Sales Objectives


28 Habits of Highly Effective Sales Professionals

What are the defining characteristics between good & bad sales reps? You're about to find out.

Recalibrate your Habits (And Career Trajectory)

Small habits, attention to detail, and hard work almost always compound into massive effects.

Just take a look at any professional sport.

Behind every championship team, there’s a set of individual coaches and players.

And each of these individuals is shaped by countless hours of hard work and a dedication to improving their craft.

In sales, it’s really no different. Just swap coaches and players for managers and sales reps.

Here, we’re going to highlight a few of the many defining habits of high-performing sales reps.

A Quick Thanks to Ben Horowitz

Ben Horowitz, Co-Founder of VC firm Andreesan Horowitz, authored a book called The Hard Thing About the Hard Things. This detailed his experience as the CEO of Opsware and how he led the company through adversity time-and-time-again.

In the book, he shared the story of a charter he created called, “Good Product Manager, Bad Product Manager.”

We credit the inspiration for this collection to Ben (by the way, download his book on Audible here)


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1) Ownership

  • Good sales reps.. take responsibility for their number, their actions, their reactions and their attitude.
  • Bad sales reps.. pass the blame onto leadership, sales development, marketing, and competition when they miss their number

2) Pipeline Generation

  • Good sales reps.. put prospecting as a top priority and leave admin work for later
  • Bad sales reps.. put admin work as a top priority and leave prospecting for later (and wonder why prospecting doesn’t work)

3) Market Awareness

  • Good sales reps.. spend time reading about industry trends and analyze reports to bring insight to sales conversations
  • Bad sales reps.. waste time scrolling through social media and unrelated content and don’t bring value to sales conversations.

4) Planning & Execution

  • Good sales reps.. show up to work with prioritized tasks and objectives to control the day
  • Bad sales reps.. show up to work without set objectives and let their day control them

5) Teamwork & Delegation

  • Good sales reps.. earn the respect of their teammates by delegating tasks when they need help
  • Bad sales reps.. frustrate their teammates by delegating everything

6) Office Drama

  • Good sales reps.. spend time on their quota because they know that wherever their focus goes, energy flows
  • Bad sales reps.. spend time on office drama and politics because that’s where their focus goes

7) Forecasting and Pipeline Management

  • Good sales reps.. remove stale deals from pipeline and accurately forecast with logic, not emotion
  • Bad sales reps.. inflate their pipeline with dead deals and inaccurately forecast with emotion, not logic

8) Time Allocation

  • Good sales reps.. direct the day’s best energy towards their toughest tasks and completes smaller tasks later
  • Bad sales reps.. direct the day’s best energy towards smaller tasks and leaves the toughest tasks unexecuted

9) Promises and Follow-Through

  • Good sales reps.. under-promise and over-deliver
  • Bad sales reps.. over-promise and under-deliver

10) Selfishness and Collaboration

  • Good sales reps.. are protective of their time and guard their calendars, but will help when needed
  • Bad sales reps.. let anyone take their time for anything, and will help when unneccessary

11) Product Knowledge and Storytelling

  • Good sales reps.. tell compelling narratives about how customers win with their organization
  • Bad sales reps.. can barely articulate why customers chose their organization, except for maybe a few features of a fact sheet

12) Political and Social Capital

  • Good sales reps.. are respected by their peers and leaders and can rely on timely support when they ask
  • Bad sales reps.. are scoffed at by their peers and leaders when they ask for help and struggle to get anything done

13) During Key Internal Meetings and New Initiatives

  • Good sales reps.. actively listen during key internal discussions and provide constructive feedback to shape new initiatives
  • Bad sales reps.. passively listen during key internal discussions and often detract and/or derail the adoption of new initiatives

14) In the Office

  • Good sales reps.. know when it’s time buckle down for work and when it’s time for fun
  • Bad sales reps.. disrupt others trying to buckle down for work and lack situational awareness

15) Out the Office

  • Good sales reps.. put on a good face and positively represent their personal and company brand –  despite their mood, attitude, or thoughts. 
  • Bad sales reps.. wear their mood, attitude, and thoughts on their sleeve and can negatively affect their personal and comapny brand. 

16) Objections

  • Good sales reps.. seek out and face objections as early as possible and close deals
  • Bad sales reps.. evade objections until the last minute and have their deals fall apart on the finish line

17) Discovery

  • Good sales reps.. ask intelligent questions to identify business initiatives and obstacles
  • Bad sales reps.. ask canned questions and only skim the surface

18) Discounting

  • Good sales reps.. hold their ground and only discount when there’s value being traded for value.
  • Bad sales reps.. crumble under pressure and often discount without getting nothing in return.

19) Closing Next Steps

  • Good sales reps.. assertively close for next steps and maintain deal progression
  • Bad sales reps.. passively ask for next steps and have their deals stall

20) Pursuing Promotions

  • Good sales reps.. establish and exceed expectations with their leadership to earn promotions
  • Bad sales reps.. expect promotions to be handed to them based on tenure and get stuck

21) Mentality and Emotion

  • Good sales reps.. keep a steady mindset and rise to the occasion when faced with adversity
  • Bad sales reps.. ride a frantic roller coaster of emotion and crumble when faced with adversity

22) Self Learning

  • Good sales reps.. know that learning never stops and take growth into their own hands
  • Bad sales reps.. think that learning stops after on-boarding and blame leadership if they stop growing

23) Talking and Listening

  • Good sales reps.. Actually listen to their peers and clients and answer with thoughtful questions, insight, and recommendations
  • Bad sales reps.. Appear to listen but are really just waiting to talk about themselves or their company

24) Timeliness and Professionalism

  • Good sales reps.. manage their calendar and are rarely late
  • Bad sales reps.. lose control of their calendar and are rarely on time

25) Sales Process

  • Good sales reps.. don’t skip steps in the sales process no matter how good the deal is
  • Bad sales reps.. spoil their pipeline and wonder why good deals derail when they skipped steps in the sales process

26) Health Habits and Self-Care

  • Good sales reps.. take care of their emotional, mental, & physical state and know how to battle burnout
  • Bad sales reps.. lose control of their emotion, mental, & physical state and are always burnt out

27) Tooling and Technology

  • Good sales reps.. make their tools and technology work for them so they can be more strategic
  • Bad sales reps.. waste their time working for their tools and technology and become glorified paper-pushers

28) Productivity vs. Busywork

  • Good sales reps.. focus their efforts on revenue generating tasks and are truly productive
  • Bad sales reps.. focus their efforts on low priority tasks and just do busywork.

Next Up

You can’t be a master craftsman without the right tools. Learn about systems that top performers leverage to unleash their sales productivity.

Zach Sergio

Zach Sergio


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January 9th, 2020

Zach Sergio

Zach Sergio


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