Evolving faster than your competition has never been more important than today. This adage has been true enough in generations past. But today when the pace is faster than ever before, evolution is a must.

 

Ray Kurzweil

An analysis of the history of technology shows that technological change is exponential, contrary to the common-sense “intuitive linear” view. So we won’t experience 100 years of progress in the 21st century — it will be more like 20,000 years of progress (at today’s rate).  –Ray Kurzweil, author, inventor, futurist and Director of Engineering at Google

 

This is not a blog on technology. However, our lives and careers are all impacted by technology, and the ever-changing landscape. Life as a sales rep is no exception. You must grow with the times, and utilize change to your benefit. Evolving quicker than peers will move you from a ‘B’ or ‘C’ player, to an ‘A’ player.

 

Improve your ‘A’ Player characteristics to:

 

  • Increase sales
  • Improve promote-ability (both internally and externally)
  • Reduce sales effort
  • Improve career mobility (flexibility towards other industries).

 

How do I become an ‘A’ Player?

There are certain characteristics that separate ‘A’ Players from the rest of the pack. For example, below are 5 traits most ‘A’ Players have in common. They’re also elaborated on in the Top 10 ‘A’ Player Competency Tool.

 

1) Do It Now Mentality – ‘A’ players don’t dawdle – urgency is built into their veins. As a result, they capitalize on opportunities as soon as they arise. Don’t wait. Don’t hesitate. Strike while the iron is hot.

 

2) Passion – ‘A’ players are passionate about their work. They’re hungry, and get a rush from closing sales. They enjoy the thrill, and it spurs them forward. This is something you either have, or you don’t. You can’t create passion out of thin air. If you don’t have it, you must compensate in the other four areas.

 

3) CPI – Continual Process Improvement is a hallmark of most ‘A’ players. They’re serious about hitting the number by improving the odds in their favor.  

 

Continual Process also refers to being process-driven. You have to know what works and what doesn’t. How do you figure out what works? You have to definitively measure the performance of one tactic/process against another. This way you can increase your win rate by utilizing the most successful processes. If this proves anything, it’s that the sales process isn’t about your “gut feeling.” It’s about knowing what works and putting it into action.

 

4) Systematic and Simple– ’C’ Players have stepped up their game in the past and become ‘A’ players. It wasn’t magic. They did it through adherence to systems. Examples include a well-defined sales process, and regular call cadence. 15% of ‘C’ players can jump to ‘A’ through effective coaching and focus on fundamentals. The graphic below demonstrates the uplift sales organizations experience when a step-by-step sales process is implemented. This is how ‘A’ Players operate, and how you should too.

 

Sales process uplift

 

Keep it simple and follow a plan. That’s what makes the difference between “World-Class” and the rest of the pack.

 

5) Make the number– This criteria may seem self-evident or blatantly obvious to most sales reps. However, the fact is that it eludes many Bs and Cs. Somehow they’ve managed to exist, oftentimes for years, without hitting the number. Bottom line – if you’re consistently missing the number,  you might as well trade your jacket for a target.

 

Many industries are trending towards inside sales. How are you evolving? Will you be able to keep the freedom and autonomy of outside sales? If not, you have a couple of choices:

 

  1. Beat Them:  To beat them, you need to evolve your skills as a ‘B’ or ‘C’ player. Prove that you are a dealmaker. Focus on the traits of ‘A’ players listed above. Develop them in your own game, and evolve faster than your competitor. Embrace the changes of the digital age and use them to your advantage.
  2. Join Them: Not everyone has the right traits to be an ‘A’ player. Transitioning from outside sales to inside sales isn’t always easy, but it may suit you.

 

For the ‘B’ players who are honest with themselves and want to become ‘A’ players, Download the Top 10 ‘A’ Player Competencies Tool.  It provides insights on the differences between A, B and C players

 

Do you want to be an ‘A’ Player? Or are you happy where you currently stand? Take your future into your own hands.