Before you try and evaluate potential hires against a subjectively defined term, you must apply science and objectivity to its definition. The term ‘A’ Player was originally used by Dr. Brad Smart in his book, Topgrading.  “It is one who qualifies among the top 10% of those available for the position”. 


The second step is to define what performance looks like for a given sales role. Follow the acronym MAC. There are 3 easy steps:


Mission—what is the strategic value of the role to the organization? Avoid corporate speak; be brief and define why the role exists. What is its purpose?


Accountabilities—what results must this role produce? Every accountability needs to be quantifiable.


talent scorecard


Competencies—what are traits or behaviors are most important in the people that will be tasked with producing these results?


Once you have established WHAT the role must do you can now decide WHO you must attract to this role. When defining the competencies, Jonathan Davis’ team at Hirebetter published a great post on A players which can be found here . I have attached a snapshot of a competency map to help generate some thoughts as you define an A player in your organization.


selling skills competency example
A players are the secret sauce.  Is your ‘A’ player definition published? Do you have one?


Matt Sharrers

Studies and works with the top 1% of B2B sales and marketing leaders who generate above average revenue growth for their companies.

Matt is arguably one of the industry’s most connected, and physically fit, sales leaders. He “lives in the field.” As a result, he is the foremost expert in the art of separating fact from fiction as it relates to revenue growth best practices. Because of Matt’s unique access to the best sales talent, private equity investors tend to turn to him first when they need to hire remarkable leaders to unlock trapped growth inside of their portfolio companies. Matt’s recent engagements include work commissioned by private equity leaders Permira, TPG, Bain Capital and Hellman & Friedman.


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