seller Model

Effective Sales Management Contributes Significantly to Top Performance


Top Performers are 71% more likely to achieve their sales goals.


Top Performers are 51% more likely to receive coaching on a regular schedule.


Sellers with less than 5 years' experience are 240% more likely to be Top Performers when they have an effective manager.

Top-Performing Sellers have effective sales managers, get better sales training, and receive a regular schedule of coaching. These organizational factors are essential to the support and development of sellers, and helping new sellers get up to speed.

We take a closer look at the role of sales managers in our Top-Performing Sales Manager Benchmark Report.

The Top-Performing Seller Benchmark Report

In our Top-Performing Seller Benchmark Report, we share the results of our research, including:

  • The #1 critical factor at the center of seller excellence
  • 6 areas where the best sellers stand out across the sales cycle
  • 3 organizational factors that enable seller top performance
  • The impact of effective sales training on seller skills
  • Where to focus for your next sales improvement initiative

This report is critical for sales leaders looking to enact change and inspire top performance from their selling teams.

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