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"Best Practices for Managing
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System Specialist Sales Rep Profile:
Compare High Performers to Low Producers

Position Overview: Requires the ability to maintain trust of existing customers by continuously finding ways to better serve the customer and enhance their bottom line; this is driven by a commitment to strong product presentation and the willingness to constantly improve performance.

Predictive Skills: Six characteristics will predict sales rep success in this sales position. Review below how top sales performers will differ from lower performers.


Maintains priorities by keeping the focus specific and defined; helps others to understand key priorities by repeatedly articulating the goals and how each contributes; has the ability to inspire and influence others; gains followers by being easy to follow; gives credit to others and assumes responsibility for external obstacles; motivates others by helping them to feel good about themselves


  • Understands that he needs to be flexible and to provide different solutions based on the varied needs of different roles within the client organization
  • Takes responsibility for making it easy to work with him and is quick to make customers feel good about their decisions and contributions to the organization
  • Deals diplomatically with negative issues
  • Earns power as a result of the customer choosing to be influenced in the selling arena
  • Keeps communication focused and simple so there is little room for distraction or misunderstandings


  • Assumes that all customers share the same goals and fails to distinguish between different needs, motivations and objectives
  • Lacks a strong desire to take the lead in the selling situation, preferring to be responsive to specific requests
  • Exercises personal control by imposing his will versus attracting customers by finding the most appropriate way to help them succeed
  • Overwhelms the customer by introducing too many concurrent strategies, options, or solutions, making it difficult to maintain a clear focus


Seeks to provide an appropriate solution by understanding what the customer is trying to accomplish; spends time in a needs analysis process that identifies key objectives specific to an individual customer; gives the customer’s agenda priority over a standard response; changes the sales approach or solution to accommodate the customer versus force fit the customer to an existing model


  • Asks questions and studies the customer’s key priorities
  • Incorporates the customer’s responses and input into a business plan tailored to fit that customer’s needs
  • Takes the time to explore options or alternatives for helping the customer to achieve key objectives
  • Accepts the rejection or modification of his suggestions in an effort to best understand and help the customer


  • Lacks a thorough approach to a customer needs analysis, preferring to move immediately to an existing solution
  • Can be distracted from learning customer requirements by the personalities or politics of a situation
  • Tries to fit the customer’s methods or goals into a standard model or solution
  • Takes it as personal criticism when his suggestions are challenged
  • Can be too invested in his own agenda to comfortably yield to the customer’s agenda


Sets job as a top priority in career advancement; accomplishes objectives dictated by his present position while investing additional time and effort in planning career progression; devotes extra hours to skill development in preparation for a higher level of responsibility


  • Defines himself to a great extent by his work and derives personal satisfaction from his career success and accomplishments
  • Sets high standards and is dedicated to achieving business results, even at some personal sacrifice
  • Commits time and resources to career advancement
  • Uses after hours time to plan and lay the groundwork for moving up the ladder
  • Continually works to develop the skills and abilities that will support his career progression while devoting the time and resources to be effective in his present responsibilities


  • Accepts moderate standards for his goals and output so that time requirements for completion are not excessive
  • External demands on his time and his personal commitment to life/family objectives can limit the time and resources he dedicates to career advancement
  • Prefers to spend his after-work hours in family or social activities rather than career planning and skill development


Stays in touch with market trends, including environmental and competitive forces influencing the market, so that he can be seen as a valuable resource to important constituents internal or external to the organization; constantly seeks information that will be useful but is not readily available to colleagues; enjoys being sought for advice and instruction; spends the time to build a base of knowledge that ultimately helps others to be more effective


  • Takes professional pride in maintaining an in-depth awareness of market issues
  • Believes there is a benefit to continually building and adding to his knowledge base in market and competitive issues
  • Wants to be prepared to serve as a source of advice and information to his customers
  • Updates his own market information in order to be of assistance to customers who may not have the time or resources to research changing market trends themselves


  • May believe he can get by on a cursory understanding of market trends and conditions because he doesn't appreciate its added value to others
  • Is comfortable with his present knowledge of the market and may believe the incremental gains he could achieve by developing his knowledge base would not justify the time spent
  • Does not increase his understanding of market issues for the purpose of sharing that information with others
  • Assumes his customers will utilize their own resources to stay on top of changing market conditions


Excites the customer with an enthusiastic presentation style; demonstrates value and actively promotes products and services by making an emotional appeal; holds the customer’s attention and interest by keeping the presentation content relevant; varies style to build toward a buying decision


  • Makes formal presentations that focus on creating an impact while communicating information
  • Has the potential to capture and hold the audience's attention
  • Takes charge and keeps control of the information being communicated through a presentation that is polished and rehearsed
  • Varies his style and content to appeal to the audience
  • Projects his enthusiasm about a solution to the audience, moving them closer to a buying decision
  • Monitors audience response and adjusts his presentation to stay on target


  • May be more comfortable with establishing a dialogue that emphasizes listening and an exchange of ideas than with making an impact on the audience
  • Uses presentations to entertain rather than inform or persuade
  • Sticks too closely to a script and does not vary the content or emphasis to address the needs of each audience
  • Too focused on the mechanics of the presentation itself to pay attention to audience understanding and concurrence
  • Cannot easily adjust to a nonsupportive audience response and may rush an ineffective presentation just to finish it rather than alter the presentation to change that response


Helps the customer to gain maximum benefit from the product or service by committing to continuous education that provides information updates or product training; prepares more structured sessions to cover the most critical areas of learning; stays on top of information needed by customers in an effort to serve as a resource; takes responsibility for motivating customers to update their information; reinforces shared information through periodic repetition; routinely adjusts education process to address individual and group progress or understanding


  • Prepares scheduled and consistent programs to train or educate others
  • Establishes measurable criteria for assessing progress in the learning process
  • Demonstrates patience and a willingness to repeat or reinforce ideas and information until the audience understands
  • Focuses training sessions on those competencies that will make a difference in the group’s ultimate effectiveness
  • Concentrates more on the results produced or change accomplished through his training than with how attractive or entertaining the training can be


  • Prefers one-on-one training or a more loosely organized curriculum to the structured requirements of a scheduled class session
  • Expects the people he is training to be self-motivated to learn and becomes impatient when required to repeat or reinforce information he has already covered
  • Does not implement a tracking process for assessing the effectiveness of his teaching efforts or the progress of his trainees
  • Enjoys working on content delivery and may be more concerned with the audience’s assessment of his public speaking skills than with the subject matter
  • Tries to make the training entertaining at the expense of providing only relevant information

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