The New “A” Player Sales Rep for 2014

It’s that time of the year.  Planning is in full swing. You want to go into next year confident the team will make the number. If you’ve been following my latest posts here, here and here, you’ve read a lot about the changing Buyer:

  • Mapping the buyer’s journey and creating a buying process map (BPM) has become a necessity
  • The Sales Process must be modernized to embrace today’s buyers
  • Social selling is becoming mission critical
  • Your reps need to sell the way your buyers want to buy

The changes in the external environment should have you thinking differently about internal factors. Namely, those charged with executing on the above actions. Legacy sales reps have not kept up with the times. There is a shift happening in the sales world. The requirements have changed. A new ‘A’ player rep has emerged. To make the number next year, you need the ability to hire this rep.

What is a New ‘A’ Player?

The new “A” Player is a new breed of sales rep. They are uniquely equipped to sell to the modern buyer. They sell the way the new buyer wants to buy. Hiring and developing New “A” Players is one of the silver bullets for 2014.  Why? You will get a higher percentage of reps exceeding quota, more revenue per sales rep and ramp times will be shorter for new hires.

What are the Competencies of a New ‘A’ Player Sales Rep?

SBI’s latest research has found leading sales organizations have updated their selling competencies. They have done this more significantly than in years past. With the new informed buyer, the buying landscape has changed. To keep pace with the way buyers are buying, leading sales forces are overhauling their talent program to embrace the New “A” player competencies.

Below is an example of a talent review across 10 competencies that define the new “A” player sales rep:        


Many of these competencies are new for sales reps. Each competency is rated on a scale of 1 to 6 – one or two is a “C” player, three or four is a “B” player and a five or a six is an “A” player. The competency is assessed through an interview that mimics job performance by simulating the interactions with a buyer during their buying journey. The goal is to have as many “A” players on the sales team as possible. The current talent of the team is compared to the benchmark goal to identify gaps.

These 10 are not the only competencies that are required to sell effectively today. However they are very different than the competencies used to evaluate sales reps in the past – assertiveness, negotiation, active listening, objection handling, etc. Those skills are still required for when a buyer engages a sales rep. The new competencies enable a sales rep to sell when the buyer is conducting the buyer journey on their own.

Now that you understand what the New “A” Player is and how it can be used, here are some data points from our research to support its effectiveness.

‘A’ players realize:

• 31% higher quota attainment

• 30% shorter ramp time to productivity

• 61% higher chance of being a successful hire

• 55% less turnover


What Should You Do Now?

Leading sales organizations are taking 6 actions to get value out of the new “A” Players in 2014. Sign-up for SBI’s Research Review session here to get all the details. You will also learn about how leading organizations create Talent Portfolios to assess the talent of their team.  Help increase your chances of making the number by register for the free session here. You’ll learn how to plan for and hire the new ‘A’ player.  

In addition, if you would like to download a copy of our recent research and learn more about the latest release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013, please register for the Global Premiere Event, live from Barcelona, November 4th.  Register today!