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Don’t let your business suffer from underperformers. Find out what makes a good sales rep and say goodbye to idle hands and massive turnover.

As a sales manager or business owner, you’ve probably already discovered that not all people are cut out to be sales reps. Sometimes even experienced salespeople don’t have what it takes. In fact, one study indicated that 55% of salespeople are probably in the wrong industry. But what makes a good sales rep? We all know underperformance is a common problem. Then again, we all have off days and even rough quarters. 

As a sales professional yourself, you probably already know most of what makes a good sales rep, but it can help to go over the essential aspects and perhaps dispel a few myths along the way. After all, simplicity can be the best approach to so many things, sales included. 


Even the best sales reps need technology to fully realize their potential. Schedule a free demo of Call Logic today to see how our technology can bring out the best in your team!


what makes a good sales rep

What makes a good sales rep? 7 Qualities to look for and encourage in your team

1. Manifests motivation

Motivation is essential for most jobs, but perhaps none more so than sales. Anyone who undertakes a selling job thinking they’ll make big bucks with minimal work will surely fizzle out quickly. Because selling usually comes with lots of rejection, a ton of research on leads, and plenty of other self-guided components—not to mention the increased remote work climate due to COVID-19—salespeople now more than ever need to be self-motivated to be successful.

During the interview process, get the candidate’s thoughts on what makes a good sales rep. Ask probing questions about how they stay motivated. None of this removes a manager’s responsibility to help keep their team motivated, but the drive needs to be organic within a sales rep as well, or your management can only make so much of a difference.

2. Goes for goals!

While you may give your sales reps targets to reach, setting other goals for themselves is part of what makes a good sales rep instead of a likely underperformer. Successful salespeople set goals for things like the number of calls in a day, the percentage of calls resulting in a follow-up or close, and the number of leads generated in a given time. While getting too caught up in numbers can ultimately be troublesome, setting personal goals is beneficial to anyone trying to close more deals.

Managers can help employees by sitting down with them in regular meetings, establishing goals beyond just revenue targets, and mapping out a strategy for meeting those goals.

3. Embraces empathy

Empathy is an essential component of what makes a good sales rep because building and sustaining relationships are at the foundation of any sales role. And while technically empathy isn’t required for this, it sure does make it a lot easier to relate to a customer’s needs and understand how to meet those needs.

Think of empathy as putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. Sales reps who do this well will experience a closer connection to their customers, which should, in turn, lead to building trust. Empathy also helps with the upsell—if a rep can anticipate what their customers need even before the customer does, that’s a natural opening for upselling.

4. Technologically inclined

In today’s market, even the best sales reps will lag behind the competition if they don’t have the right technology. Phone salespeople, for example, may never reach their targets without an auto-dialer CRM like Call Logic. Likewise, someone with a proven history in traditional sales may struggle to keep up with business needs if they don’t handle technology well. It’s true, most of what makes a good sales rep is the talent and know-how that they bring to the table, but using technology to enhance that talent and know-how is a must for top performers.

5. Time management titans

We’ve all got a lot on our plates these days. Sales reps who know how to manage their time well are almost certain to perform better than those who don’t. It starts with keeping an accurate calendar, but time management also requires the ability to prioritize in a way that leads to more success.

Managers who understand what makes a good sales rep may want to invest in time management training or tools for their teams, especially if someone shows tremendous potential, but they can’t seem to get organized. Training is probably the most effective resource, but there are some programs out there now that also help people to manage busy calendars. While such software can help, it’s also important that sales reps not rely solely on software to manage their calendars since such programs may be able to shift meetings around based on availability, but not by priority.

6. Constant competitors

One of the things that drives the most successful sales reps is an insatiable (without being unhealthy) sense of competition. In general, sales reps like to win. They love getting that meeting, closing that deal, and reaching their goals. They are in constant competition with themselves and perhaps even their teammates to do the best they can. Managers may want to encourage this behavior as long as it’s healthy and leads to increased production.

Competition may be a part of what makes a good sales rep, but remember to keep an eye on anyone who’s competitive drive inadvertently becomes toxic. If a sales rep ever becomes disrespectful or overly arrogant due to their competitive nature, it may be time to talk.

7. Industry experts

Finally, your best sales reps should be experts in the fields in which they’re selling. That doesn’t mean they need to have worked in the field before, but if someone is interviewing for a job with your business, ask questions designed to test their understanding not just of your product, but the marketplace in which your product lives. This not only helps them to build trust with customers, who will likely expect them to be experts, but it also enhances any salesperson’s ability to cross-sell or upsell, increasing the likelihood that a customer’s needs are met, and ultimately, a deal is closed.

These may not be the only qualities of a successful sales rep. Indeed even your best potential sales reps may not have all of these qualities. But if they’re motivated and personable, you can teach them to succeed.


Maximize the effectiveness of your sales team with software like Call Logic. Set up a free demo today to learn about the great features and how they’ll help turn your agents into top performers!