“A” players generate 5x more revenue than “B” players and 10x more than “C” players.

‘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 an ‘A’ Player causes significant pain and disruption for you. As a VP of Sales, you pride yourself on taking care of your best. SBI’s annual research survey received insights from over 2,200 ‘A’ Player Sales Reps. Access a complete resource of emerging best practices to develop ‘A’ Player sales talent by reviewing the How to Make Your Number in 2018 Workbook. Flip to the People Plan phase starting on page 367.


Also, download a copy of The Voice of the ‘A’ Player here to receive a summary of the 8 most pervasive ‘A’ player challenges. Included are tactical solutions to solve these problems and retain your best. 


Why Your ‘A’ Players are In High Demand?


Companies are continuing to invest in growth. 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.


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 Fix—Gamification. ‘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.


Action Plan


  1. Download the complete list here
  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’ Player Sales Talent has never been more intense. Listen to the feedback from over 2200 ‘A’ players. They are the difference between making and missing your number.


Have expectations gone up and left you wondering if you can make your number? Here is an interactive tool that will help you understand if you have a chance at success. Take the Revenue Growth Diagnostic test and rate yourself against SBI’s sales and marketing strategy to find out if:

  • Your revenue goal is realistic
  • You will earn your bonus
  • You will keep your job


Sales Revenue Growth


Matt Sharrers

Leads the firm's focus on the CEO’s role in accelerating revenue growth by embracing emerging best practices to grow revenue faster than the industry and competitors. 

Matt Sharrers is the CEO of SBI, a management consulting firm specialized in sales and marketing that is dedicated to helping you Make Your Number. Forbes recognizes SBI as one of The Best Management Consulting Firms in 2017.


Over the course of nearly a decade at SBI, Matt Sharrers was an instrumental early partner guiding SBI as the Senior Partner. Matt’s functional responsibilities included acting as the head of sales where he led SBI’s double-digit revenue growth, and was responsible for the hiring function to build SBI’s team of revenue generation experts.


Prior to joining SBI in 2009, Matt spent eleven years leading sales and marketing teams as a Vice President of Sales. Matt has “lived 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. CEOs and Private equity investors turn to Matt’s team at SBI when they need to unlock trapped growth inside of their companies.



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