10 Traits of the New ‘A’ Player


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You’ve relied on the same tried tired and true hiring practices for sales reps over the last couple of years. And what has it gotten you? The same recycled reps that come with Rolodex in hand. They guarantee new business is just a call away. When evaluating potential candidates, you’ve probably asked, “How do I know if they’re legit?” If this sounds familiar, you’re not alone. This is a common dilemma for many CEOs and hiring managers.

social vs. rolodex

Rolodex vs. Social Network

Your problem may be centered on the fact that you’re not hiring for new ‘A’ players. We find many firms continue to hire with traditional connections in mind, instead of social networks. There’s a big difference. Most ‘A’ players nowadays – and those in the coming years – will be ingrained in social networks.

In this article I’ll address the question, “How do I know if they’re legit?” when it comes to new ‘A’ players.

One of the strongest indicators of a New ‘A’ player is the quality of their LinkedIn reach and profile. To assist you in evaluating ‘A’ players we developed the LinkedIn “A” Player Scorecard. The scorecard provides both qualitative and quantitative measures. These measures will help you objectively evaluate potential and current sales reps.

Click here to learn more about the tool.

Attributes of the New ‘A’ Player

Next generation sales reps are profoundly social. They understand the power of social networks and are able to leverage them. They develop strong personal brands, referral networks and grow sales through social media outlets. Their online relationships are organic and non-intrusive. There’s a very clear divide between the people who intuitively understand how social media works, and those who don’t. New ‘A’ players are the former – keep an eye out for this trait.

Another hallmark of New ‘A’ players is that they are extremely buyer-centric. Sales process adherence and persona recognition are driven by the desire to understand the customer. They follow a Buyer Process Map in order to better help their prospects discover the best solution.

Below, you can find a list of the key attributes that you’ll find in New ‘A’ players. Whether you are considering your current sales reps, or looking to hire new ones, keep these competencies in mind.

Individual Competency


Social Personal Branding

Creates and perpetuates a digital brand that portrays expertise

Social Reach

Amplifies one’s brand and attracts the right relationships

Social Referral Generation

Generates warm introductions to decision makers at target accounts

Social Prospecting

Gathers and acts upon account and persona intelligence

Buyer Process Map Recognition

Identifies the location of a buyer on a buying process map

Sales Process Execution

Sells the way the buyer wants to buy

Technology Proficiency

Leverages SoLoMo (social, local and mobile), SFA and marketing automation tools

Insight Generation

Drives new demand by proactively bringing new insights to target accounts

Content Production

Creates and curates valuable lead nurturing content and syndicates it across social connections

Lead Management

Receives and understands lead intelligence from the marketing department, and converts leads into opportunities

It’s not always easy to examine a candidate and break them down for all of these competencies. However, there are some tools to help with that as well…


Topgrading for Sales

In Topgrading for Sales, Bradford Smart and Greg Alexander provide insights into finding and evaluating talent. While it isn’t 100% specific to New ‘A’ players, it provides insights for sifting through the talent pool. It is especially helpful for sales leaders who haven’t yet developed a virtual bench of sales talent.

Just like the rest of the sales industry, times are also changing when it comes to ‘A’ players. Don’t get caught hiring based on the wrong criteria. It will set your organization back into the age of Rolodexes. The pace is fast these days, and it’s crucial you keep up. ‘A’ player criteria from even 5 years ago is now severely outdated. Make sure you stay up to date by downloading the LinkedIn “A” Player Scorecard.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joel McCabe
Joel McCabe serves as a Senior Consultant at Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), a sales and marketing consultancy focused exclusively on helping B2B companies exceed their revenue targets.


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