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.


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.



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.