Top performing salespeople possess a few key characteristics. They're confident, ask good questions, see themselves as problem solvers comfortable with challenging decision makers, and always follow up. But even if your sales team is filled with people blessed with these  talents, your sales strategies could be mucking up your company's trajectory. Take it from Manny Medina, cofounder and CEO of the sales engagement platform Outreach, who formerly was Amazon's fourth team member for its Amazon Web Services cloud platform and helped Microsoft grow its mobile division from launch to $50 million in annual revenue. Here are his words on the half dozen sales mistakes most companies make.

1. Being addicted to growth.

You can grow to $2 million in revenue on the back of lots of small deals but eventually, you'll run out of transactional capacity and you won't be able to scale. Often, you don't know this until it's too late. Early on you need to define the market segment and deal size that you will get you to your long-term goals and optimize your business and sales process for them. You'll have to make hard calls. You'll have to leave deals on the table, but this is the only way to build a business for the long term.

2. Not building the right foundation.

You hire the best reps you can find, the people who have a long history of crushing their quotas so there's a tendency to bring them in and set them loose. But in a high growth business, without a well-defined sales process and story, chaos will ensue. It's essential you build the foundation early. Have a regimented sales process in place that every rep follows. Have the company story in place so reps can articulate it at every step. Have the right training and onboarding process so reps can succeed. You don't want reps to figure it out on the fly. You want them focused on execution.

3. Focusing on your top rep.

You will have a number one rep and this person will have been number one at every job he or she has ever held. It's easy to fall in love with this rep and focus on enabling and equipping them to achieve new heights. But this person will succeed with or without you. Focus instead on the second tier reps--that's where the money is. Let your top rep do their thing and invest the majority of your coaching and mentorship in your tier two reps.

4. Hiring the wrong VP.

As soon as you have the means, you'll want to bring on a seasoned VP but the majority of these hires fail. Most founders and product people and hire for values, likability, and confidence. But those are table stakes. You need to hire an ace, someone who's forgotten more about sales than you will ever know, someone to whom sales process is a reflex. They can't even explain the mechanics of selling because the basics are so deep in their non-declarative memory. But this person will know how to make the right decisions, hire the right team and build a winning playbook. If you get it wrong the first time, move on quickly and try again. Keep trying until you absolutely nail this hire.

5. Not instrumenting your funnel.

Remember that month or quarter when you made your number at the eleventh hour because one rep got a big deal over the line? As soon as this happens, you're up the creek. You need to create sensors around every stage in your pipeline so that if anything changes, alarms go off. A shift in meeting cancellation rates? It's imperceptible if you're not tracking it but it could be the difference between making your number and missing it. Instrument your funnel early and figure out the baselines you need to hit in order to reliably hit your number.

6. Forecasting without commits.

Once you have your funnel instrumented, you might think you can forecast the month or quarter simply by running the numbers--looking at your pipeline and using historical conversion rates to forecast which deals will close. This is a fool's errand. Only your reps are close enough to deals to know what's really going to close. Get them to commit to the deals they know they will get across the line and run a weekly commit call where they report on status and next steps for each committed account. This way reps have a lot of skin in the game. They can't let a deal they've committed to slip out of quarter, and you'll have a far more accurate estimate of where you'll land.