South Africans are Fastest at Sales, What can You Learn for Your Sales Team?

2017 Global Sales Performance Report from Pipedrive: The Best Salespeople are South African -- Americans Are Hardest Working

If sales is all about closing deals — and really, that’s what it boils down to — then South Africans make the best salespeople.

That’s the analysis from new data produced by Pipedrive. The company found that South African salespeople close deals with potentials clients more often than their counterparts in other countries.

2017 Global Sales Performance Report from Pipedrive

Pipedrive analyzed 70,000 companies from 34 countries who use their sales management platform. And South Africans closed deals with more than 20 percent of their clients. Only the Irish and New Zealanders complete deals at rates more than 20 percent. Salespeople in the United States finished 19th among the 34 countries included in the data.

However, middle-of-the-pack results don’t mean American sales pros are any worse than South Africans. It’s just their jobs are different and require different skills.

For instance, American salespeople are 25th among 34 in the time it takes to close a deal. Brazilians are quickest to get customers to say yes. South Africans finished second, accounting for their overall best rating. For someone in the U.S., it normally takes more than 40 days to get a yes. Brazilians, South Africans and Israelis (third place in the race to ‘yes’) need less than 30 days.

“Closing well and closing fast are certainly very important skills in sales, in order to be successful. But equally, an ability to close really large and high-quality deals are just as significant,” says Pipedrive CEO and co-founder Timo Rein.

Rein suggests in an analysis of Pipedrive data on salespeople’s performance that American companies are looking to secure bigger deals and have more elaborate sales processes in place. Rein writes, “Brazilians might be faster to smaller deals while Americans or Germans might be slower to larger deals.”

So, what about those South Africans? What can any American salesperson learn from them?

Pipedrive says salespeople from that country aren’t fans of schmoozing, as it were. They get right to the point with their prospects.

“South Africans also have a reputation for directness and an aversion to small talk,” Rein writes. “They get to the point quickly. When it comes to the sales data, it does seem like South Africans understand the lay of the land far earlier in the sales process, that is, knowing when to ‘step on it, and also when to throw in the towel.”

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Joshua Sophy Joshua Sophy is the Editor for Small Business Trends and the Head of Content Partnerships. A journalist with 20 years of experience in traditional and online media, he is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists. He founded his own local newspaper, the Pottsville Free Press, covering his hometown.

3 Reactions
  1. Wow that is yet to be explored. So it seems that the country has some really skilled salespeople.

  2. And they are mostly unexplored. This means that customer services or sales teams can be transported into these areas.

  3. How are other countries performing? I wonder if it is an opportunity or it is just for that particular time.