The 8 Most Common Personal Attributes Of The High Performing Business To Business Salesperson

Some of the attributes are obviously identifiable, some more interesting.


  1. High need for personal achievement
  2. Insecure enough to need the constant reassurance of success
  3. Secure enough to deal with rejection
  4. Likes people
  5. Sufficient emotional resources – self motivated, secure in own self-image
  6. Happy to be thought of as a sales person; carries no negative baggage around about the job they do; is proud of the role they are fulfilling
  7. Dislikes routine but likes to be organised
  8. Enjoys the feeling of (often) being outside their comfort zone

Management Commentary

  1. Effective target setting, and personalised incentive schemes, will bear significant fruit here
  2. Give (appropriate) recognition and praise
  3. Allow them to quickly move on after set backs
  4. Don’t employ salespeople who like travelling, and who enjoy their own company
  5. Customers like buying from, and dealing with, confident, functional human beings
  6. Embarrassed salespeople, who ‘are not really salespeople’, should be avoided
  7. This explodes the myth that salespeople are inherently disorganised. The opposite is true of high performers. What they hate is routine, always being in the same place at the same time, each month running the same way. Allow discretion in how they organise their time.
  8. Allow calculated risks to be taken; give them accountability for outcomes


This article is based on SalesPathways own research around profiling top decile sales performers. If you would like to discuss creating a high performing sales team please contact us.

13 Rules Fo The Effective Use Of E-mail

E-mail overuse and misuse is killing many organisations productivity and morale. We believe firm action is needed. From being in many different organisations, with different cultures, we have distilled the issues into 13 rules. See how many you can stick to.


  1. The first thing we noticed is the people who complain most about e-mail volumes are often digital addicts. They might not be sending lots but they can’t leave alone reading the stuff. If you create a readership you encourage more production.
  2. To e-mail that needs a reply, do it promptly. If the person responds with a thank you (probably unnecessarily) don’t feel the need to send one back saying no problem!
  3. Consider e-mail you are being copied in on (cc e-mail) as spam. Delete it without reading it. Tell people this. If they want you to read it they must send it directly to you with a reason why you should read it. FYI is not allowed.
  4. Never blind copy, its political e-mail. Tell people who blind copy you to cease otherwise you will expose them.
  5. Don’t forward e-mail for the same reason.
  6. Don’t send trivial e-mail about the sandwich guy, last night’s TV, youtube links etc. Go and see these people and chat. See next point.
  7. The priority order should be: 1. See them, 2. Phone them, 3. Only e-mail them if it’s critical.
  8. Write short e-mails, avoid attachments where ever possible.
  9. E-mailing people on the same floor as you should be considered rude and bad mannered.
  10. If you are collaborating on a document, don’t keep sending it around by e-mail, use collaborative software, put it on your intranet or web space.
  11. Turn off e-mail alerts, only look at e-mail at certain times of the day.
  12. Realise that if you respond to e-mail out of hours or weekends you encourage people to send you more of the stuff.
  13. Ask your organisation to write an e-mail policy that not only covers all the legal and compliance stuff, but also covers best practice as well. Demand they enforce it.

Tell us how you get on – an e-mail is fine! – contact us.

Pragmatism Or A Lack Of Integrity?

Your organisation needs to change shape, whether that’s due to economic circumstances or because of a change of strategy. This can mean cutting back on the work force. In such circumstances, how do you approach redundancy issues?
This article isn’t about following due process, which is relatively straightforward, but about the practice of using redundancy to avoid performance managing people.

Making people redundant who should have been tackled for performance or behavioural issues long beforehand shows management at its worst. The arguments for doing this are well rehearsed. A manager sees an opportunity to remove someone who they have not been prepared to tackle through direct engagement, and at worst they even delegate the process to their HR department. It seems a pragmatic thing to do – difficult person gone, no risk of non-compliance around unfair or constructive dismissal, and little conflict, being able to cite external factors or economic reasons.

The problem is this way of managing (or lack of it) eats into the moral fabric of the organisation in three ways:

  • Firstly it shows to everyone a lack of leadership when it comes to problem people. When this happens across several functions as a matter of policy you can see credibility leak away from the line managers involved.
  • Secondly, it says “we don’t take performance, behavioural or excellence in general seriously, and you can forget any real conversation about organisational values”.
  • Thirdly, and most damagingly of all, these problem people often know they are in a difficult position and when redundancy is proposed, or sometimes offered, they try hard not to show their pleasure at getting a (sometimes sizable) pay off. To good people around them this is insidiously damaging to morale. Why are these people not dealt with directly, and professionally and at worst being rewarded with a pay off?

Sometimes organisations lose the plot so badly they see this weeding out of problem people in this way as a positive thing, even telling good people who under voluntary arrangements would like to go are told no because they are ‘too good’, we need to sort out this other group. With the money saved from not making inappropriate people redundant, you could increase bonuses, perhaps postpone needing to cut the salary bill completely.
Something that might look pragmatic turns out to show little integrity.

Change – Sticking With It

Change programmes fail far too often. In response organisations spend plenty of time planning the change (a sensible idea), launching it, communicating it (another must do), but still find themselves losing enthusiasm when the excitement of the new change has worn off and the daily reality of making the change work becomes the focus.
Change programmes don’t often fail publicly with an ‘abandonment event’, they simply run out of steam and the people who cynically claimed they would ‘believe it when they saw it’ or ‘wait and see what happened before getting excited’, smile and say ‘I told you so’.

What change requires is real effort over an extended period of time. This week has seen some fabulous examples of people who have refused to give up and have reaped the rewards. I gave up on Andy Murray when he was two sets down against Richard Gasquet, but he didn’t give up on himself and went on to his best Wimbledon performance ever. Federer didn’t give up against Nadal in similar circumstances and whilst he may not have won an extra button for his cardigan he certainly reinforced his reputation as one of the finest tennis players ever.

Thomas Voeckler may not have gained a stage victory on Sunday but he ended the day with his polka dot jersey, not something anyone would have predicted a week ago. He’s not the most talented rider in the Tour de France, but he is one of the most determined and resolute, and given his 2004 performance he may keep the jersey for a few days yet.

Whilst opponents span their way through the rain and into the gravel at Silverstone, Lewis Hamilton got on with the grim job of staying on the track to work his way up from an awful qualifying round to take the win. It wasn’t pretty but it showed determination, resilience and spirit, characteristics which serve organisations well in times of change, particularly in tough market conditions.
What these sports people have shown, whether they ended up as winners or not, is what can be achieved if people set their goal and stick with it, in spite of hecklers, doubters and fierce opposition. To ensure your change programme makes it past the launch phase there’s plenty you can learn from them. To learn more from other successful change programmes contact us.

Presenting A Positive Impression

With some big businesses having to fess up to past and current mistakes which have resulted in big drops in both profit and share prices, it’s interesting to see how they cope with both presenting their message and dealing with the questions asked by interviewers.


Some approach the task in a state of denial, explaining that the news that they’re writing off millions is actually a great thing for investors, employees and customers, grinning happily and answering all questions with sentences containing the phrase ‘going forward’.

Others burst forth with bluster stating the facts, blaming the economy, and laying out what they’re going to do about it. Often this approach falls apart under questioning, with the impertinence of people wanting to know how decisions have been made earning particular scorn. This approach is not one loved by investors.

At a recent conference call with brokers one FTSE 250 chairman put the Fund Managers on hold (at precisely 10.49!) whilst he nipped to the loo fifteen minutes into his presentation. Clearly, this does not build investor confidence, particularly in his preparation and planning skills.

Not all presentations are quite so high profile, however they’re always important, and being able to confidently construct and deliver a message and answer questions in a credible way makes a big difference to the image of your business whether you’re presenting internally, presenting to suppliers or presenting to customers.


Getting your presentation style right, first time can be the difference between winning and losing the contract. We can help make sure you’re always on the winning side. For more information on our Presentation Skills Solutions contact us.