The Best Around: What to Look for in a Top Sales Rep

by Inc.

Do you know a top sales rep when you see one? The qualities should you really be looking for may surprise you.

When it comes to building and developing a competitive sales team, you need to be able to recognize the characteristics that are indicative of a star rep.

According to Matthew Dixon and Brent Adamson, authors of The Challenger Sale: Taking Control of the Customer Conversation, in today’s environment, salespeople need to be able to tackle issues beyond the price and quality of their product or services. In other words, they need to do more than just sell.

Dixon recently sat down with Inc.’s Tom Searcy to discuss a particular profile of successful sales traits he and Adamson refer to as the “challenger,” which their research indicated to be the highest performing profile by far. What sets the challenger apart is his or her ability to teach customers new ways to look at their market and issues, tailor the solution the product/service offers to address those issues, and take control of and direct the conversation, accordingly. For more on why you should be hiring sales reps who challenge in addition to pitch, read the full post by Searcy.

Related Content from OpenView:

Now that you know how to spot top sales talent, the next step is learning how to attract it and make the hire. And for advice on how to better motivate the sales reps you’ve got, read this post from the OpenView Blog.


  • Good read. What’s an ideal sales rep? Hard to say because a rep is not a rep is not a rep. Inside, outside, product, solution. They are all different people, driven differently. The ideal sales rep isn’t something that can be defined at the industry level – it’s very specific to the team, role and manager. Benchmarks must be constantly updated.