What Your ‘A’ Players Want From You in 2014


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‘A’ player sales reps are a unique breed. To clarify an ‘A’ player is a sales rep who consistently performs in the top 10% of production and exhibits model behavior. They get it done and do it right.

Losing one of them causes significant pain and disruption for you. As a VP of Sales, you pride yourself on taking care of your best. During the research for this event, SBI heard from over 2,200 ‘A’ Player Sales Reps. They told us what they need from their boss.

To receive a copy of The Voice of the A Player, register here for a spot in SBI’s 7th Annual Research Tour. By participating in this free event at your office you:

  • Get a glimpse into the minds of the brightest sales people across 19 industries.
  • Receive a summary of the 8 most pervasive ‘A’ player challenges
  • Tactical solutions to solve these problems and retain your best
  • Additional suggestions to stress test your 2014 sales plan

Why Your ‘A’ Players are In High Demand in 2014

Companies are investing in growth for 2014. New logo pursuit is front and center for sales leaders. The existing base has been farmed over the past few years. The premium being placed on new logo acquisition is at a high. ‘A’ player reps are aware of this. They are hearing it from their peers. Recruiters are in active pursuit of your best. Social tools have given reps unprecedented access to answer the question “is the grass greener somewhere else?” You want to avoid putting your best in the job market.

The Voice of the A Player

Here is What The ‘A’ Players Told Us:

We have grouped the answers into two categories, each with 4 key findings.

Sales Leader—what do ‘A’ players need from their boss to maximize performance.

Sales Environment—what do ‘A’ players need from the company to maximize performance.

Sales Leader

    1. New Skills—’A’ players are constantly trying to get better. It drives them crazy when they are not learning something new. The pace of change is so fast and they told us they don’t want to be left behind. They expect their boss to drive more new teaching to them.

      The Fix—As the sales leader, you have to put yourself into situations where you are learning new skills. An example of this Social Selling. Social selling is a modern prospecting methodology to generate appointments inside your target customers. One way you keep ‘A’ players learning is have them head up getting a new initiative deployed. This is something that puts money in their pocket. It allows them to have peer recognition for helping to bring a company wide skill while also driving their own development.

      Top Sales Leaders are picking 1 initiative per quarter. They are launching improvement initiatives through their ‘A’ players instead of on their ‘A’ players.

      2. Disrupt Them—’A’ players want to be pushed more by their sales leader. We noticed a shift over the past couple of years. Why? Competition has increased. It is getting harder to be the best and everybody needs a nudge.

      The FixGamification. ‘A’ players love to compete. When they are crushing their quota, keeping them interested in other things can be tough. If you make it a game, regardless of the prize, they told us they will respond. It isn’t about the size of the prize it is about the opportunity to compete. ‘A’ players love seeing stack rankings with winners and losers.

      Sales Environment

      1. Customers—’A’ players know their prospects and customers have changed. What drives them crazy is their company is not keeping up. They felt their company was truly unaware how complex customers made a purchase decision. These customers have multiple stakeholders and more information than before.

      The Fix—Buying Process Map. A BPM is a tool that maps the decision making process of a single product, service of solution. The key with a BPM is it recognizes that the decision making process is different by person, product and market segment. Companies that deploy a single buying process across multiple products are in denial. Armed with a BPM, an ‘A’ player can execute a sales campaign.

      What You Should Do Now

      1. Download the complete list here (free event registration required).
      2. Prioritize 1 item from each category for Q4.
      3. For example, if you are trying to make your team better at social selling, it starts with you. Four quick hits:
        • Have you defined what social selling is with your team?
        • Do you and your team have highly relevant, buyer focused profiles?
        • Do you grow your connections each week by reaching out to the ideal buyers of your product?
        • Are you managing your team to grow their reach month over month?

      The pressure on the sales leader to grow and retain ‘A’ talent has never been more intense. Listen to the feedback from over 2200 ‘A’ players. They are the difference between making and missing the 2014 number.

      Republished with author's permission from original post.

      Matt Sharrers
      Matt Sharrers serves as Partner of SBI. Matt works primarily in the Fortune 500 with clients including: Ryder, Integrated Device Technology, Informatica and Danaher. Matt is the author of "Promoted to VP of Sales: The Year 1 Toolkit". His work has been profiled in Sales and Service Excellence, Sales Journal Constitution and Leadership Excellence.


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