How to Figure Out What You’re Looking for in a Top Salesperson

top salesperson

Have you ever considered luring top sales talent away from your competitors?

On its surface, the idea seems like an effective and efficient recruiting strategy, but the truth is an A-player at one company won’t always perform at those high levels when their sales environment shifts.

Top performing salespeople typically have a mastery of selling skills, but the more important thing they have in common is that they are in a role that rewards their natural motivators within a culture that fits their personality.

The truth of the matter is that you may find out that your organization is not set up to offer what your competitor’s A-Player needs to be successful.

Consider the following before you recruit from a competitor:

  • Does your competitor have a more established and recognized brand than you do?  Many salespeople are successful selling the products or services of a strong brand, but fail when they don’t have a recognizable logo to fall back on.
  • Is the corporate sales culture of the competition drastically different than your own? Sales reps that perform well in a culture of structure and hands-on management may not thrive if your culture requires more independent, self-starter personalities, for example.
  • Are your offerings fundamentally different? Many sales leaders believe that hiring a competitor’s top sales rep will reduce the need for training and onboarding, but chances are they were successful because of a key differentiator that you don’t have.
  • Is the sales cycle length of your competitor considerably longer or shorter than yours? Longer sales cycles require more patience, planning, and persistence than shorter cycles, which demand a completely different behavior style.
  • Was the salesperson successful in a new or well-established territory? Will someone who was used to selling in a well-established sales territory have the tenacity and resilience needed to generate leads in unmapped terrain? 

Now that you’ve thought through the differences, define exactly what your culture and the specific role requires for success in order to identify the best fit.

Follow these 3 steps:  

Step 1: Designate a team of people inside your organization who have a thorough understanding of the day-to-day activities associated with the position. These are the people who will benefit when the role is filled with the right person, and will know not only what is required for success today, but also how the role fits into your future strategy. 

Step 2: Come to agreement on what the role requires for success—both now and in the near future. Key accountabilities should be identified and factors of corporate culture should also be considered.

Step 3: Prioritize and weigh the key accountabilities and align them to the behavior style and motivators a candidate must have to achieve long-term success. By building a “blueprint” of what top sales talent looks like in your organization, you’ll be able to more objectively identify potential high performers.


Everyone wants to bring on board high performers, but it’s important to realize that “top sales talent” will be uniquely defined in every sales organization. Once you determine exactly what that looks like for your open position, you can focus on finding the best person for the job.

Job benchmarking using the Brooks Talent Index® assessment system allows you to objectively measure what soft skills and personality characteristics a position requires for superior performance, and then identify the candidate who is the best match for long-term success. Learn More.


Anita Greenland

Anita Greenland is the Chief Experience Officer at The Brooks Group, where she brings 25+ years of customer service, sales, sales management, and sales training experience. In her role, Anita is responsible for leading and executing The Brooks Group’s sales growth strategy.

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