Key Personality Traits of a Great Salesperson

January 15, 2019

Throughout my Enterprise Sales career I have focused on continuously honing my solutions-based selling skills.  Face the facts that in sales the competitive environment changes daily, especially in technology, as new brilliant entrants consistently seek to disrupt established industry Goliaths.  We also have to deal with constant M&A events where our companies get purchased by larger players to enhance a missing element in their technology stack. We know from experience that the buyer always keeps their sales team and makes the acquired sales team redundant.  And so back we go into the enterprise sales role job-seeking pool. Keep your CV’s updated and ready to send!

There are obviously a lot of factors that go into making someone a great salesperson, and pre-employment testing is an excellent tool that can help highlight candidates with the qualities associated with success in a sales role. The best candidates have both the ability to do the job and the personality to be comfortable in a sales role.  Since everyone LOVES a good acronym, the key traits of a great salesperson form: ACCESSIIA


Since the competitive landscape changes daily, the ideal sales candidate should be a fast-learner. Having natural curiosity is helpful to fuel that yearn to learn.   Great salespeople need to be intelligent enough to learn job specific procedures and adapt to rapid change. That’s why it’s important to consider a candidate’s ability to think critically, solve problems, and absorb and apply new information.

Additionally, being both goal and solutions-oriented are key personality traits that have been correlated with success in a sales role.  It makes sense to seek out these highly motivated and competitive individuals since accomplishments in sales are generally measured through very concrete metrics like pipeline, number of discovery meetings, quarterly revenue goals and incremental revenue growth with existing customers.

Luckily these traits, among other predictive criteria, can be easily evaluated through pre-employment testing which provides objective data that are scientifically correlated with successful sales performance including cognitive aptitude and personality. Cognitive aptitude tests measure critical thinking, problem solving and the ability to learn and adapt.   Personality tests measure traits that predict how comfortable a candidate will be in a sales role.

In testing for fit for consultative sales roles, the leading player is Criteria.   They have developed two great tests that identify the best candidates for success in sales.

The Criteria Cognitive Aptitude Test (CCAT) measures an individual’s aptitude, or ability to solve problems, digest and apply information, learn new skills, and think critically.

The Employee Personality Profile (EPP) analyzes twelve behavioral traits that influence job fit, and includes a custom benchmark for sales roles.

Successful sales professionals are born with a number of these personality traits, however we must continue to develop, refine and apply these attributes daily to achieve our goals.

For more information on how Target Optimized can help you achieve your sales goals and develop custom solutions for your customer’s biggest challenges, book some time on our calendar here.